One of my very favorite events of the year - Farm Animal Days - returns April 9 to April 11 at Lake Wheeler Road Field Laboratory just south of Raleigh.
The program, organized by N.C. State's College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, gives kids the opportunity to get up close and even touch farm animals, learn about farming and get free Howling Cow ice cream!
The event is designed for school field trips - preschoolers to first grade - but families and individuals are more than welcome to come. I've always taken my girls on my own or with friends.
You'll see cows, horses, chicks, turkeys, ducks, pigs, sheep, goats and rabbits. You can touch all of them except the cows and horses. They have plenty of hand washing stations available.
A new addition this year: At 10 a.m., 11 a.m., noon and 1 p.m., each day, they'll have a short presentation of about 15 to 20 minutes about animals on the farm.
Farm Animal Days is 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., April 9 to April 11. It's rain or shine. To avoid the crowds, it's best to get there at either 9 a.m. or 1 p.m. I always get there at 9 a.m. and leave by 10 a.m. when the groups start moving in.
Find Farm Animal Days at 4505 Mid Pines Rd., about two miles south of Interstate 40. For more information, check the website.