If you have kids who love animals, it can be such a cute and delightful experience to take them for a farm visit. Feeding silly goats, petting fluffy lambs, and just being outside away from screens for a few hours is wonderful. So we’ve rounded up a collection of family-friendly farms in and around the East Bay where you can take your kiddos to scratch that farm animal itch.
East Bay Farms to visit with kids
Little Farm in Tilden Park (Berkeley) FREE
An OG local favorite that’s FREE and perfect for little kids. Bring a few bunches of celery to feed the animals. Then afterward, take a short hike to Jewel Lake and watch the turtles sunning themselves. Totally free, no reservations or capacity limits at this time.
Read more about visiting Tilden’s Little Farm >>
Oakland Zoo (Oakland) $$
Okay, not a farm. But still a great place to bring kiddos who want to pet a goat. Located near the lower entrance of the Zoo, the Wayne and Gladys Valley Children’s Zoo offers a place for children to gently pet friendly goats and sheep. More info here>>
West Oakland Urban Farm Park & Playground (Oakland) FREE
This park has it all: farm, playground, green space and animals. City Slicker Farms manages the space and works to support the local community. On Saturdays, visitors can tour the farm’s rows of vegetables and herbs, or visit with the resident chickens and rabbit. The playground is open every day for fun at the play structure, swings and farm-themed playhouse. Read our park profile here>>
Ardenwood Farm (Fremont) $
A real working farm run by the East Bay Regional Park District, Ardenwood Farm is a great half-day trip. Toddlers will love to chase chickens and run through the gardens. Preschoolers will dig the equipment shed. Grade school students will stare at the workers in period costumes. It’s also a cheap thrill at just $2-$6 per person. Reservations no long required.
Read more about what to expect at Ardenwood >>
Cloverfield Organic Farm (El Sobrante) FREE
Cloverfield Organic U-Pick Farm in El Sobrante has a little of everything: a horse, seasonal produce to pick, and dozens of pink flamingoes. Pay for what you pick or just enjoy the scenery and horse.
Our trip to Cloverfield Organic Farm >>
The Dingle Family Farm and Stables (Oakley) $$
This family farm is open exclusively for private events, so you’ll need to make an appointment ahead of time. $125 will get you and up to five friends 60 minutes with goats, sheep, alpacas, pigs, rabbits, ducks, and chickens and a pony ride. Or 30 minutes for $60, but no pony ride. They also have pony play dates and birthday parties (for $400+). Stop in Brentwood to pick some fruit (cherries, this time of year) and make it a memorable day!
Check out the details here >>
South Bay Farms to Visit with Kids
Happy Hollow Park & Zoo (San Jose)$$
Part amusement park and part Zoo, San Jose’s Happy Hollow Park & Zoo is a fun-filled destination for a family with young children, just under an hour’s drive from Oakland. If you’re looking for an authentic farm-day visit, this isn’t it. But they do have goats you can pet and other domesticated animals at the Double-H Ranch, located across from the Keep-Around Carousel. Check out Whitney’s review here>>
Hidden Villa Farm (Los Altos Hills) $
You can book a 2-hour reservation at Hidden Villa Farm Tuesday – Sunday for just $10 per car. You can see chickens, goats, sheep, and an impressive ram. There are lots of somewhat toddler- and stroller-friendly paths to explore as well.
Read our detailed review of Hidden Villa Farm >>
Lemos Farm (Half Moon Bay) $$
Not just for pumpkins in the fall, you can visit Lemos Farm weekends 10 am – 5 pm year-round. So if your kids are old enough to like goats, ponies, trains, hayrides, or bouncy houses, then you’ve found your spot! It is worth the trip out there, at about 45 minutes from Berkeley. And yes, they have goat yoga.
Read more about Lemos Farm here >>
North Bay Farms for East Bay Families
American Made Miniatures Farm (Petaluma) $$
Located in Petaluma about an hour from Oakland, American Made Miniatures Farm Sanctuary is a special experience your kids will love. Why? One word: Zonkey.
Read our detailed review of American Made Miniatures Farm here >>
Bale of Fun Farm (Petaluma) $$
This family-run farm in West Petaluma is so fun for little kids. Their animals range from chickens, ducks, sheep, goats, a llama, a miniature horse, a donkey, a pony, a quarter horse, doves, dogs, cats, bunnies, pigs, a pot-belly pig, a mini-pig, and various birds. Currently no drop-ins, so you’ll need to book a tour for $10 per person online. We went to a birthday party there a few years ago and it was super fun.
More information here >>
Menagerie Hill Ranch (Vacaville) $$
Book a tour at this small family-run farm and you’ll get to pet the alpacas and llamas, feed them, and learn about life on a farm. Pack a lunch and enjoy an afternoon at the ranch.
Read about Menagerie Hill Ranch here >>
Slide Ranch (Muir Beach) FREE
A beautiful educational farm with sheep, goats, ducks, and chickens on the Marin headlands, Slide Ranch is part of the Golden Gate National Park and thus happily a free destination. Slide Ranch is open to the public from sunrise to sunset every day of the year, with no admission required. They also have events (that you have to buy tickets for) such as Family Camp Outs and day camps.
Learn more about Slide Ranch here >>
For those of you with horse-loving kids, we have a round-up of Bay Area horse farms and ranches that offer horseback riding parties, lessons, pony parties, and much more.
Farm Stays within 2 hours of the Bay Area
Heirloom Acres Farm (Orangevale) $$$
If your kids want 24/7 access to some farm animals, drive just outside Sacramento and find Heirloom Acres Farm. You’ll find Highland cows, a llama, many goats, chickens, horses, and a super cute mini horse. We combined our visit to Heirloom Acres with gold panning for a great weekend getaway.
Read more about our visit to Heirloom Acres Farm here >>
Long Dream Farm (Lincoln)$$$
Another farm-cation idea for you near Sacramento is Long Dream Farm. A working dairy farm, the 90-acre property is full of kid-friendly features, from a pond with a rowboat to a vintage fire truck that can be climbed on. There are trails, a play structure, and open spaces, in addition to the dairy farm happenings.
Read more about a local family’s visit to Long Dream Farm >>
Flying Pig B’n’B (Silicon Valley) $$$
Stay in this small cabin on a working farm and your kids will get to feed and play with goats, sheep, chickens, bunnies, kitties, and more. Breakfast is included and there’s a play area with a trampoline. Score! And all within an hour and a half of the East Bay!
Read more about this cute farm stay in Silicon Valley here >>
Where are your favorite farms to visit near the East Bay? Share your tips in the comments!