I have two high-energy, inquisitive boys, so we make a point to find activities where they can be outside and exploring freely. Green Meadows Petting Farm in East Troy, Wisconsin is one of their all-time favorite places to visit!
We live in Kenosha, and make the trip to Green Meadows Farm in Walworth County WI several times a year. This petting farm is open May through October, but closed for a few weeks in September so they can transition to fall and pumpkin season, clean everything and make repairs, etc.
Be sure to check the calendar on their website: http://greenmeadowsfarmwi.com/GMF_hours.html before you visit. The petting farm is also closed on Mondays.
Definitely plan to spend the whole day here. The farm opens at 10 am and close at 4:30. There are so many animals to feed, interact with and pet – it is a petting farm, after all – but it is also a giant playground!
As you make your way from animal to animal, the kids’ attention will be drawn to all the other opportunities to PLAY at this farm. There are so many unique and unusual experiences to be had at Green Meadows!
Personally, one of my favorite things about being on this farm is that there aren’t a ton of rules, and the “Farmers” aren’t walking around monitoring everything you’re doing. Obviously, you’re expected to be respectful and kind to all animals, but besides that you’re kind of on your own to explore and there really isn’t much that is off limits. That being said, where there are posted signs and rules, it is for the safety of the animals and humans!!
What comes with your admission fee
Admission is $13.75 for children and adults, and $11.75 for seniors. Babies one year old and younger are free! See below for some tips on getting a deal on your admission price.
Once you pay the admission price for Green Meadows, you are able to enjoy all the activities. I LOVE that there is nothing else to pay for, except a quarter or two for chicken or goat food if you like.
I appreciate not having to limit activities, and I don’t need to negotiate with my kids for what they can or can’t do that day. You pay, you get a sticker, and you’re off to enjoy everything the farm has to offer – which is more than you can do in a day’s visit, so it’s well worth it.
Included in the admission price is the ability to see and interact with a ton of animals, play on all their play equipment, enjoy a bunch of well-done handmade activities, and go on some farm rides. You can bring in your own food and snacks, which is a huge cost-savings!
Things to ride
As soon as you come into the farm, the first thing you’ll see is the pony ride. Yes, they can even ride a pony for no additional cost! Your child climbs up a step stool, hands the farmer their ticket, and climbs right onto a pony, and they’re off on a short ride.
It’s like the paparazzi here with everyone snapping pics of their little cowboys and cowgirls! The last pony rides are over around 2, so we usually just do this first.
You can also go on a hayride – hayrides are at 11, 12, 1 and 2. They have two trailers hooked up to the tractor, and take you on a long and bumpy ride around the pumpkin field. It’s cool to see the pumpkins growing that you can pick (included in admission price!) if you come back in the fall.
Right next to the hayride area you can climb onto the wagon ride. They hook up a huge train of colorful 2-3 person wagons to a tractor, and the farmer zips and twists them around the farm.
You can climb in with your kids, or if they’re a bit older send them off on their own and watch from afar hoping they’ll stay inside the wagon! Just kidding, but they go fast!
Not a machine or horse powered ride, but there are bikes and pedal tractors in corrals all around the farm. Kids can hop onto these and ride wherever they want! My kids like to secure a pedal tractor or two and ride it from place to place around the farm, parking it at their destination until they move onto the next area.
Beware the signs!
“Come on in!”
Throughout the farm, there are giant “pens” with the different farm animals in them. Many are designated “Come on in!” (you can walk in and interact freely with the animals) and others say “Whoa, partner!” (pet, feed, and talk to these animals from outside its pen).
It’s important to be aware of the signs, as you CAN easily unlatch and walk into any of the “whoa, partner” areas. I’ve never wanted to find out the reason some of the animals (like the emus) have a “whoa, partner” designation. To get a visual on all the farm animals you can find throughout the farm, check here: http://greenmeadowsfarmwi.com/GMF_gallery.html.
