Last week when the kids had a break from school, we headed to Brookhollow’s Barnyard to take in the outdoor fun and explore this local hidden gem. Located in nearby Boonton, Brookhollow’s is a working farm with activities, animals, pumpkins, tractor rides a corn maze and more.
Petting Farm and more
Brookhollow’s features a petting farm with ponies, goats, alpacas, chicken, peacocks, bunnies among other small farm animals. This small petting farm keeps us entertained for hours. Farm guests can feed carrots that are available for purchase. I love that the vegetables for the animals come in a rainbow-array of buckets, which are available for purchase. It’s important to note, as identified throughout the farm, that all animals should be fed with the small shovels provided with the buckets. The animals get nibbly, so, to be safe, it’s best to feed them with shovels. The giggles and conversations that ensue when the kids feed the animals are priceless!
Little Barns and Playspaces Galore
Another feature of Brookhollow’s are the countless areas for open-ended play for the kids. The farm has several small barn areas filled with toys that can keep toddlers and preschoolers engaged for quite a while.
The train barn, kitchen barn and corn pit barn are definitely my Kindergartener’s favorite areas. There are multiple sand boxes with plenty of dump trucks, buckets and various toys for kids of all ages to enjoy. We found these spots to fill up quickly, but were still able to enjoy the fun toys for a few minutes at a time. My older son even enjoyed the ride-on toys in and around the sand boxes.
New this season, Brookhollow’s has two new wooden play structures that are perfect for kids of all ages. The wooden bulldozer and fire truck structures are filled with nooks, crannies, swings and ladders for everyone to enjoy.
Per Brookhollow’s Barnyard, it’s recommended that 6 kids at a time enjoy the structure. I love when the older and younger kids engage with one another on these playsets. On the day we visited, we met a young boy who wanted to play with my kids, but was almost too afraid. After speaking to his grandmother, we learned that the boy is on the spectrum and is working on his social skills.
This became the perfect opportunity for my speech delayed Kindergartener to engage with the boy. Before long, we had a fun emergency response team going with all the kids laughing together. When provided with fun tools, imagination goes a long way!
Brookhollow’s also has a corn maze this year. Designed to be in the shape of the Brookhollow’s Barnyard, this cool feature looked like a great adventure for older kids and families. It looked like a big maze, so I imagine it would take a bit to explore.
A visit to the barnyard wouldn’t be complete without a tractor ride around the property. We enjoyed a ride in a cart pulled by a tractor that went around the perimeter of the farm.
We were lucky to have one of the farmers drive the tractor that day, and she stopped several times to share a lesson and engage with the kids. We stopped to learn about milkweed and talk about the life cycle of the Monarch Butterfly. It was definitely cool to see a few butterflies and learn how the life cycle progresses on the Milkweed!
Something we spotted that was closed during our visit was a corn shooting/paintball area. We learned that it’s open on the weekends, but here are some details from the site: Zombie Paintball Hayrides: From the safety of your seat on our specially fitted 20 gun hayride, shoot at fixed targets, skeletons and pop up zombies. New 2017 Pricing: $12 for 200 paintballs with the option to buy another 150 paintball for $10. Ride time is about 15 minutes but come early for refreshments, photos with real Zombies and scare time. This ride is best suited for the ‘tween crowd, but all ages can participate.
I can’t wait to go back for this one! How fun!
If the kids are into train rides, the farm also has a small ride-on cow-themed train. For an added fee, kids could take a few laps around a small area on the train. My guy loves the train, so we could definitely do this several times if it was up to him.
Picnicking at the Farm
Brookhollow’s Barnyard does not sell food or drinks, but they have several picnic tables around the property. Every time we visit, we enjoy packing a picnic and snacks. It’s also important to note that the bathrooms are Port-o-Johns, in case you or your kids might have aversions (like one of mine does.)
Brookhollow’s Barnyard is a wonderful way to spend outdoors with the family. Its smaller size and many play spaces makes it a perfect outing for babies, toddlers and preschoolers. There’s plenty for older kids to enjoy: the tractor rides, play structures, animals and corn maze. What I love most about Brookhollow’s is that it’s still a hidden gem and isn’t overcrowded like a lot of the other farms in the area. It’s an affordable day out with the family and a fun way to take in the outdoors in nearby Boonton!
301 Rockaway Valley Road
Boonton Township, NJ 07005