Sometimes it is difficult to know if a destination that is billed as ‘family friendly’ or ‘kid friendly’ really applies to families with kids under the age of 5 years old. Well, if you are a parent in the greater Baltimore-DC area, I have great news for you. Clark’s Elioak Farm in Ellicott City, MD is absolutely perfect for families with young children.
We have visited Clark’s Elioak Farm numerous times, starting when my daughter could barely walk. I love this farm for younger kids because it’s super fun, not overwhelming, and stroller friendly. It’s big enough to be an adventure for younger kids, but small enough that it’s not going to stress anyone out.
Each time my daughter visited as a toddler, she had a blast and left tired enough to sleep well, but not so tired that she was crankypants from overstimulation. Read on for what to expect when you visit this fantastic and truly family friendly destination.
Walkable and Stroller Friendly
Clark’s Elioak Farm is perfect for families with young children because it is relatively small (walkable for preschoolers), relatively stroller friendly, during their ‘season’ (Easter through early November) they have special events most weekends, and there are enough cool things to do to keep your kids engaged without young kids becoming instantly overwhelmed or overstimulated.
The Petting Farm and Animals
At its heart, I think Clark’s Elioak Farm is a petting farm. Kids can get up close an personal with a variety of animals. The farm has cows, sheep, goats, pigs, donkeys, rabbits, chicken and roosters, and horses.
You can pay a quarter and feed the goats. They are very eager snackers.
There is an enclosed ‘petting farm’ within the petting farm where kids can actually get really close to some of the goats, bunny rabbits, etc… and not only feed, but pet them.
For a nominal fee ($2.50), your little one can go on a pony ride.
Play Structures and Kid ‘Attractions’
Clark’s Elioak Farm does a great job of sprinkling kid play structures and ‘attractions’ throughout the grounds. There are numerous slides, many of which are tied into The Enchanted Forest (see below).
It seems like Noah’s Ark is a popular play structure at area festivals. I can see why.. it is a lot of fun for kids! Clark’s also has tractors that are kid-climbing friendly.
Just like with the pony ride, for a very small fee ($2.50) your kid can ride the super cute cow train. Also, the farm offers hayrides and many weekends they are included in the admission price.. or free of charge if you bring a teddy bear (or something like that).
There is even a covered pavilion with all sorts of ride on toys so that young toddlers and their parents can take a break when needed.
The Enchanted Forest
One of the coolest things about Clark’s Elioak Farm is that they rescued (literally) and restored the attractions from The Enchanted Forest.
The Enchanted Forest, a locally famous Storybook Park that was an indelible part of childhood for many kids from the mid-50’s to early-90’s, had closed its gates and the attractions had fallen into disrepair.
So, Clark’s Elioak Farm struck a deal with new property owner and in 2004, they started moving and restoring each piece of the park, adding them to Clark’s Elioak Farm little by little.
When you visit Clark’s Elioak Farm, you may mistakenly believe you have entered the world of Mother Goose. Well, you wouldn’t be far off the mark. The storybook scenes are enchanting (pun intended) and so much fun to play in and around.
Don’t forget to peek inside some of the barns and Enchanted Forest play structures, because you might see your favorite fairy tale come to life!
Recently, Clark’s Elioak Farm started having a fairy forest. There is a Fairy Forest Pine Tree Maze, a fairy storybook circle with fairy books, and they hold a fairy house building contest every year!
If you are visiting Clark’s Elioak Farm, chances are you are visiting on a special event weekend. In the spring you can do an Easter Egg Hunt. In the fall you can pick pumpkins (or go pumpkin chunkin after Halloween).
There are kid craft weekends, grandparent weekends, teddy bear picnic weekends. The best part is, all of these weekends are geared towards your younger kids.
Additionally, if your older kids are needing something else to dig into, Clark’s Elioak Farm also has gem mining and gem mining geode cracking events.
Clark’s Elioak Farm opens for the season April 1st and they are open until November 5th. Except for holiday weekends (like the Monday after Easter), they are open Tuesday-Friday 10am-5pm and Saturday/Sunday 10am-530pm.
Admission is $8 a person (12 months and under are FREE). You can buy add-on tickets for the cow train ($2.50), pony ride ($2.50), wagon ride ($2.50), and Enchanted Express Train ($5).
You can definitely bring your own food and have a picnic at the farm. There are plenty of picnic tables. Most weekends there will be vendors selling hot dogs and hamburgers. And sometimes other vendors are on site to sell treats.
There are port-a-potties on the farm.
Address: 10500 Clarksville Pike, Ellicott City, MD 21042
Google Map Directions click here.
For more information, check out their website here!