Looking for something new to do in the Garden State? Try visiting New Jersey’s farm and animal sanctuaries! A trip to one of these spots is a great way to spend the day with your family, friends or could even be the perfect date!
Since New Jersey is the Garden State, it shouldn’t be at all surprising that we are also home to numerous animal farms, sanctuaries and wildlife preserves.
Bluebird Farm: Peapack, NJ
Sunday late in the morning, just as Bluebird Farm was opening, I got to meet at least a dozen of the sweetest alpacas!
Before I got the chance to meet these friendly guys, I walked around the shop to see (with my hands, of course) the different type of products the family makes with the alpaca fur. Before I went outside, the family told me more about alpacas in general and the personalities of a few of the alpacas I was going to meet.
Now that they’ve built a big enough hype, I got to go out and meet these guys! And let me tell you, I loved it. The alpacas are sweet and extremely soft; way softer than I expected! I loved petting them on their furry soft backs while they ate food pellets from my hand. One even licked my shoulder which was equally surprising as it was funny.
Just a little heads up, give Bluebird Farm a call or check out their website before you go because visiting days are only available certain times of the month.
Skylands Sanctuary: Wantage, NJ
Have you heard about the pregnant cow, Brianna, that escaped the transport truck taking her to slaughter on Route 80? Well when I saw that story, I wanted to meet this courageous cow in person! So, I hopped in my car and drove all the way to the top of New Jersey to meet her, her baby and other rescued farm animals at Skylands Sanctuary.
Before my tour around the farm started, I got the chance to hang out with a bunch of chickens and ducks. Some of the chickens slowly creeped up on me (probably looking for food) and just hung out while I snapped some pictures of them. Other chickens were brave enough to eat watermelon scraps right from other people’s hands. And then there were two timid ducks that were inseparable from one another! One would walk forward a few steps, then the other would walk forward a few steps. One would take a drink of water and the other would too.
During the tour, I got to meet other chickens, goats, sheep, an attention loving turkey, pigs, cows and some more cows! Along the way our guides told us the stories of how these happy animals were saved, rescued and ultimately became part of their family on the farm.
Meeting the cows was my favorite part of the tour. I always had a sweet spot for cows because one of my dogs (Luna, the Boston Terrier) looks just like them. I watched them graze the grass, listened to them rip it from the ground and just enjoyed watching the cows do cow things. One even got super friendly and started licking my hand non-stop. And if you never felt a cows tongue before just know it’s ticklish!
Tours are available on Saturday and Sunday 11am – 2pm.
Tamerlaine Sanctuary & Preserve: Montague, NJ
Meet farm animals of all kinds like pigs, cows, chickens, horses and more at Tamerlaine Sanctuary. Just like us, humans, animals have their own individual personalities so meet and bond with each one at Tamerlaine Sanctuary.
But farm animals aren’t the only ones that call this spot home. As part of their conservation efforts Tamerlaine Sanctuary also works to create a habitat for native plants and pollinators to thrive.
And if after your tour you’ve decided to become vegan, try attending one of their vegan cooking classes!
WoodsEdge Farm: Stockton
This beautiful farm nestled into the hills of Stockton may be one of my favorite places to talk to the animals. In the textile business since 1976, they have been breeding alpacas and llamas and producing high quality fiber for years. In addition to the alpacas and llamas they also have Tibetan yaks.
Throughout the year they host various special events. We attended a Shearing Day Open House and it was great fun. I’m currently stalking the website for Lunch with Llamas Day 2023, soon to be announced. Here’s the link to see what’s happening at the farm.
Goats of Anarchy: Annandale
This animal rescue is all about the goats. They are dedicated to the rescue and rehabilitation of goats. Their mission is also to promote veganism. In addition to the 155 goat residents, they also have; horses, cows, turkeys, sheep, ducks, cats and dogs for a total of about 250 animals.
They are currently still not open for visitors due to Covid, but check the website for volunteer opportunities and for visits to resume. Be sure to visit their website and meet Wolfie, and some of the other residents. Their website is so well done you feel like you know the goats personally.
