16 Petting Zoos & Animal Experiences in the Seattle Area

The Seattle area is brimming with delightful petting zoos and family farms that offer hands-on experiences with a variety of animals. These destinations provide wonderful opportunities for children to engage with domestic farm animals like sheep, goats, cows, and more. Spring and summer make these outings particularly special, allowing families to create memorable experiences with animals and nature.

Fun Family Animal Experiences Around Seattle

With a range of locations from spacious farm parks to indoor petting areas, there is something to fit every interest and schedule. Many of these places also host special holiday events, making them perfect destinations for seasonal fun. Check their websites for specific hours and event information before planning your visit to ensure a smooth and enjoyable trip.

Before we dive in, please familiarize yourself with some of the do’s and don’ts when interacting with animals. More tips are provided at the end of this article.

Do’sDon’ts
Approach slowlyRun or shout
Speak softlyPull on fur or feathers
Respect signs of discomfortIgnore body language
Wash handsTouch animals without asking
Petting Zoo Etiquette

Family Farm at Woodland Park Zoo, Phinney Ridge

The Family Farm at Woodland Park Zoo offers children a unique chance to interact with domestic farm animals. Children can pet friendly goats in the Contact Area. This experience provides a hands-on way to learn about these gentle creatures.

Other animals at the Family Farm include sheep, cows, donkeys, bunnies, and chickens. These areas are supervised to ensure a safe and enjoyable experience for visitors.

The toddler-geared, farmer-inspired play area adds an extra element of fun. It’s a perfect spot for young children to play and explore.

Woodland Park Zoo’s Family Farm is open daily, and the activities are included with zoo admission. This makes it an excellent addition to your zoo visit. Families can visit any time during these hours to enjoy the farm.

Pasado’s Safe Haven, Sultan

Pasado’s Safe Haven, situated in the Cascade Mountains’ foothills, offers an immersive animal sanctuary experience on an 85-acre property. This sanctuary was established in memory of Pasado, a donkey who suffered neglect, and is dedicated to rescuing abandoned and mistreated animals.

Visitors can enjoy guided tours that highlight the sanctuary’s mission and provide opportunities to meet and interact with various animals. The sanctuary’s ambassadors include donkeys, goats, sheep, chickens, cows, and even dogs. Each tour shares the unique rescue stories behind these animals, enhancing the experience.

Guests get the opportunity to feed, pet, and observe animals in their natural habitats. Pasado’s Safe Haven also offers programs for those looking to support their cause further. Donations and animal sponsorships are available, and sponsors receive updates about their sponsored animals.

Advance registration is required to visit, and the address is only provided after purchasing a ticket.

Debbie Dolittle’s Indoor Petting Zoo, Tacoma

Debbie Dolittle’s Indoor Petting Zoo, located in Tacoma, provides a unique way to interact with a range of animals, even when it’s raining outside. This zoo specializes in miniature animals and ensures a fun outing for families with young children.

Visitors can expect to see a variety of animals, including wallabies, rabbits, cockatiels, and budgies. There are also miniature pigs, dwarf goats, mini horses, and plenty of baby animals to delight the kids.

Animal encounters are available on the outdoor farm, where children can ride ponies or donkeys. Notably, the indoor setting means no need to worry about unpredictable weather, and the environment is designed to be interactive and engaging for children.

Activities such as pony rides add an extra layer of excitement to the visit. Debbie Dolittle’s Indoor Petting Zoo offers a wonderful opportunity to introduce children to animals in a comfortable and accessible setting.

The Red Barn Farm, Redmond

The Red Barn Farm offers an engaging experience for families with a wide range of activities and animals. Nestled in Redmond, this charming farm features opportunities to cuddle goats, feed bunnies, and interact with miniature horses. It provides an educational yet fun outing for children and adults alike.

Visitors can explore the historic barn, learning about its restoration while enjoying the rustic setting. The farm store sells fresh eggs from over 150 chickens, as well as local honey, dried flowers, and unique farm memorabilia.

Seasonal events like egg hunts, tulip festivals, and fall activities are highlights, drawing crowds eager to participate. The farm is not only a place to engage with animals but also a community hub for special occasions and learning experiences.

To avoid disappointment, it is advisable to book visits online, as slots fill up quickly, especially during peak seasons.

Kelsey Creek Farm Park, Bellevue

Kelsey Creek Farm Park, located in the heart of Bellevue, offers visitors a glimpse into old-fashioned country life on a working farm from the 1930s, making it a great destination for families.

Visitors can meet a variety of animals, including pigs, goats, cows, horses, sheep, bunnies, and chickens. During the spring, younger visitors might be delighted by the sight of piglets, calves, and baby goats running around.