Some farm animals you can hold, some you can pet, and some are just for looking at. Everything is well marked with informational signs, so you’ll know what’s what. If you have any questions at all, there are always farmers supervising nearby to ask!
Animals to feed
You can walk right in the chicken area and feed, hold and pet the chickens and roosters! The chickens will eat right from your hand, and allow you to hold and snuggle them.
It takes a little skill to catch the chickens, which we think is half the fun! If you or your child are a little skittish about grabbing a chicken, there are always other kids in there proudly passing off the chickens they caught to younger kiddos.
The goats are serious about their snacks, so be sure to feed them from outside of the goat area (there’s a sign to remind you of this)! The saying about goats eating anything seems to be true, as we’ve had our hats, shirts and shoelaces regularly nibbled. My family gets a good laugh here every time.
You never know what experience you’ll get with the goats. You might have to corral one back in as it tries to escape as you’re coming in, they may jump up right next to you as you sit on a log in their pen, or in my husband’s case, they’ll relentlessly head-butt you until you give them a good head scratch.
Who would’ve thought you’d be allowed to hand feed a giant tortoise? Well, at Green Meadows petting farm you can! At 1 pm and 3 pm they hand out big pieces of lettuce to everyone there, and these guys and gals run over (in the way that tortoises run!) to grab their snack, crunching loudly. Side note, these are the most active tortoises we’ve ever seen!
Animals to pet
If you don’t mind the mud, you can pet Petunia, the giant pig that is usually half buried in the mud to cool off. You can’t go in, but it’s neat to reach your hand through the fence and pet her bristly hair, and she makes the cutest grunting sound.
In another area, there are several smaller pigs you and your children can walk right in with. Sometimes they get up and run away from you, other times they contentedly lay half asleep and let you pet them.
Nearby you can go in by the sheep and give them a few head scratches. They’re usually pretty mellow and you can give them a little snuggle.
Surprisingly, you can walk right in with the turkeys. There usually aren’t many people in with them, in part because they aren’t so fond of energetic visitors. If you coach your kids to be calm, they might be able to get the turkeys to walk over to them!
The llamas are a “whoa, partner” animal. We have only gotten our hands on the llamas a few times, but they do on occasion walk over to the edge of the fence to be petted. Near the llamas are the donkeys. They’re really very cute!
There are several horses that are beautiful to look at. They love the farmers that work the petting farm and come right over to them. You can pet them, but typically aren’t an animal you will get much attention from.
We love the small goat building, where there are brushes available to brush their backs and bellies. The goats are small enough that invariably my kids try to pick them up, but of course these goats don’t love that. They like to sleep all snuggled together, and don’t mind if a kid or two sits and joins them – it’s so sweet!
In the same building as the goats, there’s a pen with geese. They will run over to the fence when they have a visitor, and like attention. One day a farmer was trying to socialize a duck in to be accepted as part of the geese flock, it was neat to see her protecting the duck and talking softly to the birds as the geese “yelled” at them for intruding.
There is a giant rabbit in the small animal building. He or she is huge, insanely fluffy and soft, and usually sleeping. It is usually very mellow and sleepy, and the kids love to stroke its soft fur.
In the small animal building is a guinea pig enclosure. This little guy does not enjoy being handled, but you can try to pet it. Usually it just runs away and hides!
A notable animal to pet at the farm is Dottie. She is a calf that was hand raised (in a house!) by one of the farmers after she was born premature and with some special medical conditions that will never be fully resolved.
Dottie LOVES attention, and will come over to the fence and let visitors stroke her nonstop. I swear she’s given us kisses before, too, so beware if heifer kisses aren’t your thing!
Animals to milk
One of the more unique, fun things to do is trying your hand at milking a cow! Buttons is a gentle cow that stands with a farmer, who will give you a quick lesson on milking her.
