Ponies, Piglets, and Lambs: 11 Petting Zoos in the Seattle Area
It’s not spring without baby animals, so grab your kiddos (and camera) and get ready to oohh and ahhh over furry and feathered new additions. We've compiled some of the best places to visit baby animals around the Seattle area.
Many of these facilities are open year-round; others are open only for the summer season, or starting in spring. You might doublecheck current hours of operation and admission prices (where not marked as “free”).
Eastside/Seattle Petting Zoos
1. Farrel-McWhirter Park. Tucked away in Redmond, Farrel-McWhirter, a 68-acre, city-owned park, is a welcome escape from city life, boasting beautiful nature trails, large, grassy fields and picnic tables with BBQ pits. It’s also a fabulous place for kids to get up close and personal with pigs, goats, cows, ponies and turkeys. The park offers pony riding classes for both toddlers and “big kids,” summer day camps and a preschool.
Schedule: Open year-round, daily from 9 a.m.–5 p.m.
Address: 19545 Redmond Road, Redmond
2. Fox Hollow Farm. A family farm and equestrian center in Issaquah, Fox Hollow is a treat for kids of all ages (and parents, too!). The farm's Open Farm days let children get a close peek at sheep, goats, pigs, peacocks, chickens, mini horses, kittens and more. Kids can also ride ponies or miniature John Deere tractors, take a spin on the Squak Mountain Station kid-sized train or try the giant rope swing in the hayloft. There’s even a new “Cottage Area,” full of kid-sized houses for little ones to explore. (P.S. -- Fox Hollow also hosts a much-loved Easter Hunt that sells out early every year.)
Cost: $10 admission includes pony rides, inflatables and petting zoo.
Schedule: March 2-November 17. Open Farm Days are Wednesdays, Friday, Saturdays, Sundays, 10 a.m.–2 p.m.
Address: 12031 Issaquah-Hobart Road SE, Issaquah
3. Kelsey Creek Park. Not far from the trendy restaurants and shopping of downtown Bellevue, you’ll find Kelsey Creek, a 1930s-style working farm with white clapboard barns, open pastures and distant chatter of animals setting a scene reminiscent of old-fashioned, Middle America. The farm offers families a chance to visit ponies, cows, sheep, bunnies, chickens, pigs and more. Woodland paths and picnic tables are open to the public, and hands-on, farm-centric classes and tours are available for kiddos ages 2 and up. Check out the annual sheep shearing event on April 27 at 11 a.m.-4 p.m.
Cost: Free, though donations are welcome.
Schedule: Open year-round, daily from 9:30 a.m.–3:30 p.m.
Address: 410 130th Place S.E., Bellevue
4. Woodland Park Zoo. We love gorillas, lions and hippos, but it’s always fun to wander over to the Woodland Park Zoo's Family Farm area to say hello to the more, well…domestic inhabitants. Kiddos can interact with goats, pigs, bunnies and more. Learn how a cow is milked, take a peek at the baby chicks and pet a few goats. The small play area, complete with a tractor and giant “worms” is a bonus. The area allows children to interact (carefully) with bunnies, goats and other farm animals in a fenced yard.
Cost: Included in admission,
Schedule: Open daily May 1–October 1.
Address: North 50th St. and Fremont Ave. N., Seattle
5. Dr. Maze’s Farm. This small Redmond farm is the perfect place for tiny tots to visit with animals like goats, alpacas and chickens. Other activities include farm-themed classes and workshops, hayrides, and lavender and sunflower U-Pick fields. Don’t miss Farm Tot Fridays (10:30-11:30 a.m.), where kiddos can explore a toddler maze, race bouncy rodeo horses and climb a straw bale pyramid. The opening Spring Celebration kicks off May 3 and 4 from 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Check website for other specific event hours.
Schedule: May 3–July 6. Friday–Saturday from 10 a.m.–2 p.m.
Address: 15410 NE 124th St., Redmond
6. Remlinger Farms. At 350 acres, Remlinger is the mother of all farms, with animals, amusement rides, a steam train, U-Pick berry fields and much more. Kiddos can interact with goats, peacocks and bunnies in the 4-H Animal Barnyard Kids, and pony rides are included in admission. Be sure to check out the awesome hay maze and impressive farmers market.
Cost: $12.75 + tax (under 1 year free).
Schedule: Open May 11 (Mother's Day weekend)–September 22
Address: 32610 N.E. 32nd St., Carnation
North Sound Petting Zoos
7. Forest Park Animal Farm. Goats, chickens, cows, sheep, pigs and other farm animals are on view at the Forest Park Animal Farm. On certain days, kiddos age two and older can get a free pony ride. Bad weather? Head to the indoor pool. They've got it all!
Schedule: June 29–August 25. Daily from 10 a.m.–4 p.m.
Address: 802 Mukilteo Blvd., Everett
8. Flower World. The Disneyland of nurseries, Flower World in Snohomish is a hidden gem and wonderful spot for a weekend outing. It boasts 15 beautiful acres of trees, flowers, veggie starts and more (90 percent of the plants are grown on-site). The kiddos will enjoy lots of green space for running, a duck pond, chicken coops and a petting zoo where they can visit goats, sheep, chicks and more. For a treat, pop in to the Maltby Produce Market located across the park.
Schedule: Open year-round. Monday-Thursday, 9 a.m.-6 p.m., Friday-Saturday, 9 a.m.-7 p.m., Sunday 9 a.m.-5 p.m.
Address: 9322 196th St. S.E., Snohomish
South Sound Petting Zoos
9. Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium. Round up the family and check out Point Defiance Zoo’s Kids’ Zone -- a bright, colorful environment that encourages play. Kiddos may be able to feed or groom resident goats and sheep and get a closer look at some of the zoo’s animals, like wallabies and meerkats.
Cost: Included in admission.
Schedule: Open daily year-round.
Address: 5400 N. Pearl St., Tacoma
10. City Goat Farm and Zoo. This family-owned business in East Spanaway rents out goats for weed control and brush-clearing projects (talk about environmentally-friendly!). But it’s not all business here; families can come and visit with ponies, pigs, kangaroos, and of course the hard-working goats! You can even purchase a “treat bucket” to help feed the animals. And for the little ones who adore ponies, City Goat Farm “rents” out ponies ($30 for 30-minute hand-led ride around farm, or $30 for 45 minutes of grooming pony and leading them around the farm).
Cost: $5 entry; $5 pony rides; $3 treat bucket
Schedule: Monday-Saturday 10 a.m.–6 p.m.; Sunday noon–4 p.m..
Address: 168th St. East, Spanaway
11. Old McDebbie’s Farm / Jim’s U-Fish. Farmers Jim and Debbie love sharing their working farm in Spanaway with the community. They invite families to come and visit with their goats, bunnies, emus, guinea pigs, prairie dogs, and even a camel! Kiddos can ride a pony or fish for rainbow trout.
Cost: $5 admission; $5 pony rides; $5 for each fish caught.
Schedule: Open March 1–October. Friday–Sunday from 10 a.m.–6 p.m.
Address: 4924 268th St. E., Spanaway
This article was written in 2012 and updated in April, 2013
About the co-author: A born and raised Seattle girl, Allison spent her “early years” satisfying her wanderlust and now lives in Kirkland with her husband, 3-year-old son and (most would say) too many pets. A freelance writer, serious coffee lover (who isn’t?) and jogging stroller enthusiast, Allison loves to get out and explore her city, especially through the eyes of her child. Find more of her stories on her blog, Seattle Travel Mom. She took all the photos for this article.