A friend and I took our kids to Stratford Ecological Center one afternoon in early June. It was a bright sunny day which made for a beautiful 30 minute drive to Delaware County. I took my oldest son, who, on the drive, became obsessed with the idea of being in the woods (though he kept calling it “the wood,” as in, “are we in the wood now mommy?”) I think what he really meant was “wow, look at all these trees!” And when we turned into the driveway for the center it looked like this:
And then yes, I could definitively say we were in “the woods”. 😉 We drove back through the property and arrived at the visitor’s center. Though the property managed by the Stratford Ecological Center is 236 acres, we spent about two hours just wandering through the small, educational farm. When visiting, you’re free to roam about the property at your own pace. Here are 5 things you can do!
1. Visit the animals in the barn
The day we visited, there was a farm camp for kids going on. These camps are week-long day camps for kids ages 3-12. We got in on a goat-milking session with some of the kids. (haha – no pun intended. 😉 )
In the barn, there were also goats, sheep, a llama and a few barn cats that the kids went crazy trying to pet. Outside the barn, there were cows in the pasture, chickens and baby chicks, a rooster, a rabbit, and a mama with her baby goats.
(I swear, the wearing of the tractor shirt was a total coincidence, I’m not THAT coordinated!)
This is the famous unfriendly rooster. (That’s what the sign says, I’m not just being mean.) It’s famous at our house because whenever we talk about the farm, this is pretty much always what Jaden brings up. These are the things that leave impressions on kids!
2. Walk out to the pond
Make sure you take a walk out to the pond. We got directions from the friendly staff inside the visitor’s center. It’s a short walk, though this path looks like it could go on forever!
We saw birds and tadpoles and we could hear frogs croaking around the pond.
It was beautiful and peaceful.
As a bonus, there are lots of farm machines/equipment to see on the way down the path!
3. Pick your own fruits and vegetables
Since we visited in early June, the only crops available for picking were various kinds of lettuce. But throughout the growing season, you can pick and purchase your own organic fruits and vegetables grown here in the garden. Inside the center you can also purchase eggs, meat, honey and seasonal maple syrup. Anything that is not purchased is donated to People In Need, a Delaware food bank.
4. Dig in dirt
I’ll be honest, of all the things on the farm, this was probably the most fun for Jaden. He loves to dig in the dirt and there is a small shed full of shovels, rakes and hoes and a huge pile of dirt with a sign that says, “dig here,” which is pretty much every little boy’s dream!
5. Attend a story time or family program
We weren’t at the farm during any special programing so I can’t tell you personally about this, but the center does offer a story time on the second Tuesday of each month, March through November ($5/family). On the second Saturday of the month, your family can participate in chores around the farm from 9:00 AM – 11:00 AM ($12/family). There are other special events scheduled this fall as well, so check out the event calendar here.
This is an outing is one you can totally do at your own (or your kids’) pace. The farm, garden, pasture and pond are all fairly close to each other so it’s doable even for small children (though not stroller friendly). Let me know what your kids enjoy doing on the farm!
Know Before You Go:
Stratford Ecological Center
Address: 3083 Liberty Rd., Delaware, OH 43015
Monday – Friday: 9:00 AM – 5:00 PM
Saturday: 9:00 AM – 1:00 PM
Visitors are encouraged to give a $3 donation per person or $6 per family.