Making Friends, One Animal at a Time

When you grow up in the country working a farm, you sometimes take for granted the life you know is what everyone knows. Watch someone who has never been up close with a horse, goat, cow or other farm animal do so for the first time and you are quickly reminded of just how special those moments can be. 

Luckily, Farm Country provides you with numerous chances to spend days getting close enough to not just see animals, but to engage with them in so many unforgettable ways.

Lucas at Mountain Rose Farm
Lucas at Mountain Rose Farm

“Mud Creek Bison Ranch in Savona is pretty spectacular . . .”
— Alexandra Baackes, Alex in Wanderland

DAY 1

ZiegenVine Homestead 
8469 Oak Hill Road
Savona, NY 14879

Stand on the hill overlooking the beautiful valley at sunset and you get it. Being one with the land, slowing down long enough to take it all in, you can feel yourself filling again, replenishing with calmness. That’s what it’s like at ZiegenVine Homestead. Goat yoga (don’t let the word “yoga” frighten you, this is equal parts gentle poses and fur-snuggling), goat-milk soap, and an abundance of serenity. You can even spend the night in their cabin for a more full farm experience. Such a cool place. 

Goat Yoga sessions last 45-60 minutes and are led by a certified yoga instructor. The goats are friendly, playful, and full of personality which makes for unforgettable fun. 

ZiegenVine Homestead Goat Yoga
ZiegenVine Homestead Goat Yoga courtesy Delaney Moore

Painted Bar Stables
4093 Lake Street
Burdett, NY 14818

Whether you’re looking to board your own horse, take lessons, or enjoy one of the guided trail rides, Painted Bar is passionate about sharing equestrian experiences. Carefully selecting its herd ranging from ponies to draft horses, the farm offers safe horseback adventures for riders of all ages and abilities. With week-long camps for children, teens and adults of all levels, distance riding classes and endurance riding bootcamp, Painted Bar is ready to make you into a life-long horse-lover, too.

Farmland Animal Park 
940 Wyncoop Creek Road
Chemung, NY 14825

If you’ve never been on a farm and what you want most is to simply be among the animals, this 18-acre family farm in a peaceful country setting provides numerous chances to do just that. Of course, if you want more, they’ve got more (like horse and pony rides). Enjoy a paddle boat ride on the big pond or explore the farm. Interact with chickens, ducks, pigs (animals you’d expect to find) and a few surprises, like a beautiful peacock. Open daily from 8am until dark. 

Heavenly Sunset 
1134-1166 County Rt 99
Woodhull, NY 14898

Alpacas for days. Adorable, at times quirky, and unlike any animal you have probably ever been around, Heavenly Sunset is home to over three dozen friendly alpacas that enjoy personal interaction. While there, you might also encounter other animals including Great Pyrenees, the gentle giant guard dogs that keep the livestock safe. Browse the farm shop for an assortment of soft fiber products. Looking for your own alpaca? Each member of the herd is bred from exceptional bloodlines. 

Heavenly Sunset Farm Alpaca
Alpaca at Heavenly Sunset Farm

DAY 2

Mountain Rose Horse Farm 
7417 Velie Rd
Savona, NY 14879

A scenic 10-minute drive from Hammondsport and Keuka Lake will take you to a place offering the chance to experience authentic country living without having to do all the farm chores yourself. Explore Mountain Rose Farm on a tranquil hour-long horseback ride and get a sense for just how calm country quiet can be. With horses selected to ensure a fun, safe ride for all experience levels. And don’t be surprised when you fall in love with the farm’s official greater, a playful goat named Lucas. 

Mountain Rose Farm Horseback Ride
Guided Horseback Ride courtesy Mountain Rose Farm

Mud Creek Bison Ranch 
6130 Robie Rd.
Savona, NY 14879

Just down the road a bit, they’ve got bison. Don’t worry, they haven’t started bison yoga yet. Lol. Enjoy Mud Creek’s driving tour to get a closer look at these massive creatures. Of course, you might see babies and even albino bison in the herd. In addition to the seasonal tours, Mud Creek has special events and a Bistro where you can treat your tastebuds to a variety of lean, bison menu items like shredded bison quesadillas, pulled bison sandwich, bison burgers, and more. 

Shepherds Creek 
5797 Stilwell Rd
Trumansburg, NY 14886

This small family farm offers limited farm visits (at 10:30am on days when they’re available). You must call ahead to schedule a tour where you can learn about the alpacas, hand-feed them, feel their soft fleece, and take pictures. In the farm store, you’ll find hand-made accessories, yarn and roving from the farm’s own alpaca fleece, as well as commercially-made sweaters, socks, hats, alpaca dolls, teddy bears and other items. With award-winning show alpacas, breeding services, and alpaca sales. You can even board your alpacas at Shepherds Creek

DAY 3

Sunset View Creamery
4970 County Road 14
Odessa, NY 14869

Cow Cuddling! That’s right! Sunset View might be best known for its wonderful raw artisan cheeses, but the farm has been gaining popularity in recent years thanks to cow cuddling. A one of a kind, hands-on experience that consists of hugging, resting against, and hanging out with some of the farm’s friendly bovine beauties. Talk about great photo ops and memorable agricultural opportunities. You could say this is one moooooving experience. 

