Both the young and young at heart love animals. But city living can make it hard for many people to have pets or see a wide variety of animals. Boston-area petting zoos are a great way to spend an afternoon. You can not only observe many different kinds of animals, but also get to spend some time with them yourself. Plus, many of these offer other kinds of attractions as well. So take a break from the concrete jungle this afternoon and head out to the farm to enjoy some of these great petting zoos.
Photo credit: Penniman Hill Farm

Photo credit: Penniman Hill Farm

Penniman Hill Farm
272 Whiting St.
Hingham, MA 02043
(781) 749-5443

Penniman Hill Farm is truly a unique family-friendly experience. This greenhouse and nursery offers full landscaping services and a colorful array of flowers. And while you shop, the kids can have a fun-filled afternoon enjoying the ice cream shop that is on site as well as, of course, the farm’s petting zoo. Animals include the typical farm animals that you’ll find at petting zoos like chickens, goats and sheep. But the standout at Penniman Hill Farm is definitely its donkey which is billed as “the cutest donkey in the world!”

Related: Boston’s Best Cheap Activities To Do With Kids

Photo credit: Parlee Farms (Facebook)

Photo credit: Parlee Farms (Facebook)

Parlee Farms
95 Farwell Road
Tyngsboro, MA 01879
(978) 649-3854

Parlee Farms is a “pick your own” farm where you can get, in season, the chance to harvest your own farm-fresh strawberries, blueberries, cherries, apples and so much more. But at this point, it might be just as well known for its petting zoo. Featuring over 70 animals, it’s easy to spend the entire day just enjoying the livestock. One unique addition to this petting zoo is its “Annie’s Goats in the Trees” attraction. Kids can send goat food to a tree top stand and watch the goats at Parlee Farms head up into the canopy to feast.

Photo credit: Franklin Park Zoo (Facebook)

Photo credit: Franklin Park Zoo (Facebook)

Franklin Park Zoo
1 Franklin Park Road
Boston, MA 02121
(617) 541-5466

Boston’s only zoo, the Franklin Park Zoo, is also home to really fun petting zoo. This 72-acre zoo has been exposing Boston residents to the wonders of the animal kingdom since 1913. It features a children’s zoo, complete with its own “Franklin Farm” petting zoo. The one-on-one time with the animals and the live animal demonstrations are a must-do summer activity if you live in Boston.

Photo credit: Tangerini's Spring Street Farm (Facebook)

Photo credit: Tangerini’s Spring Street Farm (Facebook)

Tangerini’s Spring Street Farm
139 Spring St.
Millis, MA 02054
(508) 376-5024

At 67 acres, Tangerini’s Spring Street Farm is nearly as big as Boston’s Franklin Park Zoo. Its small petting zoo is just one of many attractions this farm offers. There is also an ice cream shop, a 300-member CSA, children’s yoga classes, canning classes and so much more. If your kids completely fall in love with this idyllic family farm, and the friendly loveable livestock, you’ll be happy to know that it also runs a kids’ summer camp.

RelatedBoston’s Best Cheap Live Music Venues

Photo credit: Great Brook Farm (Facebook)

Photo credit: Great Brook Farm (Facebook)

Great Brook Farm State Park
165 North Road
Carlisle, MA 01741
(978) 369-6312

Great Brook Farm State Park is an unusual gem of a park. Not many state parks have ice cream stands, dairy operations and petting zoos. The petting zoo, like the entire park with all of its hiking trails, is open year round but you’ll find the spring and summer to be the best months to go and enjoy the animals. Best of all, the park is free outside of a $2 all-day parking fee. Bring your quarters and you’ll be able to feed some of those adorable petting zoo critters.

Renee Mallett is the author of several books about art, culture, and New England. She was the owner and director of an art gallery and has written about arts and entertainment on a national level for several print and online journals. Her work can be found at