The drive out to Manor is usually pretty quiet with lots of empty fields and not a lot of traffic. If you’re out there in the morning though, you’ll come upon one driveway with dozens of cars and buses pouring into it. Crowe’s Nest Farm is an extremely popular school field trip destination for elementary aged children in the Austin area. Individual families can visit the farm as well, during Family Tour Days.
Saturday Spring Family Tour Days are coming up at Crowe’s Nest Farm! Families are invited to visit at 11 a.m. sharp on the following days: March 5 and 26, April 2, 9, and 16, May 14, 21, and 28, 2016. Go see the new baby goats, sheep, and llama! There will be the usual farm fun, including the hayride, cow milking demo, Faeriewood, gardens and tons of critters! The tour lasts about 90 minutes and fees are $6 per person age 3+, $3 for 2-year-olds, and children under 2 are free.
1. Watch a milking demonstration with Bella, the Jersey cow. The workers at the farm do a great job explaining the process and fielding questions from the kids.
2. Get a close-up look at snakes, salamanders, frogs, and other little creatures in the amphibian house. They also have several hands-on educational tables where kids can feel the furs and pelts of lots of local animals and other nature things.
3. Take a hay ride for a tour of the farm. The driver will stop along the way to let you watch him feed the ostriches and bison and to explain a little bit about the animals. Right now, you’ll get to see some baby bison on your hay ride!
4. Walk through the children’s theme gardens. The flowers there are very pretty and kids enjoy the cute and creative themes (fairy tales and Mother Goose rhymes).
5. Miniature Animals- One of the themed areas on the farm is a collection of miniature animals, including horses, chickens, pigs, goats, and even a rare miniature mule. Kids can observe them up-close and even pet and feed some of them grass. So cute!
6. Watch the Ostriches- I thought the ostriches were the highlight of our trip. The males are dramatic and gaudy in showing off their feathers, and it’s just so startling to be studied by those big long-lashed eyes. Apparently, sometimes there are baby ostriches which are quite adorable. When we were there one of the ostriches was working on hatching an egg; so there very well may be a baby soon! One word of caution: one of the areas has a fence that allows you to get quite close to the birds. My kids and I apparently were closer than was wise because my daughter did end up getting pecked on the head. We probably should have stayed on the path!
7. Visit the Butterfly House- The butterfly house is only open seasonally, but with it’s waterfall and pond it is a peaceful and pretty place to visit.
8. Stroll through Fariewood- This little garden was my girls’ favorite part of the trip. There is a little stream running through it with bridges to cross and fanciful little statues and carvings scattered among the foliage.
9. See the Alphabet Gardens. There are two alphabet gardens (that I saw) on the farm. One was a flower garden, with a different plant representing each letter of the alphabet. The other was a vegetable version of the same thing. Very clever and fun!
10. Have a picnic. You can eat on a bench or on the ground, but there is also a screened pavilion with lots of picnic tables. There are snacks and coffee for purchase in the big red barn.
Prices for admission are:
$6 for ages 3 and up
$2 for two-year olds
Under two is free
To find out more about visiting the farm see their website.
Crowe’s Nest Farm
10300 Taylor Lane
Manor, TX 78653
Katey writes about activities for families and children at Having Fun at Home. You may also enjoy posts Katey has written about exploring the Bee Cave Sculpture Park, Barton Creek Greenbelt, Sweet Berry Farm, Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center, Longview Park, Austin’s Superlative Landmarks, the Elisabet Ney Museum, and Oakwood Cemetery. She has also written about taking kids to explore fun Austin stores like Callahan’s, The Natural Gardener, Nature’s Treasures, Zookeeper, and the Asian Supermarket.