Kensington Metropark in Milford is known for its beautiful lakes, summer-fun Splash ‘n’ Blast water park and activity-packed nature center. But if you haven’t been to the Kensington Metropark Farm Center, you and your kids are missing out on a real-life barnyard adventure that takes the petting farm experience to a different level.
Animals and crops
Nestled in its sprawling 4,000-acre park home in Milford, the Kensington Metropark Farm Center first opened to the public in 1981 (though its roots extend back much farther than that!). Today, it’s the perfect environment to cultivate a love of farm animals, experience the hard work that goes into running a farm and discover each animal’s purpose, too.
“A lot of kids in the metro Detroit region don’t get to experience agriculture and to learn that food doesn’t come from the grocery store,” says Patrick Bigelow, the farm center’s supervisor. “For many, the farm center is their first chance to meet and learn about the farm animals.”
The farm, which is included in the park’s $10 daily vehicle pass, features over 100 domesticated farm animals, from familiar residents like pigs, chickens and sheep to working animals including draft horses and donkeys, along with other unique critters like French Alpine goats – most of which are used to gentle petting or a little scratch.
There’s also a chance to see how our food grows from the ground and has been harvested over the years. The farm features an herb garden and field crops, along with a 150-year-old restored barn, old-fashioned farm equipment on display and even opportunities to interact with baby animals in the spring.
“We’ve got goat kids and baby lambs that people can come out and see when they’re really small and still getting their legs,” Bigelow says. “(Another) big one is our horse-drawn hayrides, which happen year-round as long as the weather allows.” There’s usually a small additional fee for those; check ahead for availability.
Events on the farm
Kensington Metropark Farm Center also offers a wide variety of activities throughout the entire year.
You’ll find festivals in the spring, summer and fall, plus interactive programs, like the Fun on the Farm series for kids ages 2-6 for $5 a session – and even camps, for an additional fee, in the summer months that aim to enhance kids’ learning beyond that of a typical petting farm.
“We have Farmer for a Day, which is for ages 8-15, and then Farmer Junior for ages 6-8,” Bigelow explains. “Kids will get a chance to work with our farmers and assist farm staff in doing farm chores, making a rustic food or snack, learning how to saddle horses or give pigs a bath. We also have horse camp, which is like our farmer for a day but it’s targeted at horses and learning how to drive those animals.”
Before the spring baby activities, which usually happen in April, be sure to visit to learn about maple syrup in late February and throughout March. During Maple’s Sweet Story, kids visit the farm’s sugar bush and learn how sap is tapped to transform into sweet treats.
Best of all, the farm is open year-round, closing only for Thanksgiving and Christmas Day, and for all ages.
“I encourage everyone to come out,” Bigelow says. “A lot of times the moms and dads will get just as much out of it as their kids because, just as the kids may not have had a chance to interact with animals, the same can be said for parents.”
Kensington Farm Metropark Farm Center brings “Old MacDonald” to life, giving everyone in the family a chance to meet animals, learn from some knowledgeable farm workers and get their hands dirty.