The park features more than just animals. Kids can enjoy playing in an oversized sandbox, while families can explore the scenic nature trails.

Cascade Rose Alpacas, Carnation

Located just a short 45-minute drive from Seattle, Cascade Rose Alpacas is the region’s largest alpaca farm. The family-owned and operated farm provides an opportunity to meet their 60 delightful and fluffy alpacas. Visitors can take a break from city life and enjoy a hands-on experience with these gentle creatures.

The farm is a great destination for families and offers a unique way to learn about alpacas. Guests can shop for a wide array of high-quality and unique alpaca products. The store features items made directly from the farm’s alpacas, including yarns, woven rugs, and felted goods such as boot insoles and dryer balls. Additionally, it offers fair-trade products sourced from Peru.

Cascade Rose Alpacas also hosts special events like their Mother’s Day celebration, where visitors can enjoy the farm atmosphere and shop for exclusive gifts. The farm’s mission focuses on making the alpaca lifestyle accessible to families, promoting international alpaca culture within the community.

The shop at Cascade Rose Alpacas is packed with a diverse selection of items, perfect for gifts or personal enjoyment. From wine cozies to laptop covers, shoppers are sure to find something special. The seasonal inventory ensures there’s always something new to discover.

Flower World, Snohomish

Flower World in Snohomish is more than a haven for plant lovers. It offers a delightful escape into nature, blending sprawling gardens with a charming petting zoo.

The 15-acre space is filled with colorful blooms, fruit trees, and veggie starts. Visitors can stroll through beautifully landscaped paths and discover various animals along the way.

Don’t be surprised if you spot a turtle in one of the nursery ponds. Flower World is home to sheep, goats, chickens, and peacocks. Baby lambs also add to the farm’s appeal.

After exploring, head over to the Maltby Produce Market for locally grown fruits, fresh eggs, and tasty snacks. This makes for a perfect picnic break or a treat to take home.

Sammamish Animal Sanctuary, Renton

Sammamish Animal Sanctuary offers a delightful opportunity to connect with a variety of rescue animals. Open from Tuesday to Sunday, the sanctuary welcomes visitors with pre-arranged reservations. Visitors should note that Mondays are reserved for field trips. Parking is limited, so it’s essential to book a spot for each group of 4-5 people.

Upon arrival, guests can purchase treat buckets for feeding the animals. This helps support the sanctuary and ensures the food is safe and healthy for the animals. Visitors are asked not to bring outside food for the animals, respecting their dietary needs and safety.

Donations are encouraged as the sanctuary operates as a non-profit organization. This allows everyone to explore and enjoy the sanctuary without an entrance fee. Generosity from visitors is vital for the upkeep and care of the animals residing there.

The sanctuary emphasizes the well-being of its animals. These creatures have been rescued from harsh conditions and now live at the sanctuary to recover and thrive. Visitors are reminded to maintain a calm environment, avoiding loud noises and disruptive behavior.

Accessibility is a priority, with the facility being mostly flat and accommodating both wheelchairs and strollers. Guests can spend two hours exploring the sanctuary, and it’s important to cancel reservations in advance if plans change.

Contact Kathi Flynn for further details. Enjoy a peaceful visit while learning about the importance of animal rescue and care at Sammamish Animal Sanctuary.

Farrel-McWhirter Farm, Redmond

Farrel-McWhirter Farm, located in Redmond, WA, is a beloved destination for families and animal enthusiasts alike. This farm offers a variety of interactive experiences with a range of animals, including goats, sheep, pigs, and horses.

The farm is set in a picturesque park setting with well-maintained trails and picnic areas. Visitors can enjoy leisurely walks while observing the animals in their natural habitats. The farm also provides educational programs for children and adults, making it an enjoyable learning experience.

One of the highlights of Farrel-McWhirter Farm is the pony rides for children, which are available on weekends. These rides offer a safe and enjoyable way for kids to interact with horses under the supervision of experienced staff.

The farm hosts several seasonal events, such as Easter egg hunts and autumn harvest festivals, which attract many visitors. These events often include additional activities like hayrides, crafts, and games, enhancing the overall experience.

Farrel-McWhirter Farm is managed by the City of Redmond, ensuring that it remains a well-maintained and welcoming facility for all visitors. The farm’s staff is knowledgeable and passionate about animal care, providing a high-quality experience for guests.

Accessibility is key at this location, with ample parking and facilities designed to accommodate all visitors. The farm continues to be a popular choice for those looking to enjoy a peaceful day among friendly farm animals.

Neko Cat Cafe, Capitol Hill

Neko Cat Cafe serves as a perfect retreat for cat lovers in the Seattle area. This sanctuary allows visitors to relax with rescue cats while enjoying a comfortable and welcoming atmosphere. The cafe’s mission focuses on providing much-needed care and companionship for cats awaiting their forever homes.

