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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The Ohio Bird Sanctuary is a Hidden Gem in Mansfield, Ohio

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See bald eagles, feed the birds and take a hike at this awesome bird sanctuary in Mansfield, Ohio! This place is a hidden gem that provides education and a unique experience for kids!

Ohio Bird Sanctuary Sign

I found out about the Ohio Bird Sanctuary thanks to an ad on Facebook! After seeing it a few times, I finally clicked and was happy to find out it was located just outside of Mansfield and would make a great outdoor meeting place for us and my parents who live in Wayne County!

We really didn’t know what to expect beyond the pictures on their website, but I think it’s safe to say we were all pleasantly surprised by what we discovered when we arrived!

First I want to say, if you are coming from Columbus, the drive involves a lot of rural, back roads. It took us about 1 hour and 15 minutes but it will be a quicker trip for those of you in the northern suburbs of Columbus!

two boys hiking on the trail at Ohio Bird Sanctuary

We spent about 2.5 hours here, though you could easily spend more or less time, depending on your schedule. Everything about the visit is self paced. There are picnic tables outside if you want to pack a lunch. You can extend your visit by taking longer hikes or spending more time on the playground.

There really is a lot to do here and I think it is well worth the trip from Columbus!

Take a look at all there is to do at the Ohio Bird Sanctuary:

Ohio Bird Sanctuary Visitor Center

The Visitor Center at Ohio Bird Sanctuary, Mansfield, Ohio

Upon arriving you will first want to check in at the Visitor Center. There are public restrooms here, a gift shop and the entrance to  the bird display area. Entrance to this area is $3 for adults (16 years and over) $1 for children (kids under 2 years are free), and $1 for military and individuals from assisted care centers (no charge for caregivers). 

Gift Shop inside the Visitor Center

You will need to go through the Visitor Center to access the live bird display area. If you end up leaving the gated area to see other parts of the property, you must come back through the Visitors Center to reenter. You can reenter as many times as you need to during your visit.

The Bird Display Area

Bird Display Area at Ohio Bird Sanctuary

The live bird displays include over 30 different species of birds that have been injured in some way and are no longer able to live on their own in the wild. The Ohio Bird Sanctuary will also take in birds that you might find that are hurt or injured!

people viewing the birds in the Bird Viewing Area

You are free to walk the paths for as long as you desire! There are bald eagles, falcons, owls, crows, and more! Fun fact: it takes a bald eagle 5 years to develop its signature white head!

boy looking at bald eagles at the bird sanctuary in Mansfield, Ohio

a red-tailed hawk housed at the bird sanctuary

Songbird Aviary

people feeding birds in the songbird aviary at Ohio Bird Sanctuary

Included in your admission to the Ohio Bird Sanctuary is the Songbird Aviary. You can purchase small containers of food in the Visitor Center for $.25 so you can feed the birds in the aviary! After our first trip through, we came back to buy bird food and feeding them turned out to be a highlight of our trip!

boy feeding a mourning dove in the songbird aviary

Inside the Songbird Aviary, birds are free to fly around or roam around on the ground. Keep an eye out as you walk! If you stay still for long enough, they will come up to your cup of food to eat!

Butterfly Garden

Inside the Bird Display Area are butterfly gardens so keep an eye out for butterflies!

boy looking through binoculars at the butterfly garden within the bird sanctuary

Naturescape Play Area

the sign for the Naturescape Play Area at the Ohio Bird Sanctuary

Once outside the bird display area, follow the path to the Naturescape Play Area! It’s a super fun natural play area with a bird theme (of course)! There is a fun (albeit slow) caterpillar slide, a sand area, a vine for swinging, animal tracks and tic tac toe, just to name a few activities! 

boy on two wires at the Naturescape Play Area

boy measuring his wingspan

the Naturescape Play Area at Ohio Bird Sanctuary

Barred Owl Trail

The Barred Owl Trail at Ohio Bird Sanctuary

The Barred Owl Trail is the closest hiking trail to the bird displays. There are several other trails available and they are all under 1 mile long. We took the Barred Owl Trail to the bird blind, which was a little anti-climactic, but still a nice hike! Check this link for a map of the property and the different trails available.

two boys looking through the bird blind at the Ohio Bird Sanctuary

The Barred Owl Trail is a narrow dirt trail with a couple of shoots off in different directions so I recommend checking your map often! In actuality all of the distances between the points of interest are pretty short.

Picnic Areas

There are two picnic areas within the sanctuary. One is close to the Naturescape Play Area and would make a fun picnic spot! The other picnic area is right by the parking lot at the Visitor Center.

The entrance fee to the Ohio Bird Sanctuary is quite reasonable, but if you need a free activity, you could hike on the trails and play at the playground at no cost and you would still be able to view one of the eagles from the outside!

boys walking on the path through the Ohio Bird Sanctuary

We had a great time visiting the Ohio Bird Sanctuary and I think it is well worth the drive from Central Ohio! The 90 acre property is beautiful and you can tell it is well cared for! A visit here would make a great field trip this year!

If you’re looking for more things to do in Mansfield, Ohio, check out: Day Trip: Downtown Mansfield and Little Buckeye Children’s Museum.

Know Before You Go:

Ohio Bird Sanctuary

3774 Orweiler Rd, Mansfield, OH 44903
Phone: 419-884-4295 
Visit the website

Hours: Tuesday – Saturday: 10:00 AM – 4:00 PM, Sunday: 12:00 PM – 4:00 PM
Special Summer Extended Hours: Tuesday & Thursday open 10:00 AM- 7:00 PM

  • Home school programs are available throughout the school year. 
  • Masks are required in the Visitor Center but not required when outdoors and able to social distance.

physical distancing sign at Ohio Bird Sanctuary

Exploring Columbus with Your Kids

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Ohio Bird Sanctuary

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