Animals, trails, ice cream and more at Great Brook Farm

I’ve been writing a lot about our go to outdoor adventure spots, and this place has quickly become a favorite of ours. If you caught my stories this week you may have seen they have some pretty feisty chickens, so if you get an ice cream there, you may be safer eating inside ;-). Great Brook Farm State Park is a public, day-use recreation area featuring an active dairy farm in the town of Carlisle, Massachusetts. It has more than 20 miles of trails that you can walk and bike in the non-winter months and cross-country ski in the winter. There is so much to do and explore here and I’ll take you through a day here with the boys.

Active Dairy Farm

First stop is usually the dairy farm. Depending on the time of day we go we usually will start with visiting and feeding the animals and getting a yummy ice cream. The ice cream house opens at 11, so plan your visit accordingly. The animals have to be our absolute part. They are all incredibly active and friendly and they have a quarter machine with food, so be sure to bring lots of quarters! They have free range chickens, pigs, cows, goats, sheep and llamas. My favorites are the goats and llamas! The boys have so much fun petting and feeding them.

The ice-cream is delicious, and you can also get hot dogs and chips. They have a cute little store inside with lots of fun farm-based toys and books. My favorite ice cream flavor so far has to be the coconut almond bar…it’s delicious and my almost 2-year-old loves it too. The children’s size is perfect for my 7-year-old, and I usually share one with my toddler. I like that they have a “good size” children size here. So many ice cream stands go a bit overboard for the kiddy ice cream if you ask me. This week we took our ice cream outside and my 7-year-old made the mistake of giving one of the chickens a bite of his ice cream. Immediately afterwards the chicken jumped up and grabbed a bite himself and another one jumped up on the table and tried to take my toddlers! They are not shy, and they will go after your treats, so if you are at all skittish of wild chickens, I’d eat your treat inside!

Exploring the trails and pond

There are over 20 miles of trails at the park, but don’t let that intimidate you. We generally walk the trails right around the dairy farm and it’s the perfect little trail walk with little kids. I’m getting to that point with my almost 2-year-old where he no longer wants to be in a stroller, and when I put him down, he just takes off at lighting speed. So far wearing him on these trails has been the best option, but I do let him down to explore too. Most of the trails start off in the woods and have sections in open fields, we hardly ever pass anyone so it’s always a very peaceful and quiet walk. This week near the parking area they had signs of a guided story on one of the trails. I absolutely LOVED this idea. The had all the pages of the book printed out and staked throughout the trail. Sadly my 7-year-old was in a bit of a mood and wasn’t interested, but normally he would love that kind of thing.

One of the favorite spots for my 7-year-old is the pond down the hill from the dairy farm. It’s adjacent to a large field that habitats lots of geese. Watch your step, as there is lots of geese poop. It’s absolutely beautiful here, with lily pads and beautiful green grass and trees. My son loves to look for frogs, and we’ve seen a few snakes too.

If you decide to visit you do have to pay $3 for parking on a machine, so make sure you bring a card. If traveling with a little one, I recommend bringing either a carrier or a stroller if you plan to explore the trails. It’s a wonderful morning or afternoon out so I encourage you to get out there and meet the animals, explore the trails, and reward yourself with a scoop! Happy exploring, be sure to let me know your thoughts if you visit.

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