Antler Ridge Wildlife Sanctuary: Newton
Antler Ridge Wildlife Sanctuary is a licensed non-profit rehabilitation center funded exclusively by grants and donations. They are 100% volunteer-run as well. They provide round-the-clock care for injured wildlife 7 days a week.
During the year they host numerous fundraising events at the Sanctuary. The best way to find out about visiting is to check their Facebook Page for upcoming events. They are seasonal, open April – October so be sure to check before visiting.
Readington River Buffalo Farm: Readington
I absolutely love buffalo. After a trip to Custer Park in South Dakota I fell in love with these massive, soft-eyed beauties. Visiting this farm is always a conflict for me. It’s a working buffalo farm – make no mistake – these are buffalo being farmed as livestock. But the opportunity to get so close to these beautiful animals, and to see calves in the Spring, is kind of hard to come by in New Jersey so I take my buffalo where I find them.
The Doyle family currently has about 60 buffalo in their herd. Every Spring they have an Open House when the calves are born. The farm store sells buffalo products every weekend. The best way to see if a special event is happening is to check their Facebook Page.
Under My Wing Avian Refuge: Wantage
This is a refuge where sick, injured, physically and emotionally challenged birds can live in peace. They are not fostered out; they care for on-premises. A large part of their mission is also the education of bird owners. They offer lots of classes to help educate bird owners. The best way to learn about the classes and to arrange a visit is to check on their website.
The Barnyard Sanctuary: Blairstown
On a mission to rescue, rehabilitate and rehome farm animals, this non-profit in Blairstown is a welcome sanctuary for injured and abused farm animals. In just 8 years, they have already saved over 3,000 animals. They currently house about 700 animals but are looking to expand to a new property that will enable them to save even more farm animals. To visit before they have completed the move, it is best to check their website.
Humor Me Farm: Newfoundland
This is a quiet little gem of a farm. They have organic fruits, flowers, and vegetables, along with a small herd of alpacas. In addition, they also raise English and French Angora rabbits. They have a store, and they offer Group Visits on their Facebook Page. Check also for the monthly Open House events they host.
Abma’s Farm: Wyckoff
This is an old-time Garden Center established in the 1920s. It has everything; flowers, plants, produce, and – a petting zoo! The zoo has sheep, alpacas, ponies, bunnies, pigs, and more. They also feature a goat walk, duck pond, and Bunnyville. They charge a nominal amount for the petting zoo, and it’s billed as open all year. Check the website for special events.
Hidden Brook Ranch: Blairstown
This is a small alpaca farm at the base of Jenny Jump State Park. They have a shop that sells alpaca yarn and products, open by appointment. However, the best part of this alpaca farm might be booking an overnight stay either camping or in your RV. Check their website for dates and availability. Maybe I’ll see you there?
Whispering Pines Alpaca Farm: Stockton
Their stated mission is to provide educational information to children and adults through personalized farm visits to inspire them to promote mindfulness and a sustainable ecosystem. To this end, they offer tours by appointment to visit and meet the alpacas. They also have a store that can be accessed from their website.
The Oasis Animal Sanctuary: Franklinville, NJ
The Oasis Animal Sanctuary offers special events throughout the year from open houses where you can tour the farm and meet the animals to enjoying a stress-free goat yoga session!
Funny Farm Rescue: Mays Landing, NJ
Visit Funny Farm Rescue to see unwanted farm animals — you may meet your newest animal friend! Visiting hours here are Tuesdays and Sundays from 8am – 4pm.
Rancho Relaxo: Woodstown, NJ
Meet Britney Spears! — the rescued pony, that is. You can learn about the animals living on the ranch on their website. If you want to meet the animals in person, email the sanctuary to ask for the following available visiting dates.
Freedom Farm: Cedarville, NJ
Freedom Farm is working towards becoming open to the public but does have perks for those who help support their mission. Patrons who pledge $100 a month receive a private tour of the farm with five family members and/or friends.
