Petting Zoos and Animal Farms Your Kids Will Love to Visit in Ohio

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Kids love animals! At these petting zoos and animal farms in Ohio, kids (and adults) can get up close to the animals, petting them or feeding them until their heart’s content!

These animal farms in Ohio come in all shapes and sizes. You can drive through, walk through or even get right up in the pen with animals! Whatever your level of comfort of proximity with animal tongues and teeth, there’s something on this list for everyone!

In Ohio we have some pretty amazing opportunities to see animals that you wouldn’t expect to see! Sure there are the expected, cows, horses and goats, but we also have exotic animals you’d expect to see on an African Safari! Whether you’re looking for giraffes and zebras or you just want to pet a cute little baby goat, we’ve got it all here in the great state of Ohio! 

goat looking over a fence at the petting zoo at Olentangy Indian Caverns.

Check out this list of petting zoos and animal farms in different parts of the state and plan your next up close encounter!

Petting Zoos and Animal Farms in Northern Ohio

The Farm at Walnut Creek

  • 4147 Co Rd. 114, Sugarcreek, OH 44681

boy reaching through the fence to pet a cow at The Farm at Walnut Creek.

The Farm at Walnut Creek is a fun experience for kids! Take a wagon ride to get up close and feed exotic animal and learn a little bit about the Amish way of life in Sugarcreek, Ohio! 

Not only can you visit a working Amish farm but you can take a wagon ride (or drive) through the grounds to feed kangaroos, zebras, giraffes, elk, deer, pot-bellied pigs, llamas, camels, and many more! 

African Wildlife Safari

  • 267 S Lightner Rd., Port Clinton, OH 43452

llama poking its head into the car at the African Safari Wildlife Park.

This drive through safari gives you the chance to get up close to exotic animals we don’t see every day in Ohio. See and feed giraffes, camels, zebras, llamas and more! The African Safari Wildlife Park is a seasonal activity – open spring through fall.

Within the park there is also a walk-through experience included in your ticket price that includes an albino alligator, birds, kangaroo and other animals in a zoo-like exhibit. This area also includes a playground, gift shop, snack shop and the opportunity to take a camel ride!

Lagoon Deer Park

  • 1502 Martins Point Rd., Sandusky, Ohio 44870

At Lagoon Deer Park you can hand feed deer and animals from all over the world! There are also 4 ponds for fishing and camping is available on Friday and Saturday nights.

Ohio Bird Sanctuary

  • 3774 Urweiler Rd., Mansfield, OH 44903

boy feeding a bird at Ohio Bird Sanctuary.

Ohio Bird Sanctuary is home to birds who can no longer live in the wild. You can walk through an outdoor exhibit to see the birds close up. There is also a Song Bird Aviary where visitors can purchase a cup of food and feed the birds! Birds will come up and eat the food right out of the cup in your hand!

The grounds also include a natural play area, trails for hiking and a butterfly garden. Check out this list of things to do in Mansfield before you visit!

Majestic Meadows Alpaca Farm

  • 4195 Abbeyville Rd., Medina, OH 44256

Visit this Alpaca farm and boutique 7 days a week. A reservation is required to visit the alpacas. There is a charge to visit the alpacas and animals can be pet and fed with grain for purchase at the boutique!

Lake Metroparks Farmpark

  • 8800 Euclid Chardon Rd. (Rt. 6), Kirtland, Ohio 44094

Part of the Lake Metroparks, this is a working farm and educational center in Kirkland, Ohio featuring cows, pigs, sheep, chicken, rabbits, horses, alpacas and goats! Wagon rides are available and there is a plant science center, playground, farm machines and more! There is a daily admission fee to visit.

Hersberger’s Farm and Bakery

  • 5452 OH-557, Millersburg, OH 44654

tall brown horse at Hershberger's Farm.

Hersberger’s Farm is home to a petting zoo where kids can pet farm animals. They also offer pony and horse rides!
Also on the premises is an Amish bakery featuring baked goods, canned goods, produce and flowers. There is also a farm store with other non-perishable items!

Our Little World Alpacas

  • 16800 Cowley Rd., Grafton, OH 44044

Schedule a private farm tour to meet the alpacas up close or visit the farm for special events! 

Malabar Farm State Park

  • 4050 Bromfield Rd., Lucas, OH 44843 

goats behind a fence at Malabar Farm.

Malabar Farm is one of Ohio’s State Parks. The property features a campground, fishing, hiking trails, a visitor Center and buildings that were part of the homestead of author Louis Bromfield.

The working farm can be toured and animals in the barn include pigs, goats, sheep, cows, horses and more! Look for babies in the spring! Malabar Farm is free to visit! 

