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My daughter is turning 12 in May and of all the things she's done for her birthday, what she truly loved was when she was 7 and got to go to Deer Hill Ranch in Lafayette. It no longer exists but was a much, much smaller version of Slide Ranch. She wants to go with 3-4 friends and do the same kinds of things: tour the farm, collect chicken eggs, hold a chicken and/or baby chick, pet or milk a goat, card wool, etc. Very basic stuff. Slide Ranch doesn't really work for her late May birthday - the Spring Fling would be perfect but it's a month too early. Anyone aware of other locations that might offer this? Thanks! Laurie
If you do a farm tour, the kids can all go into the buildings with a guide, pet the animals, etc. But you should plan CAREFULLY. Farm tour cost $X for 1-15 people (counting adults AND children), and $XX for 16-30 people. I had a bit of a dilemma because I wasn't sure until the last moment who would bring siblings, or which parents would come, so I booked for 30 people and only ended up needing the booking for 15. It gets expensive that way, so you should specify who is invited on the tour and save major $$. Probably easier w/ 12-yr-olds, who arent' generally going to parties w/ siblings or parents. The farm tour is pretty cool. You could also go on one of the days that they have cow milking (also expensive) or cheesemaking, or plan way ahead and do a sleepover there (very hard to get spaces though).
You can also skip the farm tour and just go on the not- behind-the-scenes tour, which is fun but not quite as fun. Also, decide in advance if you want to book a picnic area. For a small group, you can just grab a picnic table that's not reserved, or hang out near the visitor center. Have fun! Janet
There's also a mobile petting zoo called 'Tickle Me' - I've seen them at several fairs, festivals, and birthday parties. They're wonderful, and they bring the critters to you http://www.ponyparty.com/
The Little Farm in Tilden doesn't seem to have that many animals, so it's not my favorite attraction in the park. I think they've discontinued the Tilden pony rides. (Although the carousel is still going strong) Alana
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