Editors note: I am pleased as punch to introduce you to my friend Christine! Christine lives in Franklin County with her husband and three girls. This is her first (of what I hope is many) post for A Cookie Before Dinner!
If you’re looking for a hands on animal experience for your family, Retreat Farm in Brattleboro, VT is the place for you!
Nestled just over the border in Vermont is Retreat Farm in Brattleoro. Outside of downtown Brattleboro rests this beautiful little farm, sharing a driveway with the Grafton Village Cheese Company and overlooking part of the West River it feels like you are much further from home, somewhere deep in the New England countryside. This spot is a place that is always a favorite for my three girls (aged 2, 5 and 8). What makes Retreat Farm so special is that it is a real working farm and it allows visitors to fully interact with and enjoy their barnyard animals.
My girls hurry up the hill to the *gaping* doorway of the barn. We have been here before and they each have something they are excited to see. Inside the doorway right past the emu’s stall is the admission desk. $5 per person ages two and up means for $20 all of my people are sufficiently entertained. Works for me! Sigh me up! As an added bonus your proof of admission is a happy yellow sticker with a goat on it. A wearable sticker is always a welcome idea for the ladybugs so we are off to a good start.
Myla, age 5 has had her heart set on visiting the chick room since I mentioned going to the farm so we head there first.There are fluffy yellow chicks in raised containers lined with shavings (like soft woodchips but not as fine as sawdust) my two littles pull up milk crates so they can reach in. The sign says if you can catch them you may hold them.
This is Myla’s favorite. There are also slightly larger, and faster, chicks on the ground in this room too. After a few minutes of holding the chicks we head back into the main hallway of the barn and turn towards the back. We visit a giant ox, cows, mini horses, mini donkeys, and the nursery with mommy goats and kids. All of these are easy to see with low doors to keep them inside their stalls. There are hay bails the younger kids can stand on to get a better look if they’d like.
You can also feed all of these guys for free by picking up some hay from the ground outside each stall. There are also a few $.25 grain dispensers with handy dandy metal bowls on top of each for you to borrow to hold the food.
My girls passed the enormous pigs while commenting on their size and I held the bowl while they each took a handful of feed to share with the sheep. We spent another $.50 and fed lots of baby goats. You can go inside their pen to visit them but there is a sign asking that if you have grain to feed them to do it outside of the fence.
The last place we visited was the chicken coop. The girls were happy to get to go inside and pick up the hens and the larger chicks. There was a hen sitting on 7 eggs in one corner. The girls were hoping one would hatch while we were there. I’m pretty sure those eggs will be moved to the incubator in the chick room at some point. Maybe they will be the fluffy yellow babies we get to hold on our next trip to Retreat Farm.
One of the things that I love about Retreat Farm in Brattleboro is that in addition to the animals, there is also a large toy area with a play ice cream parlor, wheelbarrows, plastic shovels and rakes, a huge mound of shavings to play in. In one corner there is also corn to play in this is Kaitlyn (8) and Addilyn’s (2) favorite place.
6 Things You Need To Know About Your Visit To Retreat Farm
The important facts:
- Retreat Farm Address: 350 Linden St, Brattleboro VT
- Admission: $5.00
- Hours: Wed – Sunday 10:00 am – 4:00 pm
- Credit Cards Accepted? Yes.
It’s stroller friendly. I didn’t bring a stroller this year. The place really isn’t all that big so my 2 year old could handle it. Last year when Addilyn was only a year I brought the jogging stroller so that I could contain her while helping Myla hold the chicks. If you’re going to bring a stroller, I think one with larger wheels would fair better along the barn boards that make up the floor of the barn.
About the bathroom situation: Right behind the barn there is a red outhouse. I remember the feeling of apprehension I had the first time I opened the door. Fortunately inside there is a family style bathroom with a functioning toilet, a clean pull down changing station and a light switch. There is enough room for a stroller in there too. The only thing missing is a sink. Before you freak out, there is a sink right outside attached to the side of the barn. There are no paper towels but that’s really not a problem, you are outside and little hands seem to air dry pretty fast.
It is bring your own lunch friendly. There are two picnic tables out in front of the barn next to the farmhouse. We brought a picnic with us last summer and the girls were thrilled.
There is also a food truck parking lot. Down by the parking lot there is a food truck corner with a variety of options including kid favorite grilled cheese. The trucks and their offerings are subject to change, but here’s a great place to look and see what’s on tap.
Retreat Farm in Brattleboro, VT is a working farm. The animals that look, sound and smell like animals. It is located inside a barn that looks sounds and smells like a barn.
Play clothes and sneakers or closed toe shoes are recommended. Myla made “snow angels” in the shavings pile and Kaitlyn buried her legs in the corn.