The kids get a huge kick out of this when they learn the trick to be successful! My son may or may not have tasted the milk that squirted on his hand…
Next to Buttons is a fake cow, if milking a real cow isn’t your thing. It’s a wooden replica, and there is a rubber udder filled with water. You can practice milking this fake cow if that’s more your style!
What is a visit to the petting farm if you can’t see some adorable baby animals? Since Green Meadows opens in the spring and runs through the summer, there are always babies to see and pet.
In the small animal building there are always baby chicks. There are dozens of them to touch and pet, right at kid height! Because they are only weeks old, you can’t pick them up. The chicks are so fun to pet with a few fingers and make the cutest peeping sound!
Occasionally, in addition to the regular chicks you can pet, there are brand new ones in there with their mama hen. You CANNOT touch these – mama hen will peck you if you get close!
There are also a few ducklings in the same set up as the chicks. They’re usually a bit bigger than the chicks, but this is another baby animal that you can only gently pet with a few fingers. They’re absolutely adorable, and we really wish we could hold them!
We have on occasion seen baby rabbits in the small animal barn. Our family agrees that nothing is cuter than these little bunnies – they just look like little fur-balls with floppy ears! We have never been there when we could pet them, they have always been too young.
The kitten barn is probably the most crowded place at the farm, because who doesn’t love to snuggle with a fluffy kitten?? Be prepared to wait a few minutes for your turn, the farmers hand kittens to parents, and the parents then pass them off to the kids.
You can sit with the kittens on the benches, and they love to be cradled in kids’ arms like babies. They often fall asleep while you’re petting them, and sometimes they play with the toys scattered around.
When they start to squirm around, you have to let them go. Sometimes they just need take a rest or grab a drink or whatever. Luckily the farmers strictly enforce this rule, as it is an important “respect the animals” rule.
These kittens are up for adoption on the afternoon of Labor Day. That is the last day that the farm is open for the summer season, so it’s time for the kittens to move on.
If you’re in the market for a family cat that doesn’t mind being handled by children, this is the day to get it! After a couple months of being held nearly nonstop by random children, you are guaranteed a kid-friendly cat if you adopt one here.
Also in the kitten barn is an enclosure with feral kittens – you can NOT go in here, and in fact it’s locked. These kittens are brought to Green Meadows to be socialized and turned into family cats – this is another incredible testament to the love and care shown by the farmers.
It is incredible to watch the progression of the feral kittens. They are cowering in a corner and hissing at everyone one week, and a few weeks later are in the regular kitten area loving the snuggles and attention.
The kitten barn closes for a kitty nap time at 12:30. After being handled non-stop, these furry friends need their rest time! If you’re like us, you’ll want to visit the kitties at least twice, so be aware of nap time so you can plan accordingly!
Animals to see but not touch
There are several animals you can see but not touch. Several of them are found in the small animal barn.
There are ferrets, which are usually sleeping in a little ferret hammock in their cage. They are nocturnal after all! Occasionally a farmer will handle one and you can touch it.
Also in the small animal barn is what I think is a sugar glider. Also nocturnal, and it’s always been pretty well hidden in its cage, so I can’t say for sure!
(Pro tip – the small animal barn is the only place on the farm that is air conditioned. This is quite refreshing on those hot days, so go hang out with the ferrets or the ducklings if you or your littles need to cool down!)
Guinea fowl are beautiful, but skittish. You can’t go in with them, and they walk away as you approach the fence. However, you can usually see an egg or two that they’ve laid in their enclosure, and my kids love scoot the eggs toward the edge of the fence and grab them out (yes, we always put them back!)
Harry the Highland Cow is a cute shaggy fellow. I think you probably could pet him if his horns ever allowed him to get close enough! They highland cows are usually sitting under a tree in their huge pasture, but they’re close enough to see their horns, which are bigger than my kids!!
Climbing and play equipment
You’d think the animals and hay rides etc would be enough, but nope, Green Meadows has totally outdone themselves with all of the other fun things to do. It takes forever to walk from farm animal to farm animal (and they’re not far apart) because there are so many non-animal things to catch the kids’ attention.
