Baby's First Summer: Petting Zoos and Farms!

baby petting donkey
Baby Shnook petting a donkey

With summer coming just around the bend, you may be wondering: What kinds of activities you can do with your new baby? One of the greatest gifts to new parents in summertime is a farm with a petting zoo, or one in your local zoo. This little donkey was just dying for a little pat on the head from baby Shnook. I know neither of them look so thrilled here, but we spent a lot of time at this place in the last two summers, and Shnook still talks about the animals. He can’t wait to get back there in a few months.

Babies love to look at and touch all the animals and if your baby can say a few words, chances are he’ll be able to eek out a “moo’ or a ‘baaaah’ for you to catch on video. Or maybe your baby speaks sign language and can sign some of the animal names!?

You’d be surprised how much time you can spend watching a goat get milked, patting some baby bunnies and chasing chickens. Petting zoos often let you feed the animals, too, which some babies are really keen to do, but even if yours isn’t, they will love to watch you have some pellets nibbled out of your hand.

Also, our local petting zoo in Vermont had some young calves that got a bottlefeeding twice a day. If we got there at the right time, we could help or watch the baby cows while they drank their bottles.

So get thee to a petting zoo this summer! But, do yourself a favor and stay clear of the goats, unless they are babies and are totally supervised by an employee of the farm or zoo. You don’t want your baby in the path of an angry goat. Bring plenty of antibacterial wipes too and make sure you wipe your and your baby’s hands right after touching the animals to prevent him from getting any germs in his mouth.

Oh, and be aware that Old MacDonald Had A Farm might become a regular song in your repertoire immediately following this excursion. Ee-I-Ee-I-Oh..