This ol’ barn: meet the barnyard critters

Make friends with farm animals in the Mountain State.

Get in touch— literally— with farm animals at these 6 popular attractions. You and your family will fall in love with goats, pigs, sheep, cows and a few exotic creatures, too!

Here are our favorite barns:

1. Sam’s Barnyard Animals and Petting Zoo, Davis

How many times have you seen cows? Now, how many times have you actually greeted one? At Sam’s, you can pet gentle calves, llamas, goats, fuzzy fowl and, yes, even a dog. But shaggy Scottish highland cattle and miniature horses also join the show.

2. Barnyard Babies, Canaan Valley

If smaller animals make you melt inside, stop by this commercial ranch. The rabbits, goats and fowl enjoy meeting visitors, especially since they know people come with food. In fact, you can buy a cup filled with treats— the perfect ice breaker at any gathering.

Larger animals, like a llama and a pig, also live at Barnyard Babies. If you want to combine your trip with a trail ride, then you’ll also see some horses.

If you have time, you and your kids can try spelunking, too. Barnyard Babies has an Adventure Cave that’s stocked with buried fossils and minerals. You’ll all wear a hard hat and use a mining lamp, bucket and shovel. Will the kids find anything in the sand? Finders, keepers!

Barnyard Babies also has gemstone “mining” for older kids. Pick up a bag or 2 of mining rough from the gift shop and try your luck. Sluice your swag and see what you have! Just grab a pan and let running water wash your treasure. Maybe you’ll even get an arrowhead or fossils.

Guest feeds a pot-bellied pig at petting zoo, West Virginia

3. Chloe’s Farm Friends Pet & Play, Shenandoah Junction

This new petting zoo in Jefferson County has a surprising assortment of animals. You can meet reliable favorites like rabbits, geese, chickens and llamas, but gorgeous birds and fat potbellied pigs really steal the show.

Jade, a striking male peacock, is the barnyard star. He flaunts his magnificent tail to animals and people alike, so bring a camera. But a white— or leucistic— male peacock is pretty striking, too.

Around the barnyard, you’ll also see adorable piglets, a fat grey cat and a handsome paint horse. Meet ‘em on weekends or make an appointment for a weekday visit!

4. PIGS Animal Sanctuary, Shepherdstown

While not really a petting zoo per se, this pig-centric place does have tours and all kinds of animals. Just make a Saturday reservation before heading to Shepherdstown.

PIGS rescues abused and neglected critters and helps them recover on acres of rolling countryside. You’ll probably see lots of potbellied pigs, but other creatures have snuck in, too, like dogs, cats, horses, goats, donkeys and more.

A cow greets the camera, West Virginia

5. WVU Farm, Morgantown

Ever wanted to visit a working farm? Come to family days at WVU’s agricultural center, which opens seasonally for special family days. You can ask students and staff questions about advanced agricultural techniques or— best of all— pet the animals.

Chickens, sheep, pigs, cows, turkeys and grouse are the most common critters you’ll see at WVU Farm. Some original bits of the 1895 farm are still visible, and more than 930 acres roll pleasantly in the background.

6. Byrnside Branch Farm, Union

This fall-season farm is the real deal. For one thing, you and your kids can go on tractor tours, walk through corn and hay mazes, and pick a Halloween gourd from the pumpkin patch. Later, help feed the animals! Byrnside Branch’s miniature horses, fuzzy sheep, lop-eared rabbits and other critters will be happy to see you at feeding time.

Which petting zoo is on the top of your list?

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This post was last updated on October 18, 2017