Vermont farm experience for kids: Retreat Farm

The Retreat Farm in Brattleboro, VT is a great stop for families of all ages. Its 450 acres include hiking trails, a petting farm, and even an artisanal cheese shop (cheddar, of course!). The farm was originally part of the Brattleboro Retreat, a private mental hospital built in the 1840’s. The Retreat Farm provided milk, meat, and vegetables for the hospital and even served as a mental health program for patients who worked on the farm. Today, the farm is managed by the Windham Foundation, a Vermont-based organization whose mission is to promote the vitality of rural communities and institutions in Vermont.

Retreat Farm

The Retreat Trails are 9 miles of trails with public entry points at the Retreat Farm and other locations in Brattleboro. This is a great place for hiking or biking in the summer, and cross country skiing or snowshoeing in the winter!

Vermont farm

For our kids (ages 3 and 5), the petting farm was the main attraction. The Retreat Farm has more than 50 animals that kids can pet, hold, and feed, all while learning about animal care and New England farming. The biggest hits were the chick room—an entire room filled with newly hatched chicks that the kids could pet and pick up (it’s actually helpful for farmers if chicks are handled a lot when they’re young, so your kids are having fun AND providing a service to the farm!), and the goats. Kids can go into the goat corral and see these friendly and social animals up close. Be careful, though—we loved those goats so much, we thought about trying to take one home! Most importantly, the animals at the farm are very well cared for and loved. The stalls are clean, the food is fresh, and the animals are all healthy and happy. Overall, this is our favorite farm experience, and a great place to spend a day.

Retreat Farm VT

Travel tip:The Retreat Farm is open in the colder months, so don’t stay away! Bundle the kids up and tackle the hiking trails year round!

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Date last visited:

September 2013

Distance from the interstate:

The Retreat Farm is located just outside of downtown Brattleboro, off I-91 in southern VT.

Hours of operation:

The petting farm is open from Memorial Day weekend through October. Fall operating hours are Friday and Saturday 10–4, Sunday 12¬–4. Retreat trails are open year round for hiking, biking, horse-back riding, cross-country skiing and snowshoeing. No motorized vehicles!

Admission or ticket prices:

Kids ages 2–11: $5, 12 and over: $6. Season passes are also available.

Food services:

Bring a picnic! There are tables near the barn and the setting is beautiful!


The Retreat Farm is located at 350 Linden Street, Route 30, Brattleboro, VT.