If you are a lover of cute baby animals, then visiting the Andelin Family Farm for its second weekend of Baby Animal Days is a must-visit event. Begiining Thursday and running through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m., kids will be able to pet and hold cuddly chicks, piglets, bunnies, lambs, goats, and more, plus have access to other events including a hamster wheel, face painting, straw bale maze, a cow train ride, hay rides, and bunny hop activities.
The 180-acre property has been in the Andelin family since 1980 and they’ve been adding more attractions to their two major events a year- the fall festival in October featuring a pumpkin patch and haunted house and then Baby Animal Days following in the spring. The weather has been perfect for Baby Animal Days, and April 25-28 will be the final weekend of the two-week event.
“(Last weekend) we had nice weather and lots of people came out. Everyone had a good time,” says Andelin Family Farms Owner Cameron Andelin. He asks children what their favorite animals are, but the answers vary.
“It ranges from lambs, the baby goats, ducklings; it really varies from kid to kid. You can’t pet the piglets or the emu chicks, though, because the moms get mad,” he says. The baby animals are anywhere from a couple of days old to a couple of months old and the farm is home to 100-200 animals.
“A lot of them are pretty fresh and we just got some bunnies and a puppy too- he’s going to a guard dog to our sheep,” Andelin says. While the baby animals love the attention, farm attendants will still rotate animals in and out to give the babies a break and keep them from being over stimulated.
“Our main priority is keeping the animals healthy. We have five batches of chicks we bring out so a chick that’s held in the morning isn’t the same one held in the afternoon. We’ll close the pen every so often and tell people it’s naptime,” he says. The farm also sells many baby goats and lambs as they make good companion animals for horses and other farm animals.
Cameron’s parents originally bought the farm in 1980 because they wanted to teach him and his siblings’ work ethic. About eight years ago his parents moved off of the farm and him and his wife began managing it. With the rise in the “agritainment” industry, the farm continued to grow as the couple added more attractions and it has become their full-time job.
“When I grew up on the farm we did mostly hay and cattle. Now we’re continuing to add different things every year. We just opened a zombie paintball feature that’s new and popular and people love the corn field haunted house,” Andelin says of the fall events. The family also offers farm camps for kids and teenagers to help them gain work experience and his own five children are intricately involved in the farm.
“All of them are into farming; they don’t have a choice. It’s a great way to be able to earn money for college. And one of the neat things about agritainment is that they learn skills like marketing, business, customer service,” he says.
It may be worth starting a new tradition or continuing an old one and especially if you are an animal lover, it’s worth stopping by Andelin Family Farm this Thursday-Saturday. The Andelin Family Farm is located at 8100 Pyramid Highway and will be open April 26-28 from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Admission is $7 per person for all of the activities (kids under two years old are free), and $5 for additional pony and horse rides. For more information about the Andelin Family Farm, visit http://www.andelinfamilyfarm.com/baby-animal-days.