Wagon Trails

  • 907 Youngstown Kingsville Rd. SE, Vienna, OH 44473

45 minute narrated safari trips are available at Wagon Trails where you can see 350 animals from 6 different continents! There is also a petting zoo that is included with admission. Food is for sale separately.

Petting Zoos and Animal Farms in Central Ohio

Olentangy Indian Caverns

  • 1779 Home Rd., Delaware, OH 43015

boy feeding a goat at the petting zoo at Olentangy Indian Caverns in Ohio.

Olentangy Indian Caverns has a great petting zoo with two sides: one for goats and other animals and a separate side just for deer. The petting zoo area is large and there are goats, pigs, a zebu, and sheep. Cups of feed are for sale and the animals will be very excited to see you arrive bearing food!

The grounds are also home to many other activities including cavern tours, mini golf, a playground, gem mining and more!

Slate Run Living Historical Farm

  • 1375 OH-674, Canal Winchester, OH 43110

horse in a fence in front of the barn at Slate Run Historical Farm in central Ohio.

Slate Run Farm is part of Columbus and Franklin County Metro Parks. Visit a working farm 1880’s style. Visit the barns to see pigs, horses, turkeys and more! If you visit in the spring, you are likely to see babies!

Ohio Wildlife Center

  • 6131 Cook Rd., Powell, Ohio 43065

boy in front of the bird cage at Ohio Wildlife Center.

Ohio Wildlife Center is home to animals that have been hurt and can no longer live in the wild! The center offers special open house hours and events. Walk the grounds to see the resident animals or attend an event to meet an ambassador animal up close! Be sure to check their schedule before visiting! 

Stratford Ecological Center

  • 3083 Liberty Rd., Delaware, OH 43015

boy looking at the sheep at Stratford Ecological Center, an animal farm in Delaware Ohio.

Stratford Ecological Center is an organic farm and nature preserve. Visitors can explore the grounds and visit the animals in the barn! Babies are usually born every spring which is a fun sight to see! The grounds are home to a pond, garden and barn. Special events take place throughout the year.

Sunrise Sanctuary

  • 16730 Martin Welch Rd., Marysville, OH 43040

Sunrise Sanctuary is home to rescued animals that were abandoned, abused or neglected. The Sanctuary is only open on monthly Open Barn Days. Tickets are required to visit. You can visit with and pet the resident animals during these special days but no feeding is allowed.

Idle Hour Ranch

  • 4845 Fenner Rd., Troy, OH 45373

Idle-Hour Ranch offers a drive-thru safari, camel rides, pony rides, gemstone mining, and more!

Carriage Hill Historical Farm

  • 7800 Shull Rd., Huber Heights, OH 45424

Part of the Five Rivers Metroparks, this historical farm serves to teach us about our agricultural heritage and functions as a farm would in the 1880s. The grounds includes a farmhouse, visitor center, live enactments and a barn that is home to horses, sheep, hogs and chickens!

Horse-N-Round Fun

boy and dad petting a horse in Galloway, Ohio.

Horse-N-Round Fun offers special events for the public. They can also be reserved for corporate events, birthday parties and more! Public events offer horse back rides and petting zoos. Follow them on Facebook to see where to join in on the fun next! 

Bring the Farm to You

You can find Bring the Farm to You popping up around Central Ohio doing just what the name suggests: bringing animals and hands-on farm fun to you. They offer programs for parties, programs and you can find them at special events. 

Petting Zoos and Animal Farms in Southern Ohio

Glen Helen Raptor Center

  • 1075 OH-343, Yellow Springs, OH 45387

boys looking at the birds at Glen Helen Raptor Center in Yellow Springs, Ohio.

The Glen Helen Raptor Center is part of the Glen Helen Nature Preserve in Yellow Springs, Ohio. The Raptor Center offers rehabilitation to injured raptors with the goal of releasing them back into the wild. You can visit the center to see the birds that live there or attend an educational event. 

The Wilds

  • 14000 International Rd., Cumberland, OH 43732

a camel coming up to the bus at the drive through safari at The Wilds in Ohio.

Take an African safari tour right here in Ohio! The Wilds is the largest wildlife conservation center in North America and you can tour the grounds in an open air safari! This is a really unique experience that includes a lot of educational information about how The Wilds has contributed to the conservation of endangered animals.

Other special experiences are available such as a Fishing Safari, an overnight in a yurt, a zipline, and other up-close experiences.  

Young’s Jersey Dairy

  • 6880 Springfield Xenia Rd., Yellow Springs, OH 45387

boy feeding a goat at the petting zoo at Young's Jersey Dairy in Ohio.

