by Leslie P
If you love animals and are looking for a real adventure, we have found just the place for you. Less than an hour away, you will find Dutch Creek Farm Animal Park in Shipshewana, Indiana. We recently took our kids (ages five and three) and had an exciting day!
The animal farm is run by an Amish family who greets you warmly and explains how everything is run as soon as you pull in to pay. They will take your name down, give you a name tag and a wait time for your wagon ride. We went on a very busy Saturday and were told our wait time would be an hour and a half.
Even though the wait time was long, there were plenty of other activities to do while we waited. First, we stopped at the gift shop and purchased carrots and cereal to feed the petting zoo animals. Each bag costs $1.00. In the petting zoo area we fed goats, deer, sheep, a baby camel, mini horse, baby alpaca and more. My daughter loved holding the rabbits and baby ducks. We also saw many exotic birds, fish, a tortoise, porcupine and even fed spider monkeys through a tube.
One of my kids’ favorite areas was the large goat pen. Kids can enter and leave it via slide in between visiting the goats. There is also a hand-washing station near this area, which we utilized often in between feeding and petting all of the animals.
You can enter the pens of most of the animals (be sure to read the signs) and they are all very friendly. Other activities that we took advantage of was a horse-drawn barrel train ride for $1.00 per child and a pony ride for $5.00 per child. Credit cards are accepted for admission, but you will want to bring cash for the feed, train ride and pony rides, if you plan to purchase those.
After we visited the petting zoo area, we stopped at our car for some water and a quick snack, then it was time for our wagon ride!
Once everyone loads into the horse-drawn wagon, you each receive a large bowl of feed for the animals. As soon as you enter the gates, you are immediately greeted by donkeys and ostriches that start to follow the wagon, eating out of your bowls. You will also get a glimpse of the largest pigs I have ever seen.
During the approximately 40-minute adventure, you will see and be able to feed so many unique animals that many of us have only seen in books. Some of our personal favorites were zebras, camels, long horns, huge elk and buffalo. There are also steer, alpacas, yaks, deer, a brahma bull with the biggest tongue and even a zorse (zebra-horse) and ze-donk (zebra-donkey). Feeding these amazing creatures by hand is truly a unique experience. This is one adventure that we plan to take annually!
Tips For Parents
- The wagon ride is open to any age, at your discretion.
- Your first bowl of feed on the wagon is covered by your admission cost, however, you can purchase an additional bowl for $2.00.
- Bringing your own food to feed the animals is not allowed.
- You are allowed to bring your own picnic lunches/snacks, however, they do not sell any food for people, only water.
- There is an outdoor picnic space available for you to use.
- Credit cards are accepted for entrance to the farm, but you will need cash for animal feed, gift shop items, barrel train ride and pony rides.
- Wear clothes and shoes that you don’t mind getting a little dirty and dusty.
- Wash your hands frequently in between feeding the animals.
- Parking is very close to where the petting zoo and wagon loading area is.
- Bathrooms are port-o-johns.
6255 North 1000 West
Shipshewana, IN 46565
Unofficial Facebook Page
Monday – Saturday: 9:00 am to 4:30 pm
Open May through Mid-October
Children (3-12): $8.95
Seniors (65+): $11.50
Under 3: Free
Group rates and field trips are available.