Farm Stays & Visits

Archived Q&A and Reviews



Farm apprenticeships/internships for 20-y-o?

April 2009

My 20-year-old nephew is passionate about plants and is interested in working and living on a farm for a year or more. Has anyone done this before? Do you know anyone who is looking for apprentice workers, or have any particular farms to recommend that he might contact? Thanks for any suggestions! lori

Your nephew sounds like the perfect candidate for WWOOF'ing (World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms). The organization WWOOF-USA connects farms with willing apprentices all over the country. Check it out Kelly

I don't know if they still are doing this, but the Farm project at UC Santa Cruz has apprenticeships, is a wonderful place to be. Look them up in google. I have friends who did it and loved it.

Place for toddler to milk a cow?

Feb 2009

Does anyone know a place where my three year old daughter can milk a live cow, or watch it being done? She's curious about it. Thanks. Amy

I'm pretty sure you could watch a cow being milked at Ardenwood Farm ( or Tilden Little Farm ( Both locations let kids help with farm chores like feeding, but I don't know about milking. Farmer's Daughter

Perhaps you could find out if they ever regularly milk the cows at Tilden's Little Farm. You could call the Tilden education center (near little farm) and maybe they could help you: 510-525-2233 Andi

It's a long drive...but well worth it. Hidden Villa in Los Altos, has classes that my son and I both enjoyed...Cow Wow and Go Goats. We got to milk each animal! farmer mom

Don't know how far you want to travel, but if you go to Picnic Day in Davis (4/18), your child can milk a cow. Maybe a goat too. We've been taking our kids there since they were born and there is plenty of stuff to occupy then for the whole day. Just bring your own drinks as the lines can be long and the drinks like $3 for a bottle of water. I've milked a cow

Definitely check out The Little Farm & Ardenwood for watching a demo. You might also check out Slide Ranch Family Days for goat milking opportunities. I know it's not a cow, but it's a pretty similar concept and the folks at Slide Ranch do a great job of helping the little kids get a good feel for the milking. Plus, a goat is a better scale for an up-close animal experience. We took our daughter last year when she was three and she loved it. --happy milking!

Farm Vacation Stay

April 2006

Would appreciate suggestions about farms that provide families with the opportunity to learn about the farming. We (two adults and three children) would like to ''work'' on a farm (preferably in Northern California) for a few days to a week this summer. Greatly appreciate any information. BJF

You should check out and if either of those are of interest to you. Also check out which is the sonoma county farm association's'll give you way more info about ALL kinds of farms and ranches up here than I could possibly think of. Good luck.
Proud Petaluman

This may not be exactly what you are looking for but you may be able to call these two organizations to get some recommendations. I highly recommend coming to the Central Coast area. I know of one farm/ranch stay at the Work Family Ranch, check out their website at, outside of San Miguel near Paso Robles, CA (off Highway 101). My children go to school with two of the Work children and they seem a wonderful family. Also check out the website which is an organization to advertize agricultural adventures on the Central Coast. It is so beautiful here in San Luis Obispo County. We're only a 3 hour drive from Berkeley. quetzal4

Plantation Farm Camp is a summer camp on a working farm located in northern Sonoma county and it sounds like what you are looking for. Besides its children's sessions, it has a family camp which would provide you and your family the opportunity to live and work on the farm for four days. During your stay, you have the chance to work in an organic garden, and care for the horses and livestock including cows, pigs, sheep, and goats. The website is My husband and I run the camp and are happy to answer any questions you have. Feel free to contact me at kelly[at] or in our Berkeley office 510-849-1084. Kelly

Full Belly Farm has a sleep away camp but I don't know if they encourage the whole family to stay and work. You can email Hallie Muller [halliemuller [at]] for more info. Check their website. or talk to them at the Berkeley Farmer's Market backyard farmer

I bought this magazine and passed it along to a friend of mine. It is called Cookie. I found it at ALbertson's and in the February or March issue (I believe) they had an article on 50 farms for family vacation! check it out.
good luck

Have you checked out Hidden Villa in the Los Altos Hills? It is an organic farm that runs classes for families and students. Set amid the hills it is a beautiful working farm that also has trails into the hills that are some of the South Bay's best kept secret. There is an AYH hostel on site in addition to some cabins that can be rented and a pool. This may be a really good bet for you all. All the staff I've ever met there are always very friendly and knowledgeable. Plus, it doesn't require a long drive, although you'd never know you were in the ''Silicon Valley''.