Young’s Dairy is home to, you guessed it, cows! Visit the cows up close or visit the barn to hand feed goats! Feed is available in the Dairy Store. You may also be able to watch cows being milked if you arrive in the late afternoon!  

There are lots of other activities at Young’s Jersey Dairy including mini golf, batting cages, slides, and more! Plus don’t miss the ice cream!

Zoos in Ohio

Columbus Zoo and Aquarium

  • 4850 Powell Rd., Powell, OH 43065 

boy looking at fish at the aquarium at Columbus Zoo in Ohio.

Visit the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium to see all kinds of animals! Special experiences are available in order to get up close and personal with some of your favorite animals!

The zoo is home to a petting zoo that is included with admission. It is in the North America section of the zoo and you can pet goats and sheep or ride a pony! (Pony rides are an additional fee.) 

Cleveland Metroparks Zoo

  • 3900 Wildlife Way, Cleveland, OH 44109 

Visit hundreds of animals at the zoo! Special experiences are available including getting up close with an ambassador animal! There is a petting zoo in the Australian Adventure Area called Kookaburra Station featuring sheep, goats, miniature donkeys and more! 

Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Garden

  • 3400 Vine St., Cincinnati, OH 45220

The Spaulding Children’s Zoo at Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Garden includes animal encounters, a playground, and a petting yard where kids can interact with goats and sheep! 

Toledo Zoo and Aquarium

  • 2 Hippo Way, Toledo, OH 43609 

Nature’s Neighborhood at Toledo Zoo and Aquarium includes live animal shows, a stream and beach, and a tree house. It also includes indoor areas to explore and a petting zoo featuring farm animals. 

Akron Zoo

  • 500 Edgewood Ave., Akron, OH 44307

Akron Zoo is home to over 700 animals. Have up-close encounters with animals at the Learning Lab (open May-September). VIP experiences are also available and allow you to interact with animals and see them behind the scenes!

Things to do in sandusky ohio

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Your Kids Will Love These Animal Farms and Petting Zoos in Ohio.


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5 Magical Children’s Bookstores You Must Visit in Central Ohio

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These beautiful children’s bookstores in Ohio will transport you to another world! Check out one of these independent children’s bookstores in Central Ohio for books, gifts and goodies for the kids in your life!

boys looking at books at Cover to Cover Bookstore in Ohio for children.

Cover to Cover Books for Young Readers in Upper Arlington, Ohio.

Bookstores are some of the best places, don’t you agree? I could spend all day in a bookstore with a cup of coffee. Maybe visiting bookstores with kids isn’t quite as relaxing as that! But either way, when you visit one of these magical children’s bookstores in Central Ohio, it will come pretty darn close!

Plan Your Visit to one of These 5 Amazing Children’s Bookstores in Ohio:

1. Cover to Cover Books for Young Readers

  • 2116 Arlington Ave., Columbus, Ohio 43221

boy standing in the Cover to Cover bookstore in Upper Arlington, Ohio

Speaking of being transported to another world, when you step inside Cover to Cover Books for Young Readers in Upper Arlington, Ohio, you might never want to return to reality! This adorable bookstore just for kids is a gem.

Cover to Cover was originally opened by a teacher in Clintonville. The store was bought by another teacher and moved to Upper Arlington in 2018. The store hosts special events and story times with authors on a regular basis.

seating area inside Cover to Cover Books for Young Readers in Ohio

With books for kids of all ages and stages, you can find everything you need for school projects, gifts or leisure reading. Online ordering is also available on the website!

2. Beanbag Books

  • 25 W Winter St., Delaware, Ohio 43015

inside the bookstore Beanbag Books in Delaware, Ohio

Beanbag Books began as a teacher supply store and has been in downtown Delaware for over 30 years. This store is full of books for kids of all ages and is a place you must visit with your kids when you’re in Delaware, Ohio!

Beyond books, you can also shop for toys, games and craft kits to keep your kids busy throughout the year!

Inside Beanbag Books, a children's bookstore in Ohio

Stop into Beanbag Books as part of a fun day in Delaware, Ohio with your kids!

3. The Fun Company

  • 136 S Main St., Bellefontaine, Ohio 43311, 937-599-2993 

Couch inside a Children's Bookstore in Bellefontaine, Ohio

This is a magical toy store in Bellefontaine, Ohio with a cozy book section that will make you want to plop down on a comfy couch and stay a while. This is an amazing hidden gem just outside of Columbus that I didn’t know existed until just a few years ago!

