Thursday, July 31, 2014

The Farm at Walnut Creek

As you have probably noticed from previous posts, we LOVE Rolling Ridge Animal Park. It's a place in Millersburg, owned by an Amish family, where you can take a wagon ride through their wooded property and come face to face with hundreds of animals who are just waiting to be hand fed.

A while back, a friend of mine put out a Facebook comment asking for feedback on Rolling Ridge and a few other animal parks. One of those was The Farm at Walnut Creek.  It is just a few miles from Rolling Ridge, in the same Amish country area of Ohio, but I had never heard of it.  I googled it, and from their website it appeared to be much the same as Rolling Ridge in terms of wildlife, but they also had a beautiful, working farm to tour. Aunt Sandy came for a visit this week and we decided to check it out to see how it compared.

Very picturesque.  This is the view of the farm from about the middle of the wagon ride.
We arrived a little later than we planned so we missed the 10:00 wagon, so we started our visit by walking around the front of the farm.  

We were immediately greeted, quite loudly, by the braying mammoth donkeys.
Fun fact of the day: sheep do not say baa.  At least not these sheep.
They made mooing sounds that I would have mistaken for cow
noises if they had not been standing right in front of me.

One of our next greeters was this beautiful bird.
We heard about free cookies in the kitchen, so we headed up the hill to the house.

A beautiful covered bridge passes over the pond.  They had a nice collection of geese, ducks, and swans.

We took off on the 11:00 wagon, and straight out of the gate, we were greeted by hungry tongues.

Sandy thought they were rather slobbery.

Ellie seemed to like feeding the deer best. Slightly less intimidating,
and she just dropped the feed on the ground for them.

And we were followed as we continued along the trail.

An elk named Randy.  He had a bloody nose.  Presumably from getting into
 a fight with one of the other elk boys over a girl.  He left a big trail
of snot across my back, then proceeded to eat most of a bucket of feed.

These short little cattle were just the right height for easy feeding. 

At one point in the tour, we saw an excavator near a huge mound of earth.  (This was probably Tommy's favorite sighting.) I assumed they were building a ridge to separate parts of the trail, but I was wrong.  The huge mound is actually the manure that they collect and then compost to feed their flower beds.  It thankfully was not at all stinky, because it served as a shelter for many of the animals.

We were not allowed to feed the zebras. Unlike the cattle breeds, they have both
upper and lower teeth, making feeding them a liability issue for the farm.
A very shaggy llama in need of a trim.
A big highlight of the wagon tour was feeding the giraffes.
They were kept in a separate enclosure from the other animals.

Majestic, but so large it was difficult to get a good picture of the whole animal!
After the wagon tour, we resumed our walking tour among the gardens and animals. 

Unlikely friends.  Peacock and tortoise.

The porcupine sort of stayed to himself.

Tommy and Ellie were offered a pony wagon ride by this young man.
They totally FREAKED OUT as it pulled away without mama.
Very, very short ride!

Very lovely landscaping throughout.
Lots of uses for that huge compost pile.
Tommy and Ellie spent quite a bit of time feeding this hungry little guy.

They had beautiful fishes in the pond. Guess they wanted to keep them that way.
Several attempted escapes by this young lady.
She is becoming quite independent.
Headed back up to the big house to sneak another cookie.
They loved these little rockers.  Ellie threw a huge temper tantrum when
she walked around the corner and another child dared to sit in her chair.

My judgement would be that the wagon ride at Rolling Ridge outperformed the one at Walnut Creek by a decent margin.  A wider variety of their animals, including the zebras, came up to the wagon to be fed.  They don't have giraffes, but Rolling Ridge's camel, Humphrey, could not be beat.  Their drivers actually went off course a few times to get you to the more reluctant animals.  And although we had perfect 70 degree weather for our late July trek through the woods at Walnut Creek, I would think I would prefer the shade of a covered wagon if the heat surpassed 80 or so.

But the overall beauty and setting of Walnut Creek came off the winner by a landslide in my book.  The farm was beautifully maintained, with incredibly lovely landscaping bordering the walk-around enclosures.  Although you couldn't feed their animals carrots, we had lots of leftover feed from the wagon ride to share with the other animals.  There was more to explore, and we had a great time doing it.  They are a complete working farm, so in addition to the animals, you can visit their blacksmith shop (we skipped this one, but heard the clanging of the metal), watch them milk the cows, or visit the farmhouse, where they'll give you a free cookie in the kitchen.  They have a lovely living room filled with comfy rockers if you want to sit a spell, and a quilting frame was set up so you could check out the small, even stitches of the Amish ladies. 

And they had nice clean bathrooms, with running water.  Definitely beat out the Port-o-lets at Rolling Ridge with that one!  I saw that Walnut Creek also has sleigh rides available.  I think I can guarantee that we will be taking one of those rides later this year.

What big excursion would be complete without ice cream?  We promised that we would stop for a treat on the way home, but the kids fell asleep before we found a good spot, so we just enjoyed the quiet drive home and then went to Yoder's Red Barn in Ashland.

We made a stop around the corner at the Tot Lot in Brookside Park.

Aunt Sandy tried unsuccessfully to get Ellie to crawl through the climbing tube.

Sandy and Tommy enjoying a tandem swing.

My beautiful Eliana.


  1. What a fun day! I'll have to try this with some of the Grandkiddos...of course you kind of lost me with the "snot on the back" comment! But a freebie cookie might make me feel better! Ha! Thanks for the info! Love the house and gardens!

  2. Looks like you had fun! :) I love your photos. I have been to both parks as well. Thanks for your honest review.

  3. That looks so beautiful! They have like every animal known to man there! It sounds so fun, and a little gross, too. haha! My favorite pick is of the twins eating ice cream. I love the ice cream on Ellie's face and I love Tommy's smile.

  4. Great review! I feel like I have been there from your terrifi descriptions!


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