There are a few regular playsets at the petting farm. Their swingset has these neat double swings where you can sit on a regular swing across from your small child in a baby swing, and you can swing together. What a fun way to bond and chill out with your little one!
Throughout the farm are several tire swings but these aren’t your average tire swings! They are the cutest swings made of pieces of tires to look like horses. And they go super high -where do they come up with this stuff?!
There are several tractors spread throughout the farm. When my boys were toddlers they climbed onto each and every one and pretended to drive them. All different types, colors, and sizes – little farmer’s dream!
There are a few huge tractors that have been converted into slides. So the kids climb up and go into the cab area of the tractor, and slide down. These tractor slides make for a fun game of hide and seek!
As if there weren’t enough tractors, there are some beautiful hand-built life-sized wooden tractors. There’s also a wooden wagon, and even a train! The train has several cars and the kids can climb all around it. So much love and detail went into building these, and the farmer that built them has some mad wood-working skills!
Pinterest Inspired Equipment
Another ingenious piece of play equipment my kids can’t get enough of is a stack of tires with a slide made of horizontally placed PVC pipes. This is one of the dozens of activities on the farm that makes me think that this place is like a Pinterest Playground! Seriously, these people went crazy with ideas from Pinterest, but they actually BUILT everything they pinned – and on a large scale!
If your kids like to climb, they’ll probably love climbing all over the real fire truck. They can go in, up, and on it, and it’s usually full of kids. I think for a lot of kids it is definitely a novel activity!
Zipline and Slide
One hidden gem of the farm is the zipline – make sure you look for it. Behind the sandpit is a doorway, and inside that barn is a short zipline. The kids climb a stack of hay about four bales high, and zoom down, falling onto more hay for their landing. This is dusty, dirty old fashioned fun!!
In the same barn as the zipline is a super-fast slide made from a giant tube and slippery plastic sheeting. Watch your little ones, the kids come FLYING out of this slide! We stay in this barn with the slide and zipline for about an hour each time, and even I enjoy zooming down this slide.
Large Plastic Tube
Another crazy simple activity is rolling around these giant plastic tubes. The kids can climb into giant plastic culvert pipes and run them around like a hamster wheel – it goes without saying to watch out when you’re nearby!
My kids also love to climb in and have an adult or other kids push them while they tumble around inside. I find this terrifying, they think it’s a barrel (culvert?) of fun!
Pro-tip – The kids truly get engaged in all of these activities and animals. It isn’t really a zoo type environment where you just walk from place to place.
Let your children investigate, and to the extent that you can, let them do each activity until they’re done. There is so much value in letting your kids lead the way and get whatever they can from each area.
Here’s where the pro-tip comes in… there are benches and seats EVERYWHERE at Green Meadows. And they are usually in the shade!! If your kids are engaged in something, I can guarantee that there will be a bench nearby.
Sit down, relax, and enjoy watching your kids explore. Seriously, don’t try to move them along, just enjoy the break and being outdoors!
If you’ve had enough of petting the animals and active play activities, there are so many other (typically quieter) things the kids can do. Many of them have a sensory element, which tends to engage my kids for a very long time.
You can hand wash laundry on a wash board with a bucket of water, and hang it out to dry. My children have never once wanted to do this, but it is a quiet sensory activity some kids love.
There’s a giant sand pile with buckets and assorted diggers. This is a nice tall sand pile they can climb up and play in.
Kids (or adults!) can race rubber duckies down gutters. There are hand pumps where you pump the water into the gutter, and it sends the ducks down the gutter as fast as you can place them on. There’s often a short line for this fun activity.
There’s also a music bandwagon, literally a wagon with drumsticks, pans, barrels, and pots tied to it. If it’s in use by a bunch of children, you will hear their music long before you see it! Not something I want at my house, but I love to play with it at Green Meadows!
