Petting Zoos Within Driving Distance of Evansville, IN
Fall is officially here and aside from pumpkin picking, spooky shenanigans, and overdosing on pumpkin spice lattes, one of my favorite activities this time of year is visiting petting zoos. And it turns out we have plenty to choose from around the tri-state!
Lover of ALL Animals
Anyone who knows me knows that I prefer animals over people most days. I tell my boyfriend all of the time that when we retire, I want a little plot of land with some cows, goats, pigs, chickens, and a whole lot of dogs. A girl can dream, right?
Sadly, since I can't have my own farm anytime soon, I guess I will settle for enjoying other people's animals, which means frequenting petting zoos and farms is pretty common for us. Luckily, I don't have to drive far to pet all the animals I can fit into a day.
From elephants to highland cattle to Clydesdales and a coatimundi, the tristate offers a wide variety of petting zoos that can be visited in a short day trip. Next thing you know, you'll be making your own list of animals to have on your own dream farm like me.
Have you ever enjoyed a spa day with an elephant or cuddled a sloth? If not, Wilstem Wildlife Park is definitely a one-of-a-kind experience. I visited the park last summer for an elephant experience where we received tons of information about elephants and were treated to plenty of time to touch and feed a ginormous elephant. The park offers so many unique encounters with elephants, giraffes, sloths, and even grizzly bears. When you aren't attending one of their many experiences, you can check out the petting zoo with even more animals. Located in Paoli, IN, Wilstem also offers drive-thru safaris, a light show, and even lodging options in beautiful cabins.
Trunnel's Farm Market
A local favorite just outside of Owensboro, KY, Trunnel's Farm Market is full of fun activities for people of all ages, including a barnyard animal petting zoo. The Fall season is one of the best times of the year to catch all of the seasonal attractions as well as visit the goats, pigs, and cutest calf you will ever see.
Scales Lake Park
Many people visit Scales Lake in Boonville, IN for its large public beach, campground, and trails. But, they also have a pretty cool petting farm that is completely free with admission to the park. When visiting a few years ago, I was excited to see the little farm full of miniature horses, a very social donkey, a peacock that liked to show off, and more.
For 68 years, Grant's Farm has become a beloved attraction in my hometown of St. Louis, MO. Only a couple of hours away from the tristate, this experience is completely free. Yep, you read that right. Visitors can see more than 900 animals including the famed Anheuser-Busch Clydesdales. A bonus perk is that this family-owned establishment is full of history! If you visit in October, you can catch their Fall Fest and Halloween Nights events.
Kentucky Down Under Adventure Zoo
Get a little taste of Australia by visiting Kentucky Down Under. Not only can visitors feed farm animals in the petting zoo, but they also can get up close and personal with the kangaroos and emus that roam freely. Aside from the animal experiences, guests can also explore the gem mining exhibit and Mammoth Onyx Cave.
Big Joel's Safari Petting Zoo & Educational Park
With over 500 animals including 60 different species, Big Joel's Safari Petting Zoo has a ton of variety to offer its guests. Just a few hours' drive to Missouri, visitors can easily spend the day on this 15-acre enclosure. From lemurs to lynxes, and sloths to snakes, there are so many animals to see here. During the Fall and Holiday seasons, you can even catch the Spooky Safari and Winter Wonderland.
Aikman Wildlife Adventure
Aikman Wildlife Adventure, located in Arcola, IL, is home to over 200 animals. Guests can choose from walk-thru or drive-thru options to see 70 different species of animals. From zebras to Highland cows, there are so many animals to see. As the only drive-thru wildlife park in Illinois, you don't want to miss out. The park also features a prehistoric museum with realistic replicas of dinosaurs and mammals.
Tucked away in Shelbyville, KY is Gallrein Farms. This family-owned farm loves to show children the importance of farming and agriculture. Visitors can feed the animals while learning how they benefit the farm. There is even a large pond of fish to feed. The Gallrein family boasts the petting zoo as one of their main attractions, but they also offer other great experiences throughout the spring, summer, and fall including fresh seasonal produce.
Dutch Country Safari Park
If you're already taking a trip to check out Kentucky Down Under, you should definitely add this next Horse Cave, KY petting zoo to your travel plans. Dutch Country Safari Park is mostly a drive-thru animal park with tons of opportunities for close-up encounters. Have you ever seen a white-nosed coatimundi? If not, they have that and many other animals including an adorable hedgehog, kangaroos, and zebras. Besides, what's not fun about saying "I pet a coatimundi!"
Rainbow Ranch Petting Zoo
Located in Nashville, IL, Rainbow Ranch is a 170-year-old farm with exotic animals that is also family-owned. Visitors can enjoy a personal tour with the ranch's owner and see a variety of animals including exotic animals such as a zebra, a "zedonk," and miniature zebu. From April to October 31st, the ranch is open for tours and events from Wednesday to Sunday. In November and December, they are open every weekend. Their collection of over 200 animals is well worth the 2-hour drive from the tristate.