Lots of Love Farm Animal Sanctuary and Petting Zoo: Williamstown
This farm has something for everyone. They offer a Petting Zoo with a variety of farm animals. They also are a horse rescue. In addition, riding lessons are offered in both the English and Western styles. Check their Facebook Page to see when they are open for visitors, as it seems to vary with the weather for the safety of the animals.
Allaire Community Farm: Wall
This is a seasonal farm, open from April through October. It is also a farm with a mission. Their purpose is to utilize rescued farm animals and have them interact with special needs children, teens, and adults. Kids with cancer, Veterans with PTSD, and teens with mental health issues can participate in programs like equine therapy and organic gardening. The farm is a non-profit and raises funds to help support these families facing hardship.
They have a petting zoo and also offer horseback riding lessons. You can also book a private party at this farm. A lot is going on, and you want to visit their website to see the different things you can do while visiting.
Edel Haus Farm: Wall
This property in Wall has been farmland for almost a century. In 2010 it was converted into an alpaca farm. They are open all year round and offer farm tours, including alpaca feeding. There’s also a store where alpaca yarn and other products can be purchased. Alpaca fiber is supposed to be three times warmer than regular wool. Visit the website to meet the herd.
Mercer County Wildlife Rescue Center: Titusville
This is a non-profit wildlife rescue run by Mercer County. Sick and injured wildlife can be evaluated and evaluated by appointment. The center is open seven days a week, all year round, to care for the animals. They have an outdoor education area with animals that have been treated but can no longer survive in the wild on their own. The area includes a bald eagle, several varieties of owls, and several raptors. Check the website for current hours to visit as they change seasonally.
Jersey Shore Alpacas: Cape May
This is a small private alpaca farm. Their stated mission is agritourism and the health and happiness of their alpacas. They currently have about 15 in the herd. The farm store sells alpaca fiber and Peruvian gifts. Visiting is greatly encouraged during the holidays; they even have memorable holiday shoots. Please note all visits are made by appointment via their website.
Marty’s Place Senior Dog Sanctuary: Upper Freehold Township
This place is dear to my heart. They are a place where senior dogs can live out their remaining years in love and comfort. The dogs at Marty’s Place have surrendered for various heart-wrenching reasons. This sanctuary has the feel of a comfortable Living Room where the dogs are given the love and care senior dogs require. Although not open to the general public, their website offers many volunteer opportunities. They also have an October Open House Howl-O-Ween celebration, which is a perfect way to come to the sanctuary and meet the residents. Check the website for other special events during the year as well.
Windy Acres Alpaca Farm: Chesterfield
This private alpaca farm has been in business since 1999. The tours, which should be booked via their website, are a lot of fun. They offer an opportunity to feed and mingle with the alpacas. This is one of my favorite farms to visit for precisely that reason. They even offer classes for other alpaca farmers. There are several open house dates offered during the year as well. Check their FaceBook Page for Alpaca Open House Days.
Arrow Acres Farm: Wall
This beautiful family-run farm offers free weekend tours and alpaca meet and greets. They also have a large, busy farm store. The store includes alpaca yarn and many alpaca fiber gifts, from hats to scarves to gloves. They even offer knitting classes for those wanting to learn. This is a multi-generational farm, and it has a beautiful family feel. Visitors feel a part of the family too here. Check the Facebook Page for current events.
Stormwind Alpaca Farm: Columbus
Stormwind was my very first alpaca farm visit. There’s always something extraordinary about the first, isn’t there? They began this small private farm in 1997, one of the original alpaca pioneers in New Jersey. Ingrid is very knowledgeable about alpacas and happy to share her knowledge on the tours. She has even published books on the care and breeding of alpacas. They have a nice farm store with wool, alpaca products, and local honey. Go to the website to arrange a visit; you will learn so much.
I can’t wait until this spot starts allowing visitors! But in the meantime, you and I will have to visit the farm virtually by following their Instagram and Patreon. You’ll for sure get your daily dose of cuteness there.
These animal sanctuaries and farms will help you escape the hustle and bustle of New Jersey. So, take your time wandering these spots, learning about the animals, listening to their stories, and making unforgettable memories in the Garden State.