Goats have made their home for at least 15 years at Wake County's Historic Oak View County Park.
The park tells the story of Wake County's farming history, culture and traditions. And the animals, along with a collection of chickens, help to tell it. And, this spring, to the delight of plenty of park fans, the herd of goats got a little bit bigger.
Felix and Leroy, who were born around New Year's Day 2017, joined Elliott and Levi, who are about 2.5 years, and the elders of the group, Walt and Boyd, who were about 11 at the time. Sadly, Boyd, a long-time favorite at the park, passed away in July. But Felix and Leroy have stole the hearts of regular park goers.
The two are Mini Nubians, who will always be smaller than the three other Nubian goats, which they share a paddock with. And they're absolutely adorable. The goats draw regulars to the park, who come with carrots and apples in hand to feed them. A visit with the goats and a walk through the park's great visitors center, which includes a large play house area for kids, makes for a great day out.
If you go, there are a few rules about visiting the goats:
- Check to make sure it's OK to feed them and that the foods you've brought with you are safe for them to eat. Park staff recommends baby carrots and apple slices.
- Don't feed them grass or leaves, especially magnolia leaves, which can do a number on their stomachs.
- It's totally fine to pet the goats. In fact, the group of kids I took the other week had a blast petting and rubbing them. Just keep your fingers away from their mouths. They won't bite you, but they might nibble.
"They love a good ear scratch," Ken Peters, park technician for education, tells me.
If you're visiting the park with preschoolers, check out the free Goats at Night backpack, which features a picture book written about the goats, along with fun activities little ones will enjoy. Just ask at the visitors center for the details.
Historic Oak View County Park is at 4028 Carya Dr., Raleigh. Admission is free.