Founded by Caitlin, who was inspired by her time in Japan and Vietnam, Neko Cat Cafe combines her love for cats with extensive experience in the restaurant industry. She created a unique space where people can unwind, enjoy a drink, and interact with the resident cats.

The cafe works closely with local shelters to house cats in need of adoption. Guests might find themselves falling in love with a furry friend, and adoptions are encouraged. Visitors can make reservations to ensure a spot to enjoy quality time with these delightful animals.

Whether you’re looking for a fun outing with friends or a tranquil place to decompress, Neko Cat Cafe offers a unique experience. The inviting environment and the playful presence of cats make it a popular destination for both locals and tourists.

Animal Encounters, Issaquah

Animal Encounters is driven by a mission to foster a deep appreciation for wildlife and the natural world through memorable and educational experiences. They offer a variety of interactive programs and events designed to engage audiences of all ages, providing unique opportunities to learn about and connect with various animal species.

Emphasizing a hands-on approach, the organization aims to inspire a sense of wonder and responsibility towards the environment and its inhabitants. With a team of knowledgeable and enthusiastic professionals, Animal Encounters ensures that each visitor gains a greater understanding of the importance of wildlife conservation.

Additionally, they collaborate with schools, community organizations, and private groups to deliver customized educational experiences, promoting sustainable practices and a love for animals.

The Farm at Swan’s Trail, Snohomish

The Farm at Swan’s Trail offers an engaging petting zoo experience where visitors can interact with various farm animals. The inviting environment includes diverse animals like mini zebus, goats, lambs, pigs, and rabbits. These friendly animals are approachable and provide a wonderful hands-on opportunity for all ages.

Safety and respect are prioritized; children must be supervised, and visitors are asked not to feed the animals or climb on pens and fences. The farm maintains a tranquil atmosphere, encouraging quiet voices and gentle interactions.

Visitors also enjoy unique farm shows, such as Farmer Ben’s 4 Little Pigs Show, which brings the story of the Three Little Pigs to life with an interesting twist. Another highlight is the live duck races, where fast-paced action generates excitement as attendees root for their favorite ducks.

Throughout the year, the farm also features special guest animals, adding to the diversity and appeal of the experience. Regular handwashing after petting the animals is advised to maintain hygiene for all.

The Farm at Swan’s Trail not only provides an educational experience but also ensures that every visit is filled with memorable and interactive encounters.

Seattle Meowtripolitan, Fremont

Seattle Meowtripolitan offers a unique blend of relaxation and feline companionship. Located in Seattle, this cat café partners with Regional Animal Services of King County to house cats in their cozy lounge. Their mission is to find nurturing homes for each cat.

Visitors can enjoy a coffee while interacting with adoptable cats in a calm environment. The cat lounge creates an opportunity to build connections, with the hope of inspiring adoptions. Each visit aims to leave guests with a deeper appreciation for feline friends.

Purchases from their online store support this mission. A portion of every sale is donated to shelters and rescues, enhancing cat care. This approach aims to benefit cats not just in Seattle but across the country.

Maris Farms, Buckley

Maris Farms in Buckley, Washington, offers a variety of events and activities throughout the year. One of the highlights is the Baby Animals and Blooms Days in May, where visitors can experience the charm of new life on the farm.

In August, the Sunflower Days event allows guests to wander through picturesque sunflower fields. This is a perfect time for family photos and enjoying the vibrant scenery.

During the fall, Maris Farms transforms into a festive destination with Fall Fest running from late September to late October. This period is packed with seasonal activities including a pumpkin patch and corn maze.

For thrill-seekers, the Haunted Woods provides spooky entertainment on select weekends in October. This attraction is not included in the regular pass, so separate admission is required.

Kids will especially enjoy the various farm animals and the opportunities for hands-on interactions. The farm also showcases wool spinning demonstrations, showcasing the wool from their sheep.

Maris Farms offers specific passes such as the Flowers & Fall Seasons Pass, which covers entry to both Sunflower Days and Fall Fest but not the Haunted Woods. Visitors should note that children aged 2 or under get free admission.

Remember to check the farm’s calendar for up-to-date event schedules and operating hours.

Craven Farm, Snohomish

Craven Farm, located in the picturesque Snohomish Valley, is a must-visit for anyone looking for family-friendly activities. Known for its original pumpkin patch, the farm has been a staple for fall fun since 1983.

From September through October, visitors can enjoy pumpkin picking, navigating corn mazes, and trying their hand at apple cannons. The farm offers more than just pumpkins; it features jump pads, axe throwing, and fire pit rentals as well.