I loved how The Fun Company has little nooks and crannies for playing and reading. It is impossible not to fall in love with how cheery and fun this place is!

bookstore in Bellefontaine, Ohio called The Fun Station.

Even if you don’t live close enough to pop over to this children’s bookstore, you can order online and have books (and toys) shipped to your house! If you DO live close enough, there are a lot of fun things to do in Bellefontaine with your kids when you visit!

4. Gramercy Books

  • 2424 E. Main St., Bexley, OH 43209

The picture book area at Gramercy Books in Bexley, Ohio

The children’s section at Gramercy Books in Bexley, Ohio is delightful! This is a place I love to take my kids. And it doesn’t hurt that the bookstore is attacked to Kittie’s Cakes where they sell my favorite chocolate chip cookie in Columbus!

Though the entire bookstore is not dedicated to kids, the children’s space is it’s own little world with fun and colorful displays, enticing toys and a great selection of books for children.

a boy in the children's book area at Gramercy Books

This classy bookstore is an asset to Central Ohio with it’s great selection, author events and commitment to diversity in its offerings

5. The Book Loft

  • 631 South Third St., Columbus, OH 43206

The Book Loft bookstore in German Village in Columbus, Ohio

Quite possibly the most famous bookstore in Ohio, The Book Loft offers a maze of 32 rooms of books of all subjects and topics – including it’s own children’s book section consisting of 5 rooms!

There are so many books at the Book Loft, they often spill out onto the porch and sidewalk! Make sure to allow plenty of time to visit (and potentially get lost)! The store does provide maps and if it’s your first time visiting this bookstore in the German Village neighborhood of Columbus, Ohio, I suggest picking one up!

inside the children's book area at The Book Loft in Columbus, Ohio.

On of my favorite parts of The Book Loft is that they play different CD’s in different sections and you can alway look around to find the display of what music is “now playing”!

Additionally, the children’s section is large and full of fun finds for all ages! Online ordering is also available!

Plan a visit to one of these magical children’s bookstores in Columbus and Central Ohio and you will not be disappointed! These local gems are some of our favorite places to take our kids! Which one is your favorite?

Children's Bookstores in Central Ohio

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Children's Bookstores in Ohio


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7 Lake Erie Vacation Ideas That Are Perfect for Families

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Lake Erie is a perfect vacation spot for families! This list of Lake Erie vacation ideas will help you plan your next Ohio vacation on the Lake!

The shores of Lake Erie have been a favorite vacation spot for our family time and time again! Ohio’s Vacationland is a comfortable driving distance from our home in Columbus, Ohio and there are plenty of fun things for families to do!

Marblehead Lighthouse on the Marblehead Peninsula at Lake Erie

Marblehead Lighthouse

If you’re looking for an Ohio road trip that includes beaches, fun parks and playgrounds, gorgeous scenery, family-friendly entertainment and even some educational opportunities, look no further. This list of Lake Erie Vacation ideas will be a great starting place to spark inspiration for your next trip!

boy driving a pretend boat in Lakeview Park playground in Port Clinton, Ohio

Lakeview Park in Port Clinton, Ohio

If an Ohio beach sounds up your alley, try Vermilion, Port Clinton or Lakeside. If an African Wildlife Safari is up your alley, check out the list of things to do near Sandusky!

If the weather calls for indoor fun, check out the amazing indoor play area in Bellevue or spend a day at Castaway Bay! Geneva-on-the Lake is a cute lakeside town where you can swing through the trees on a Lake Erie Canopy Tour or enjoy food and games on The Strip along Lake Erie.

My family has enjoyed doing many of these things year after year! The beach at Vermilion is a place we ALWAYS visit when we go to Lake Erie! We always plan for lunch at Jolly Rogers in Port Clinton and we always take Miller Ferry to Put-in-Bay for a day of family-friendly fun! (Yes, Put-in-Bay CAN be family-friendly!)

7 Exciting Lake Erie Vacation Ideas for Families

Take a look at this list of family friendly Lake Erie vacation ideas and pick and choose activities that fit your family to plan your next Ohio vacation!

Many of the things on this list can be done within one vacation. In fact, ambitious families could potentially do a majority of these things in a full week vacation to Lake Erie!

We’ve had a lot of fun exploring Lake Erie as a family and just looking through this list is making me want to go back soon! I hope this list has inspired you to plan a getaway to see it for yourself!

deRivera park in put-in-bay, ohio.

DeRivera Park in Put-in-Bay, Ohio

Here’s to enjoying all the fun things there are to do in Ohio and making lots of memories with your family on your next vacation at Lake Erie!

Lake Erie Vacation Ideas for Families

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Lake Erie Vacations for families in Ohio

 


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