Everything You Need to Know About Visiting Davis Farmland

Davis Farmland is a popular destination for families spring through fall. And it’s easy to see why. With direct access to farm animals (yes, you can hold a goat), as well as playgrounds, a spray-ground, BBQ, apple picking, hayrides, picnicking, and even a bar (for adults), it’s no wonder why people have Davis Farmland on their childhood bucket list. Think of it like a miniature amusement park combined with a next-level petting zoo.

Davis Farmland showcases endangered livestock breeds. At Davis, the exhibits are the animals themselves, with dribs and drabs of information posted outside the enclosures. Whether you have a budding farmer on your hands or just want the New England fall-farm experience, Davis might be for you!

Let’s do this.

*Kids under 2 are free.

Davis Farmland Layout

Davis Farmland consists of three main areas – Imagine Acres, The Animal Showcase, and Adventureland. During the summer months, they have a Spray-ground, located between The Animal Showcase and Adventureland. In the fall, they offer pick your own apples and pumpkins. The entrance for this appears to the back/left of the parking lot. I’ve never picked there, as my favorite orchard for picking is Brookdale Fruit Farm in Hollis, NH. That’s a post for another day.

Davis Farmland “Exhibits” & Play Areas

I find Davis Farmland to be both under and overwhelming all at the same time. Underwhelming because I wish they had more thoughtfully designed educational exhibits, similar to the way Squam Lakes is designed. They do have one cow milking simulation that is very cool, as well as a place for kids to experience a hand-pump well. Other than that, the animals are the exhibit. I find it overwhelming because ensuring a toddler doesn’t harass farm life is a job in and of itself. Couple that with the sheer volume of people and the pure insanity that comes with it , and it quickly becomes very draining for an introvert. In peak times, the animal showcase can almost feel like the Santa Claus 3 when Jack Frost monetizes the North Pole. Kids aren’t really able to have “long turns,” and this can be hard for the younger ones or those that take a while to warm up in a crowded area.

At any rate, I queried my family to see what they enjoyed best at Davis and here’s what they (we) came up with:

Parents Favorite

My husband and I actually agreed on Adventureland being our favorite part of Davis Farmland. I’m not sure if it’s the secluded vibe or the downhome, old-fashioned fun, but Adventureland was probably the most relaxed part of our day. I was able to monitor most of the activities without having to leave my (shaded) seat. So, yes, I absolutely sat my booty down in a plastic Adirondack chair, sipped my adult beverage, and let my kids frolic. And then I wished silently that all the grumpy parents would visit the bar, too. My favorite part of Adventureland had to be the secret hiding trees – and it isn’t even listed on their website! You’ll just have to go and see them for yourself, because I couldn’t take a picture that did the experience justice. Just take bug spray with you, lest you become lunch.

Kids’ Favorite

All my kids agreed that holding the baby goats and the kittens was their absolute favorite part of the day. Upon entering, the kittens can be found in the first building to the right. There, you’ll find kittens, bunnies, ferrets, and a plethora of other little furry things to touch and hold. If you have an asthmatic in your family, this is not the space for you. All the kittens are adoptable, so if you don’t have an asthmatic AND you’re in the market for a kitten, you can be sure they have been well handled by the time they come home.

Mom’s Least Favorite

My least favorite exhibit has minimal to do with the exhibit itself and is mostly a product of behavior. The Imagine Acres jump pad in, and of itself, is super cool – it’s an open air jump pillow. Think of it like a giant (and I do mean giant) bouncy house floor with no sides and shade sail above. This is both a dream and a nightmare. Here’s the deal – as mentioned, the sides are open. Little kids like to stay close to their parents (for the most part) which means if some insane 8-12 year-olds are running by (and they do), your unsteady little 2 to 4-year-old might take a tumble off the side. Also. It’s huge. Which means you cannot reach them once they start wandering toward the center with said rowdy upper-elementary-middle school kids. I have actually witnessed children smash heads here, and was lucky enough to be carrying my first-aid kit, so I could offer an ice pack to the parents. If you can manage to hop on during a lull in the chaos, this is absolute bliss for the kids.

Biological Functions

It is no secret in my family that I am a foodie. I’m also a huge fan of picnics. Davis Farmland offers both options. They have an onsite, year-round restaurant, as well as two smaller “snack shacks” that serve typical BBQ fare and (!!) alcohol! I absolutely love this and wish this idea would take hold in the US. Davis ensures everyone is safe and responsible by capping each adult at four drinks. There’s a wristband for that. Davis is also picnic friendly – meaning they have plenty of shaded picnic tables throughout the campus. So if your family is anything like mine, you can pack your cooler and bentos and have an amazing lunch.

The bathrooms at Davis are… fine. I’m not wowed by impressive tile or feel like my kids could crawl on the floor, but I also didn’t feel like the germs were jumping on me after I washed my hands. The bathrooms are thoughtfully designed with both kid-sized stalls / toilets / urinals and kid-sized sinks. All of the female and family bathrooms have changing stations. You’ll want to bring something to lay on them, but you probably don’t need to burn it afterward. A wash on your sanitary cycle should do. Davis Farmland has male, female and family restrooms.

Germs & Safety

Davis Farmland is a farm. While “farm kids” may breathe better, I’m going to go out on a limb and say the majority of families visiting Davis are not “farm families.” My educated guess is that they are city/suburb dwellers who want a farm experience. While I’ve never seen any poop piles at Davis Farmland, they also aren’t giving the cows / goats / ferrets / rabbits / kittens hourly baths. They poop on themselves, it’s just what it is. Davis has plenty of handwashing stations and hand sanitizer stations throughout the property. You can’t miss them.

Davis Farmland takes safety very seriously – both of the animals and of the visiting children and families.

One of my absolute favorite things about Davis, and perhaps why I return, is due to the level of safety with regard to the kids. First things first, you cannot go to Davis Farmland as an adult unless you are escorting a child under 12. They have 21+ nights on their calendar if you’re a childless adult hoping to visit. Additionally, upon arriving, each member of the party is issued a wristband with a number on it. Before leaving, an employee checks all wristbands to ensure the kiddo(s) and adult(s) belong together. I absolutely LOVE this feature; however, I wish there was a dedicated staff member or two to babysit the exit as it can become a little congested during high volume times.

Lastly, Davis knows that all the animals on exhibit are not necessarily people-friendly, so they have developed a color-coded system to let kids know which animals are there to pet and which are there to touch just with their eyes.

Make a Plan to Visit in the Fall

Davis Farmland is best experienced during the Fall. Hands down. Between the flies and the heat, it’s really hard to enjoy it in the summer months. They do have a “spray-ground,” but I find that the vibe there tends to be an absolute free-for-all. Parents are exhausted and (understandably) want to sit in the shade. Kids are kids and are (understandably) 1. excited to have some freedom and 2. still need some direction with respect to behavior around smaller kiddoes. Our culture just hasn’t equipped 7 and 8 year-olds with the wherewithal required to notice other (smaller) people in their vicinity and adjust behavior without correction from an adult. I blame the school system (but not the teachers). I digress.

At the end of the day, going to Davis Farmland in September – October is sure to make plenty of quintessential New England fall memories. You’ll be able to experience everything Davis has to offer (minus the spray-ground) in that crisp fall air New Englanders live for. It would be an absolutely amazing mid-week experience in mid-to-late-September / early October. That being said, if your kids are easily overwhelmed and you can only visit on a weekend, your best bet is to head up to Friendly Farm in Dublin, NH (review coming soon).

Happy adventuring!

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