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The Best Petting Zoos for Little Ones

3 January 2023

With so many great opportunities for little ones to get up close and personal with animals, it’s been tough to narrow it down.

But here are a few of what we think are the most interesting petting zoos.

Puffin Croft, Scotland

Described as the most Northerly petting farm, Puffin Croft in the Scottish Highlands has had fabulous reviews from happy visitors.

Although small, the farm was created with love and showered with praise for the excellent care given to its animals. Their happy, friendly animals are always looking for a carrot and a scratch!

Look out for goats, donkeys, pigs, rabbits, and Shetland ponies.

Cotswold Farm Park, Cotswolds

Probably one of the best-known farms in the UK, farmer Adam Henson makes a regular appearance on BBC's ‘Countryfile.’ Early in the year, visit the Animal Barn to see the new arrivals: lambs, piglets, foals, and kids. If you’re very lucky, you may see a lamb being born! Once lambing is over, help out with bottle feeding the young lambs.

In the Discovery Barn, you will find the smaller animals. Learn all about rabbits, ducklings, chicks, guinea pigs, and more!

Huckleberry Woods, Kent

If your children are nervous about the bigger, bolder farm animals, head down to Huckleberry Woods near Faversham. You will find a peaceful, rustic farm devoted entirely to micro animals! Yes, you heard right, micro-animals; your regular farmyard friends in miniature.

Mingle in the paddocks with free-range micro-pigs, miniature donkeys, Teddy Bear sheep, etc. You can even pre-book a walking experience for an extra charge — the perfect experience for tiny ones.

Tiny Steps Petting Farm, Lincolnshire

After seeing the positive effect animals had on their disabled daughter and foster children, Tracey and David Hall set up Tiny Steps Petting Farm. The farm now enables an intimate experience with all their animals, including wallabies, goats, donkeys, chickens, etc.

An entertaining feature of Tiny Steps is the Goat Trekking, 15 minutes of frolics walking a goat and completing the agility course along the way. Full instruction will be given! (Extra cost involved).

Down at the Farm, Houghton Le Spring

Head to Down at the Farm in the Sunderland countryside and groom some donkeys, or perhaps you’d prefer to bottle feed lambs? Take a look at the newly hatched chicks, the rabbits, and the guinea pigs. Besides the animals, there are outdoor play areas (so wrap up warm), picnic areas, a cafe, and quiet areas for chilling.

Special Mentions -

Fairytale Farm, Oxfordshire - mixing Fairytales with animals and designed with disabilities in mind, Fairytale Farm is a sensory and learning wonderland.

Miniature Pony Centre, Devon - The centre features an extensive range of ‘up-close-and-personal’ experiences with your new equine friends, including talks, grooming, riding, own-a-pony days, AND its very own Dartmoor Unicorn!

Jimmy’s Farm and Wildlife Park, Suffolk - Jimmy Doherty, farmer, and TV presenter, created a fantastic park offering lots of hands-on experiences with Anteaters, Camels, Tapirs, and more. Age restrictions apply—Book in advance.

Photo by Stephen Mease on Unsplash

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