Alongside its fall attractions, Craven Farm serves as a premier wedding and event venue, operating from May through August. The venue includes indoor and outdoor spaces, ideal for creating lasting memories at any special occasion.

Additionally, throughout the year, Craven Farm hosts a variety of events, including makers markets, sunflower festivals, and themed date nights. There are also rental options for barns and party rooms, perfect for birthdays and corporate gatherings.

For those interested in educational experiences, the farm offers field trips and summer camps, providing children with hands-on learning opportunities in an outdoor setting. This makes Craven Farm a versatile destination for both fun and education.

Seattle Aquarium Petting Pool, Waterfront

Seattle Aquarium’s Petting Pool offers an interactive way to engage with marine life. This hands-on exhibit is designed to let visitors get up close with tide pool creatures.

Guests can touch starfish, sea urchins, anemones, and more. It provides a unique opportunity to learn about the textures and behaviors of these remarkable animals.

The Petting Pool is maintained to ensure the health and safety of the animals. Knowledgeable staff are available to answer questions and provide information.

Perfect for all ages, the Petting Pool encourages curiosity and a deeper appreciation of marine ecosystems.

It’s a must-visit for families looking to educate their children about marine life in an immersive way.

Considerations When Looking for an Animal Experience

When seeking out the best animal experience, it’s crucial to prioritize factors such as animal welfare, interactive exhibits, and the safety and cleanliness of the facility. These considerations ensure a fulfilling and responsible visit.

Animal Welfare Standards

Animal welfare should be the highest priority. It’s vital to choose facilities that demonstrate a commitment to the ethical treatment of animals. Look for certifications like the Association of Zoos & Aquariums (AZA) accreditation, which guarantees high standards of care.

Pay attention to the animals’ living conditions. Enclosures should be spacious and enriched with activities to promote physical and mental stimulation. Staff knowledge about animal care is also essential, indicating comprehensive and ongoing training programs.

Research visitor reviews and testimonies to gauge the facility’s reputation regarding animal treatment. It’s beneficial to visit during feeding or handling sessions to observe how animals are treated directly.

Interactive Exhibits

Interactive exhibits enhance the educational value of a visit. Many petting zoos offer up-close experiences, letting visitors feed or touch animals. These opportunities should be well-organized to ensure both visitor and animal comfort.

Check if the facility offers guided tours or educational programs. Hands-on learning experiences can foster deeper appreciation and understanding. Interactive exhibits should have clear boundaries and protocols to safeguard both visitors and animals from undue stress or harm.

Evaluate the availability of qualified staff during these interactions. Their presence is crucial to ensuring the safety and quality of the experience. Additionally, interactive areas should have sufficient space to avoid crowding, allowing a pleasant experience for everyone.

Safety and Cleanliness

Safety and cleanliness are non-negotiable when visiting an animal experience. Facilities must maintain high standards of hygiene to protect both visitors and animals. Look for regular cleaning schedules and well-maintained areas.

Pathways and interaction zones should be free from hazards. Handwashing stations should be plentiful and equipped with soap and water. It’s a sign of a facility’s commitment to public health.

Inspect the condition of the animals. Healthy animals reflect a clean environment and proper care. Staff should be vigilant in guiding and correcting visitor behavior that might pose risks, ensuring a safe and enjoyable visit for all.

Familiarizing Your Family With Proper Animal Etiquette

Teaching proper animal etiquette is essential before visiting a petting zoo. It ensures a safe and enjoyable experience for both visitors and animals.

1. Approach Gently: Always move slowly and calmly around animals. Sudden movements can startle them.

2. Use Soft Voices: Speaking softly can prevent scaring the animals. Loud noises can cause distress.

3. Respect Personal Space: Not all animals appreciate being touched. Observe an animal’s body language.

  • Signs of discomfort:
    • Ears back
    • Raised fur
    • Moving away

4. Hand Washing: Wash hands before and after touching animals to prevent the spread of germs.

5. Feeding Rules: Follow the zoo’s guidelines for feeding animals. Use designated feeding areas and provided food.

6. Adult Supervision: Children should always be supervised to ensure they adhere to the etiquette.

7. Education: Teach children about the importance of treating animals with kindness and respect.

By following these simple rules, families can enjoy a wonderful and safe visit to any petting zoo.

About the author

My name is April, and I’m a Seattle-based writer, traveler, and foodie. I started this travel guide blog to share my passion for Seattle with fellow travelers and locals alike.

Whether you’re looking for the best coffee shops, the trendiest restaurants, or the most scenic hiking trails, I’ve got you covered.

When I’m not writing or exploring Seattle, you can find me watching movies with my husband, reading, or gardening with my dog in the backyard.

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