Who doesn’t love playing in a giant room full of corn? There’s a silo type enclosure that is literally full of feed corn. The kids love to lay in it, bury each other, dump it on their heads, and fill buckets full of it.
There’s plenty of seating outside of the corn area, but I take my shoes off and go right in! I’ll bury a kid or two, then dig my feet in, make myself a pillow of corn, and lay down for a few minutes while the kids go crazy. Seriously, you have to try it – this may just be my favorite part of the farm!
Pretend Farm Stand
There is also a pretend farm stand, complete with shopping carts and fake food. The kids love to make friends in this area and play here for a surprisingly long time. This area is for kids five and under, but I’ll admit if there are no other kids in the store, I’ll let my five and seven year old play here.
If your kids like to play games, there are several life sized games scattered around. You can play checkers or even connect four (which is taller than my 5 year old).
Nearby, there is an area where you can send cars and balls flying down PVC tubes with twists and turns. The kids have to climb a ladder to send them in, and especially the little kids like running down to see where their car came out. As seen on pinterest, I’m sure… but again Green Meadows actually made it!
The farm closes the end of August to make repairs, freshen up paint, etc, and wait for the pumpkins to ripen in the field! If you’re looking for a fall family activity, picking your own pumpkin from the field is pretty fun! In the fall, when you pay regular admission price, you get to go out to the field and pick your own pumpkin – for free.
Fall is also a great time to enjoy the farm in the cooler weather. Summer in the county can get very hot and humid, so it’s a nice change to enjoy all the farm’s offerings with the cooler temps.
What to eat and where
You’re going to want to spend the day here, so you’ll need to have lunch in that time. I love that I can pack a day’s worth of food, water, and snacks, and not have to worry about tracking down food. There is a HUGE picnic area under shady trees near the front of the farm to sit at to have lunch.
Typically I just leave our lunch in the car so I don’t have to lug it around all day. At lunchtime, I tell the kids to wash their hands, and run to the car to get lunch.
There is a huge trough with water spigots and plenty of soap right in the lunch area, perfect for scrubbing off the collected dirt and animal slobber. Again, this is where I’m amazed at how conveniently set up this place is.
My kids shove some food in their mouth and then run off to play at the nearby tractors, sand pits, and tire areas. I usually take a couple extra minutes to eat and pack up in peace while they’re entertaining themselves nearby.
We always save money by packing a picnic lunch. One time my husband saw a group of people walk in with a box full of Jimmy John’s sandwiches and chips, and he was pretty sure he was sitting with the wrong family! So that would be a great idea for something to grab on your way to the farm.
You can also buy lunch and snacks at the Wagon Wheel, which is in the same area you buy your tickets to get in. They sell all sorts of snacks, chips, hot dogs and other hot items. The prices are very reasonable; I would say they are on the low side of average for a place like this.
Of course, they also sell cold soda, ice cream and candy at the Wagon Wheel! We usually get an ice cream or other treat to enjoy on our way home.
There are two sets of bathrooms at the farm. One is in the front, and the other is near the kitten barn toward the back of the farm. So you’re never too far from the bathroom!
There is always plenty of soap for washing, and step stools for the little ones to be able to climb up and wash their own hands. These are the things you appreciate when you are the lone adult to three or four little kids!
Do I need a stroller?
This is a tough one. The farm is pretty big, but not huge, so a stroller would definitely be convenient. However, Green Meadows is all gravel and grass. We all know how much fun it is(n’t) to push a stroller through gravel all day!
If you have older children, they’ll probably be on the go running to the next activity. I think it would be difficult to keep up while pushing a stroller. If you have a baby carrier, that would work much better here.
I was always a fan of wearing my little one on the front, and having a small backpack with diapers, a water bottle and other necessities on my back. That way you can be close to your baby to watch their reactions to the animals, but hands free to enjoy all the fun the farm has to offer with your other kids!