Sunset View Creamery Cow Cuddling
Sunset View Creamery Cow Cuddling

Close-Knit Alpacas
4526 Olmstead Road Moon Ivy Hill
Woodhull, NY 14898

A working alpaca farm where you can enjoy alpacas and other farm animals, wooded trails, meadows, picnic tables and a farm store with locally-made products including raw and processed alpaca fiber and finished alpaca goods for sale. They also sell alpacas if you’re in the market.

Spotted Duck Creamery 
999 St Rt 54
Penn Yan, NY 14527

Featuring recipes inspired by the bountiful Finger Lakes region, Spotted Duck crafts rich, creamy, decadent ice cream that was named “the #1 Dessert in New York State” by Yelp! With a commitment to serving healthy, delicious food using fresh, local, seasonal, ingredients and no artificial flavors, additives, or stabilizers, Spotted Duck employs its own duck farmer for the best quality not-so-secret ingredient. View an assortment of fowl while you enjoy delicious frozen custard for a unique multi-sensory farm country experience.

Spotted Duck Creamery Ancona ducks
Ancona Ducks courtesy Spotted Duck Creamery

More Alpaca Fun

Visit Stoney Acres in Canisteo where you can get your fill of personality with the ever-popular and almost-famous Baleigh and the rest of the herd. Or out at Autumn Mist in Prattsburgh where you’ll find alpacas and a seasonal petting zoo featuring bunnies, goats, sheep, pigs, mini-donkeys, horses and more. 

Did Someone Say, Rodeo?

Looking for a unique experience? How about a rodeo? Originally built to help beginners interested in learning rodeo activities, Reese Ranch strives to make participants feel comfortable in all types of rodeo events ranging from bulls to horses. Throughout the summer, the ranch offers family-friendly rodeo events filled with western fun and where spectator participation is encouraged. One of the region’s only rodeo venues. 

Reese Ranch Rodeo
Reese Ranch Rodeo

Turn a Farm Stay Into an Animal Adventure

Bluebird Trail Farm keeps finding ways to connect visitors with authentic farm life through a variety of fun events and its CSA, but also with educational farm tours that combine learning with different levels of interaction. For a much more personal farm experience, enjoy a farm stay and sign up for one of the farm tours which include a chance to visit with, feed and pet the farm animals, but you can also encounter and learn about honeybees, wildflowers, vegetables, and more.

Several other farms offer overnight accommodations which provide a unique glimpse into farm life and an opportunity to enjoy the peacefulness of the countryside.

Equine Services and Petting Zoos

Several local farms like Gale’s Equine, Wolfden Farm, MK2 Farm, Omni Equine Center and others offer riding lessons, horse training, boarding and sales, while a number of other farms, like Ebony Rose Farm, have petting zoos and animal encounters available. While Evermore Farms opens itself up to the public one weekend a month during summer and fall for special themed events that include animal interactions. 

Lambs at Evermore Farms
Lambs Relaxing courtesy Evermore Farms

Rescued Animals

Spend some time with the over 150 rescued animals at this this farm sanctuary for a fresh perspective on the relationship between people and animals. Dedicated to creating a more compassionate and sustainable planet, Sweet Farm is a place for second chances. 

Paco the Llama at Sweet Farm
Paco the Llama courtesy Delaney Moore

SOME THINGS TO CONSIDER WHEN VISITING WITH FARM ANIMALS: Although the above animal interactions are generally safe and fun for the whole family, it is important to remember that many farm animals are not pets and, as such, might not react the same with everyone they encounter. So be sure to follow instructions, ask before you pet, avoid moving in ways that could seem aggressive or threatening, and remember that animals react instinctively, so they can’t usually tell if you’re “just joking.”

Please Note: Farming isn’t just a livelihood, it’s a lifestyle. When you visit these small family-owned farms you’re often stepping foot into the heart of people’s lives. Please be respectful and also remember that these are working farms, so be aware of your surroundings to ensure a safe experience for you, other guests of the farm, and the farmers. 

Thank you for supporting our local farms!

Learn about other Finger Lakes Farm Country experiences at FingerLakesFarmCountry.com/experiences

Autumn Mist Alpaca Farm
Alpacas courtesy Autumn Mist Alpaca Farm

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