On Friday, we visited the Wolcott Mills Farm Learning Center. We’ve gone the last couple of years in the fall, and it’s always a big hit. Wolcott Mills is a Michigan State Park, and it consists of Wolcott Mill (a historic mill), the farm learning center, which is a working farm, and equestrian and hiking trails. I haven’t been to the other areas yet, but I am perfectly happy spending our trip out there on the farm. Because then I get to dream about *someday.* Sigh.
Anyway. The Wolcott Mills Farm is a working dairy farm. The centerpiece of the farm is the dairy barn, complete with milking stalls. You can see the cows being milked, then get a view into the process of what happens between the cow and the grocery store.
Aside from the dairy operation, the farm is also home to a menagerie of typical farm animals. They have sheep.
And a donkey.
As well as goats, geese, ducks, pigs, and, (my daughters’ favorites) HORSES.
They also have a little garden area that they use to explain the idea behind victory gardens. There are several raised beds in which they grow vegetables and herbs. Toward the rear of the garden is a lavender maze (which I can’t believe I didn’t get photos of…) and behind that is a working bee hive.
All of this would be awesome on its own, but since this is a farm LEARNING center, there is plenty of informative signage throughout the farm. These signs tell all about the importance and life cycle of bees:
There are also signs throughout about the different animals and what they provide. This is probably one of the things I love most about the learning center. It makes it very clear what animals provide to us. After they leave here, kids know exactly where their food comes from. I believe that this leads to greater respect for the animals that provide it, and an understanding of why food waste is such a crime.
There is also an indoor classroom and play area, which the kids just loved. We have plenty of farm animal toys at home. Apparently, these were somehow just more awesome.
We had a great time, and the kids learned a lot. If you’re near the Detroit area, you should definitely check out the farm learning center at Wolcott Mills!