Come one, come all the creature loving kiddos to Brookhollow's Barnyard!
About an hour outside Manhattan (Boonton, NJ) lies a super cute family-run animal feeding farm -- a veritable outdoor play zone for you and your mini.
Brookhollow's is perfect for kids who like to roam and parents who want to wander and relax a bit while their kids play. Yes, I said relax...you can totally do that here, trust me. The abundance of seating positioned all over the Barnyard is not lost on me. Over the last few months, Shep and I have been to Brookhollow's 3 times. Daddy came along once and Baby Hart was there in my belly AND again 8 weeks after he was born! Keep reading to see why everyone loves life down on the farm...
This place is honestly so much more than a petting zoo. Admission is $5/person and kids under 2 are FREE! I mean come on, (pardon me while I sound like an old fogey) but in this day and age of overpriced play spaces this is quite the fabulous welcoming perk for an outdoor, all day adventure with so many activities included in the admission.
Additional prices vary for certain farm attractions (tractor ride, choo choo ride, animal feed) but are only a few dollars when it's all said and done. **Also note, bathrooms are port-o-John style which didn't bother Shep and I but if your little one is newly learning to "go" maybe bring your own portable potty with you.**
Upon arrival, your kiddo can choose their animal feed bucket color -- Sheppie chose green one time/yellow on another occasion, and one time we didn't even buy our own feed because like I said, it's way more than just a petting zoo. However, you should know there are like a rainbow of bucket colors to choose from and you could collect them all so this bucket color choice is a big deal for a 3 year old, ok?!
First up, feeding the animals with our bucket full of carrots. There are old fashioned Radio Flyer pedal bikes and wagons set throughout the farm space so you can hop on board one of those along your journey.
We checked out Farmer Tina's gaggle of goats...snorted like a stinky pig...clucked with the chicks...race along with the rabbits! Good times were had by all! Shep loved feeding the "baby" goats. *Safety first...make sure your littles feed the animals on the shovel they are given as to not get any nibbles on their hands.**
Next we spent hours...and I mean HOURS in the two sand pits. One is filled with a major amount of dump trucks and the other is equipped with sand toys.
Those of your with truck obsessed minis know that I am not exaggerating when I say we were there for forevs. It's cool though, there are adirondack chairs for those waiting on the sidelines, so Hart and I plopped ourselves down and chilled while Shep and his friends went to town taking turns with sand toys and major ride-on mega trucks. Take your pick o' fun things to do in the sand...literally.
After the animals were well fed and we had played in the sand it was time for lunch. **Food is BYO which works for me. Tons of picnic tables around to eat in the sun or shade whatever floats your boat.**
Up next Farmer TIna (Barnyard's owner) took us on a ride through the outskirts of the farm. We saw horses, the corn maze, pumpkin patch and christmas tree areas. Then it was time to chugga chugg on the choo choo. Shep was tall enough to ride himself but asked me to hop on. I gladly obliged.
Brookhollow's is filled with mini wooden cabins each serving up kids a different play experience with a variety activities inside -- train tracks, play kitchens, farm toys. Naturally, Shep's favorite was the corn kernal house. I mean just look at it...a nice switch from sand to corn but smartly equipped with more trucks!
This family-run farm seriously DOES IT ALL! When it comes to playing outside and getting down and dirty with the farm animals, Farmer Tina and her staff are fixin' to show you a good time.
This brings me to the fact that I didn't tell Farmer TIna I was going to write this blog but once I started chatting with her, (or rather, she with me), she spoke about being a mom (3 times over) and how she switched from an executive career to being a stay-at-home mom and then went on to to run the family business -- and wouldn't ya know it, that's what struck a chord with me.
I mean I'm all for a good farm day but her story spoke to me. I left the force field that is the NYC fashion industry and became a NJ mom. My story still feels crazy to me but 'Allegra on the Farm' oddly fits in with my #currentvibe. I'm glad and proud and happy and humbled to be where I am so when I saw this sign at the farm I had to snap a pic with my littles.
...I LOVE YOU...
to the moon and back, millions and millions, a bushel and a peck, higher than the sky.
Thanks for reminding me Farmer Tina.
**Brookhollow's Barnyard hours vary but I find FB is the best bet for keeping up on what Farmer Tina is up to. I even messaged her a few times through FB and she messaged me right back...two thumbs up for personal and attentive service! Tell her Allegra sent ya.
Hours: Tues, Wed, Fri 9:30-2:30; Thurs 9:30-6:30; Sat/Sun 10-5 Thru Oct 31.