Watch as kids get up close with some furry friends at Modesto’s Dutch Hollow Farms
Hundreds of children and grown-ups celebrated a sunny spring Sunday — the first of the new season — by visiting animals at Dutch Hollow Farms at Oakdale and Claribel roads.
The attraction was to open the day before, but was canceled by rain. Some spots of mulch-covered soil remained soggy, and some lighter-weight tykes had their zip-line rides stop a few feet short — right over a puddle — but that didn’t dampen the fun.
Visitors held chicks, watched goats walk a balance beam, saw calves get bottle-fed, actually got to help bottle-feed lambs, oinked at pigs and climbed on a Deere (as in John).
Thanks to signs, kids learned fun facts, like: Ben Franklin wanted to make the wild turkey, not the bald eagle, the national bird. And pigs have poor eyesight, but a great sense of smell. (Bet if they could talk, they’d gladly have it vice-versa.)
The chicks came from hatcheries, the goats from a local dairy farm and the lambs from a veterinarian in Denair who has a sheep dairy, said John Bos, owner of Dutch Hollow Farms.
The animals will stay on as part of the farm community. “We actually keep and raise them,” said Bos, who founded Dutch Hollow Farms in the early 2000s. “We’re kind of building a really docile herd, if you will.
“What we used to do in the past, we would always get new animals every year. But it became more and more difficult, as more and more people are coming, to have an animal that’s used to being around people. And we obviously want an animal that enjoys being petted by, as you can see, hundreds and hundreds of people.”
Baby Animal Days has opened at peak time for tulips, for which Dutch Hollow Farms is best known. Bos’ parents, John “Hans” and Alice “Alie” Bos, immigrated in 1959 from Holland to Artesia, California.
Following a family tradition, the younger John Bos started planting hundreds of tulip bulbs in several varieties. Dutch Hollow Farms now plants thousands of bulbs in many varieties.
“We probably have one good weekend left and then it’s gonna start fading out,” Bos said Sunday of the tulips on his land. “A lot of it depends on the weather. I think this week is supposed to be cool, so we’re in a good pattern that next weekend will be nice as well.”
The seven-day forecast from the National Weather Services shows that, yes, the week ahead will be cool. The expected high for the weekdays is near 68 degrees Monday, dropping daily until a high of just 63 on Thursday. There’s a chance of rain each of those days, the weather service says.
Friday and Saturday are expected to be sunny with highs of 66 and 69, respectively.
Baby Animal Days run Thursdays through Sundays, the rest of March and most of April. Last day is April 20, the day before Easter. Hours are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Admission is $5 per person, $3 for seniors and military personnel, free to children 2 and under.
To learn more, go to www.dutchhollowfarms.com.