Other option would be to contact Full Belly Farm in Guinda. They too are online.

Have fun! Monika

Check out Full Belly Farm ( located west of Davis. This is an organic farm run by four families who live on the farm, workers eat communal meals, sell food / wool at farmers markets, have plenty of space for camping, etc. They are committed to teaching the value of sustainable agriculture and are kid friendly (I took my 6th grade class there for a field trip years ago). I don't know if they have done this in the past, but I think they would be very open to it. Ask to speak to Drew. cammaratam

I'd like to take my kids to visit a working farm

April 2004

I'd like to take my kids to visit a working farm. An organic farm, which also raises animals would be perfect. Are there any farms within a couple hours drive which give tours? We could stay overnight if necessary, but I'm more intersted in showing my kids a farm than having a bed-and-breaskfast experience. Karen

Try Hidden Villa is Los Altos Hills. It's a nice little organic farm with animals and gardens. During the summer it's a camp so you can't go then, but the rest of the year (like now!) it's a youth hostel. You can stay there overnight if you like and they do farm tours frequently. Very very nice place. Have fun.

Ardenwood Historic Farm is a working organic farm located in Fremont. It is part of the E. Bay Regional Parks District and they have terrific programs for kids to help feed the animals, help with farm chores, learn crafts, etc. They also have two Belgian draft horses that pull a train, regular events like Fire Truck Day, Celtic Festival, and special holiday events that include tours of the Victorian Patterson House. Check it out at, it is great fun!

Hidden Villa in Los Altos gives farm tours. It is in a beautiful setting and they have an organic garden and animals. They are brutally honest with the kids however telling them that the pigs have to be killed for them to have eat pepperoni pizza and marshmallows etc. I was there with a group of pre-schoolers and would have liked it toned down just a bit. I believe they have a website that gives all the information. The location is also a beautiful place to hike.
City Mom

Try Hidden Villa, near Redwood City

Farm experience for 6-year-old?

March 2003

My soon-to-be-6 year old daughter is convinced that she wants her upcoming birthday party at a farm. I would love to find one as she is a shy child who really connects with animals. I am thinking of somewhere where we can bring some friends and have sort of a hands-on farm experience. So far, the only place I have found is Derr Hill Ranch in Lafayette, which sounds great but is very expensive. Does anyone have any other ideas on locations in the area? Would really appreciate any feedback! trish

Ardenwood Farm in Fremont!! It's a 200 acre farm from the turn of the century run by the East Bay Regional Park District, and very reasonably priced ($1 in winter I think).

It's a wonderful place for kids (and parents). They have horses, sheep, turkeys, chickens, peacocks, goats, cows. Towards summer they have a wagon ride w/ draft horses. On weekends they have craft projects like corn husk dolls, etc. There is a real blacksmith. There's so much room to run and explore, it's a real oasis.

It's not too bad a drive if you time it off-peak hours, the farm is at the exit for the Dumbarton Bridge. Try it out yourself then you can see if you'd like it for a party. Kristine

There is a place in El Sobrante that gives pony rides and has a petting 'farm'. They will bring the ponies to you, or you can have the party at their farm. They also have a petting 'farm'. A place with tables for food and cake. Unfortunately, I can not remember the name. However, they should not be to hard to find. I recall they advertise in the back of the free 'parents' papers, like parents press. Sounds fun. heather

I really liked Borgess Ranch in Walnut Creek for a ranch/farm experience. I was there with a group of Kindergarten girls and they loved it. Worth checking out. I believe there is a farm at Ardenwood in Fremont/Union City. There is also the Little Farm at Tilden Park. You should be able to find information about any of these online. I know that's how I first found them. Kim

Try Slide Ranch It is a little drive but well worth it. robert

Try the Little Farm in Tilden park. I don't know if they have specific birthday party programs, but there are programs in which your daughter & guests could participate. Note, the animals can only be fed lettuce and celery, so bring a good supply. susan

It's a drive, but there is a working farm in Knightsen (east of Antioch) that does a pumpkin patch and gives tours to school groups at Halloween. They're open during the summer for fresh produce. I haven't been there for several years, but last time I was there, they had farm animals, too. I'm not sure when your daughter's birthday is, but if the farm is open for the season I doubt they would even charge you to use their facilities. Here's their website: Good luck! kathryn