Babies are cute. Goats are cute. Baby goats? OMG, CUTE! Internet videos of baby goats in pajamas jumping around? Stop it, we can’t handle the cute! Little animals and little kids (pun intended) are made for each other, and while we can’t promise there will be baby goats in pajamas, local farms and zoos provide the rare opportunity to bring these two cute worlds together. So before summer ends, get your kiddos out to the farm, give them the freedom to run around like crazy people and then settle down to watch and/or pet a little goat (or sheep or pony or whatevs). We're here to make this adventure easy for you with a definitive list of the best zoos and petting zoos in New Jersey:
It’s not exactly scientifically proven but, depending on whom you ask, alpacas might be even cuter than goats. They’re definitely fluffier. If you want to investigate, there are four farms to visit in New Jersey:
Scotia Acres Alpacas: They’re in Lumberton, in Burlington County, and have about 100 alpacas. The animals are friendly and gentle, and the owner sells stuffed animals, sweaters and yarn made of alpaca fur in her shop. In fall, the farm shows off its beautiful autumn colors.
WoodsEdge Wool Farm: These guys are in Stockton, in Hunterdon County, and they also have about 100 alpacas along with llamas and Tibetan yaks. The farm hosts weddings in the summer and offers clothing and gifts along with grass-fed beef and yak meat in their shop.
Windy Farm Alpacas: Located in Chesterfield, in Burlington County, Windy Farm is a modified dairy farm and home to about 50 alpacas. If you come on one of their open-house days, they’ll let you feed grain to the gentle animals.
Kinkora Farm: Kinkora, in New Libson, Burlington County, is a breeding farm. One baby alpaca slept in the owner’s bedroom for three months so the animal could be bottle fed every few hours! Now the alpaca comes when she’s called, and the owner makes special cakes for her birthday. Aw, alpaca love!
Okay now that we’ve established the alpacas’ adorable fluffiness, let’s move on to some other cute animals. WHERE MY BABY GOATS AT?!
Metropolitan Farm: Located in Closter, this farm is 11 acres and has goats, chickens, sheep and llamas. If you time your visit right, you can buy a dozen fresh chicken eggs. They also sell perennials, annuals, shrubs, pottery, soil, vegetables and vegetable starts.
Bergen County Zoo: During the summer, daily live animal shows are held in the outdoor amphitheater. There’s also a train and carousel as well as pony rides. You guys, PONIES! There are a ton of classes and events coming up, including Bear Awareness Day, World Rhino Day and on October 7, Farm Animals Day, where you can meet some of the farm animals who live at the zoo and enjoy stories, crafts and more.
Abma’s Farm: This family-run farm located in Wyckoff is the real deal. Kids can feed and pet the sheep and cows, feed carrot tops to the bunnies and watch the chickens and adorable baby chicks. The farm also has pheasants, turkeys, goats, ponies and donkeys. It’s pretty safe to say that at certain times of year there will be babies. They also have a market, pony rides and farm tours.
Turtle Back Zoo: The Turtle Back Zoo in Essex County is worth the trip. They’ve got all kinds of great stuff, from a touch tank and big cats exhibit to giraffes and a farm/petting zoo with plenty of goats as well as horses, sheep and pigs. You can feed the birds in the aviary and let the butterflies land on you in the butterfly tent. I mean, this is about as hands-on as you get!
Lakota Wolf Preserve: This place, in Columbia, Warren County, is most definitely NOT a petting zoo. It is, however, a preserve where wolves live in the wild, and you can sign up for a tour to see the animals in their natural habitat. You’re also likely to see bobcats and foxes. You must join one of the tours to see the animals, so be sure to check their website for the schedule before you go.