Take the whole family for a hands-on animal adventure at Old MacDonald’s Farm in Humble. This farm amusement park has dozens of friendly animals, playgrounds, a swimming pool and a sightseeing train to escort visitors around the entire property.
Completely outdoors, Old MacDonald’s Farm offers families a place to unplug and enjoy farm life. Kiddos can get up close with llamas, goats and rabbits, go for a pony ride or scamper around one of the farm’s multiple play areas. Just one ticket purchase allows access to the entire 15-acre property and all the amenities. Families can bring food and set up their own picnics or purchase food from the park concessions.
The 15-acre farm was founded in 1990 by the husband and wife team Susanne and Donald Wilkerson. The two wanted a place where city kids could enjoy farm animals without visiting a petting zoo. Over the years, the Wilkersons began offering more attractions like a seasonal pumpkin patch and Christmas events. It’s a popular school field trip location and a great place for families who want a place where kids can break away from their screens, enjoy the outdoors and get a little dirty.
“I love the fact that kids can just run around out there, and it has nothing to do with an iPad,” Susanne says. “The parents can let the kids have a little bit of freedom without worrying about them.”
Old MacDonald's Farm is entirely family-operated, and the Wilkerson’s hope to keep it that way for generations to come. Susanne and Don are now semi-retired and have passed the farm down to their adult children, Hayley, Mitchell and Logan, who run the day-to-day operations.
For the Wilkerson children, farm life has always been their life. The three siblings grew up raising animals, riding horses and helping socialize the critters before they moved to the petting zoo. Hayley, the youngest, remembers once caring for a baby flying squirrel and young wallaby that needed to be socialized before entering the petting zoo.
“Those super young animals, you can’t just throw them out in the petting zoo," she says. “We were the ones who grew up teaching them how to interact."
Allowing children to feed and pet the animals is what sets Old MacDonald’s Farm apart from other animal attractions. Kids learn how to be gentle with the animals and what it takes to care for each species. To give the animals the best quality of life, all are allowed to freely roam the property after hours. The animal's comfort and happiness really comes first, Susanne says, and kids can learn from that.
“Kids can learn to be kind to animals, slow down and think about how everybody’s different," she says. "But they’re all living together. Everybody’s happy.”