The Farm at Walnut Creek
Berlin, OH - Events of Thursday, September 1 to Friday, September 2, 2016
One of the advantages to having Lora, J. Michael and Lydia spending a whole week in the site behind us at Scenic Hills RV Park is we get to see Lydia every day, and we get to do lots of fun things with her. The Farm at Walnut Creek, which is only about 10 minutes away from Scenic Hills, is host to over 500 animals from all over the world including many exotic species as well as more common animals such as horses, goats and cattle. Visitors can hand feed animals from their own cars or from a horse-drawn wagon. Like most kids, Lydia loves animals so we headed to the Farm at Walnut Creek on Thursday.
Admission is $11.75 for adults, $8.75 for seniors and $8.75 for kids ages 2 to 12. Kids under 2 are free. Wagon rides cost $5 for adults and $3 for seniors and kids. We opted to drive through rather than ride the wagon because, although the wagon gets you closer to some of the animals, we decided we would rather go at our own pace. Not only that, but we just missed the 10:00 wagon, and the next one wasn't for almost another hour.
The animals roam free in the drive-through section. The whole area is enclosed by a fence with cattle guards at the gates where the cars enter to prevent the animals from getting out. Shortly after we drove through the gate, numerous deer came right up to the car looking for food. You can buy buckets of food for $3, but we got two buckets for free by liking the farm on Facebook.
A word of warning - if you stick the bucket of food out the window for the animals to eat, many of them have learned how to strip the bucket out of your hands. They will stick their noses into the bucket, and instead of just eating, they will abruptly lower their heads and rip the bucket away from you. Guests are prohibited from getting off the wagon or out of their car for any reason so you can't retrieve the bucket. The best way to feed is by hand, but you need to be careful to keep your palm flat and keep your fingers tucked in so the animals don't accidentally nip you.
Paul found out the hard way about the animals stripping the bucket away when a deer attempted to do just that. Paul managed to hang onto the bucket, but when he jerked it away from the deer, he spilled half the contents of the bucket into the back seat of the car.
Several emus were wandering about in the vicinity of the deer. The emus are tall enough to get their heads into the car. Emus are rather ugly, and having them walk along side us sticking their heads through the windows kind of freaked Lora out. She has a thing about emus - kind of like the fear of spiders or snakes.
As we drove along, we came to an area that had half a dozen llamas, which are also tall enough to get their heads into the car. The good news is Lora was fine with the llamas. The other good news is when the animals have their heads in the car, they can't lower their heads to strip the bucket of feed out of your hand.
One thing you have to be careful about is to not run over any of the animals. The smaller ones are hard to see when they are right in front of the car's grill, especially if you're driving a bigger vehicle; but if you drive slowly and are careful, the smaller animals somehow seem to get out of the way. That's not necessarily true for the larger animals like the Highland cow in the photo below who was right on the road. It never moved. Fortunately, there was enough room to squeeze by.
The farm has several giraffes. Unlike most of the other animals that can wander right up to the cars, the giraffes are separated from the road by a fence. They are one of the species to which visitors can get closer on the wagon ride.
Zebras are another species to which the wagons get closer. The farm has several Grevy's Zebras, also called Imperial Zebras, which is the largest species of zebra. They come from Kenya and Ethiopia.
At the end of the driving tour, there is a parking lot that marks the start of the walking tour. There is a large, Amish-style farmhouse, which is also part of the tour. The main house is on the right in the photo below, and the "grandfather house" is on the left. The Amish don't believe in retirement homes or nursing homes. Instead, they believe in taking care of their own. An addition, or in this case a whole house, is built for the aging parents. The eldest son and his family take over the main house and the parents move into the addition.
The basement of the farmhouse has a large, summer kitchen that is used for canning demonstrations. One wall is lined with jars of pickles, peaches, apple sauce, tomatoes, beans and more.
Upstairs, there is another large kitchen that would be used for everyday cooking and baking. Notice the gas lights hanging from the ceiling. Since Amish homes don't have electricity, many Amish use propane for lighting. LED lighting with its very low electrical usage has also made battery powered lighting popular with the Amish. The batteries are recharged by solar panels during the day.
The farm house also has a large room that is used for quilting demonstrations.
Continuing the walking tour from the farm house, visitors pass more animals.
The walking tour continues through an attractive, terraced garden with a couple of ponds and waterfalls.
Also in the garden area are several cages with exotic birds.
There is also a shelter surrounded by a moat containing a troop of ring-tailed lemurs.
The barn is located at the far end of the terraced garden area. This is where visitors board wagons for the optional wagon ride through the farm. We walked to the barn to have a look around then headed back to the car for the drive back to Scenic Hills.
We all gathered for dinner after Lydia's nap then had a campfire in the evening.
On Friday, we all kind of did our own thing. Lora, J. Michael and Lydia went out to visit a couple of area furniture stores, and we made a quick Walmart run to pick up some groceries. Lora made burrito bowls for all of us for dinner. It was cool enough in the evening for another campfire, but since Lydia is at an age where she really doesn't understand the dangers of a campfire, she is a little difficult to supervise so we opted for some TV instead. PAW Patrol is Lydia's latest, favorite show, and we had recorded several programs earlier.
The Labor Day weekend was just getting started, and we had more activities scheduled. We'll tell you about them in our next post.