After studying Matt’s schedule we discovered a rare full weekend off of work. YAY! Spring having sprung and a big chunk of time on our hands we loaded the kids up and drove to the Hancock Shaker Village. Matt and I visited it several years ago sans children and were eager to let them experience it as well (made possible by free entrance for ages 12 and under).
Our timing couldn’t have been more perfect! We told the kids we were taking them on a surprise trip and for the hours and hours we drove we heard nothing but “are we at the surprise yet?” and “this is too long for a surprise”. However once we pulled up and they saw the “baby animals” sign the hours of boredom was quickly forgotten.
The Shakers have a very interesting history but are mostly known for their segregation of the sexes, their furniture, and their oval boxes.
We had such a fun time! Jack just about turned himself inside out screaming “MOOO! MOOO!” when he saw the cows off in the distance. It took a bit of convincing but we were eventually able to coax him in to the round barn where the baby animals were.
While there the kids were allowed to (and by “allowed to” I mean, other people were doing it so I assume it was ok) to climb in to the pens with the babies (I did not put them in to pens with the mommies). They had lambs, goats, and calves.
Then we moved on to the “look but don’t touch” portion where they also had piglets. They were the cutest little bacon bits you have ever seen. These cuties were so tiny they had to be under heat lamps (which accounts for the fiery color). Nothing like tiny piglets to make you want a pig for a pet… and nothing like a sow to make you want to fill up your freezer with pork :)
Each of the kiddos got to feed a calf. Isn’t she a beauty?! I would LOVE to take her home.
We were able to see them shear some sheep
Then we let the kiddos loose on the chickens. It was so funny because the chickens had a coop and a fence but there was no keeping them in there. The rooster would walk up to where the sheep were being sheared and crow. Jack was having a ball :)
If that wasn’t fun enough we made their year by shelling out the $5 each for pony rides. Don’t let Jack’s face fool you. He was having a blast (he just doesn’t like it when women talk to him).
We walked over to the children’s discovery building that had activities for the children. Lucy (lover of all things old fashioned) went straight to the loom.
They all loved the dress up
They also had a large plastic cow they could “milk”, baby chicks and honey bees (the bees were enclosed, so no worries). I really enjoyed watching the bees while Matt (who comes from a long line of beekeepers) gave me “beehives 101”.
When Matt and I had been there before we spent a lot of time touring the buildings and learning about the history of the Shakers. I didn’t think the kids would care much about it but they did. I love historical sites that allow the children to touch and explore.
There were some places that were off limits to little hands. Which is why Jack had to be tethered down. He did not like it.
Henry was a happy trooper, as always.
We left just as the village was about to close. After seven hours of play and distraction we piled in to the car to discover we were all starving! Off to Friendly’s where everyone (including Jack’s kitty) ate a nice meal. That large “belly” looking thing is my shirt covering a nursing Henry’s head… don’t worry, I’m not pregnant again :).
We rolled into our driveway long after the sun had set. It was a very nice day.