Places to Breastfeed
If you have a nursling, there are no designated breastfeeding areas at the petting farm. However, there are those benches everywhere, many off to the side in quieter areas so you can easily find a place to sit and nurse. Maybe you’ll even be breastfeeding on a bench next to a horse who is nursing her foal!
Tip: Breastfeed by the goose pond! When my baby was breastfeeding, and my eldest was a toddler, I would sit on the hill near the fenced in goose pond and nurse. This area is set a bit away from the other areas, so my toddler could explore this area while I sat on the ground in the shade and nursed my baby.
Ways to save money on admission
The good ol’ Groupon. The regular admission price of $13.75 includes all of the awesome adventures listed above, but that’s $55 for a family of four.
Check Groupon if you plan to go, you can typically get a four pack of tickets for about $34. If you have a bigger family, you can get a four pack and a two pack, etc.
If you are using a Groupon, you cannot use it within two hours of buying it. We usually buy a couple of Green Meadows Petting Farm Groupons when we see them, so this isn’t an issue for us. But be aware of this rule, it is safest to buy it at least the day before!
You can also buy a season long pass to Green Meadows Petting Farm for $40 a person. This is a great deal, since it is paid for in less than three visits. I know a lot of families that request these for birthday and Christmas gifts, what a great idea to enjoy the gift of animals and the outdoors!
Best age to enjoy the farm
My kids have had a blast here since they were toddlers. Toddlers, preschoolers and elementary aged kids probably enjoy it the most.
With so many hands on and active experiences, kids of all ages will enjoy the animals (especially catching and holding them!). We have brought along young teens and they have also loved the farm. I have yet to hear anyone say they are bored!
This is a perfect place to go for a day of family fun. We also have brought the grandparents with on several occasions. Even they love all the animals, enjoy watching the kids play, and since there is plenty of seating, if they want to sit and take a break they can.
Best time to come to the petting farm
We have been to Green Meadows at times when there are only a handful of other families, and other times it can be quite crowded. Occasionally there is a line to get your admission sticker when the farm opens at 10, so we just avoid that altogether and come around 10:20 and walk right in.
Groupons expire on Labor Day, so in the week or so before Labor Day, the farm seems extra busy to me since a lot of people buy Groupons in early summer and don’t use them right away. The earlier in the season the less crowded, so think June!
I’ve found the least busy time of day to be weekday afternoons. Between 2 and 4 it feels like we have the place to ourselves, so be sure to stay the day to reap this benefit!
It’s important to be aware of the time some things close when you’re planning your day at the petting farm. The pony rides and hay rides end early, and the kittens and small animals have their naptimes, so you need to plan around that. They’ve started handing out a little paper schedule with all these times on it, so be sure to grab that!
Secret activity not to miss
Another reason to stay until later in the afternoon is because you can do the Goat Run! At 3:30 they move the goats from the petting area out to pasture. Your kids can participate in the goat run, which is another “only at Green Meadows” thing to do.
The way they move them is by opening the gate from the petting area, and opening the gate to the pasture – and then getting the heck out of the way! The goats make a beeline for pasture. Kids can run with them, and think this is a blast – I haven’t seen a kid win yet!
One of the farmers recently told us that there are actually many other Green Meadows Petting Farms in the US! The original owners “retired” from the East Troy location and opened a Green Meadows in Kissimmee, FL – we put this location on our list of places to visit! Other locations have been opened by various family members in many other states.
Green Meadows Petting Farm in East Troy is by far one of our favorite places to go for warm weather fun in Southeastern Wisconsin! This is where we take all of our out of town “city folk” guests for a taste of wholesome WI fun! I also bring the kids with friends a few times each season.
The only things we don’t enjoy about Green Meadows is it’s a bit expensive (thank you, Groupon!), and it can get hot on the farm. But pack your sunglasses, plenty of ice water, and your lunch, and you’ll be all set to enjoy a full day of fun with your children. Make sure you allow yourself plenty of time to settle in and explore all of the fun things to do the farm has to offer!
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