Baby Animal Festival at Cross E Ranch Promises Fun
Baby animal cuteness, oh my! Chicks, piglets, bunnies, kids (of the baby goat variety J), mini donkeys, and more are all at Cross E Ranch. My family had a recent sneak peek of this 220-acre piece of heaven, snuggled quietly west of the freeway just far enough away to forget the cares of the city. Kris Faux and her family were busy getting the place ready for their first annual Baby Animal Festival, which opens April 8 and runs every Friday, Saturday, and Monday thru April 30, 2016.
By Google event invite estimates, over 4,000 people are interested in coming. Faux will be delighted if this is the case and has plans for “fast passes” if the crowds do come. To accommodate everyone, an arena will be staged in the main area, and animals will be presented by their handler, who will encourage questions and light touches (depending on the animal). The goats will likely insist that you pet them over and over. They aren’t very shy, which makes them incredibly fun. (If some of the little ones faint, don’t be too alarmed; their breed does that. Curious? Now you really have to see them and learn more.) Other stations will feature a large coop for the baby chicks and an arena for horse rides (on Saturdays only).
When our family visited, the highlight was the hay ride pulled behind the tractor. That’s when you really get an appreciation for the size of the farm. It’s BIG! We drove for several minutes, opened several gates, followed the Jordan River, and visited the cows and baby calves—in their natural environment. How cool is that! They weren’t in pens, and it was so fun to sit for a few minutes and watch them all. They’re a curious bunch and came to say hi and sniff the wagon after a bit. My boys were thrilled!
More than just offering a look-and-see festival, the folks at Cross E Ranch have created an interactive, educational experience. They will have sensory tables for the little ones to explore various agricultural products, such as wheat and beans. An on-site store will sell the ranch’s grass-fed beef (see website link above for pricing) and locally produced honey (first come, first serve; supplies limited). An area expert will talk about the importance of bees, and farm-related story times will be offered. There will also be sheep-shearing demonstrations and a sheep-dog herd round-up demonstration. Check the website before you go for the daily schedule of activities.
Food and Amenities
Corn dogs, scones, chips, and canned soda will be available for purchase. Outside food and beverages are also welcome. Feel free to have a picnic on the grassy area near the ranch house. As a courtesy, please make sure any trash is picked up.
Portable outhouses and hand-washing stations will be provided.
Children 0-2 free; ages 3-12 $6; adults $8.
Some of the proceeds earned will benefit a local youth agricultural group.
KNOW BEFORE YOU GO
- Purchase event tickets online. If you forget, you can still buy them at the door, but you’ll have to wait in line. Ticket prices remain the same. Tickets are nonrefundable and rain checks are not accepted.
- How to Find Cross E Ranch. Here’s the address for your GPS: 3500 North 2200 West, SLC. Once you’re in the area, look for a red barn and out buildings with a white house surrounded by white fencing.Follow the signs for parking.You’ll park in the old stock yard, now a nice gravel parking lot, and cross the road to the event, which starts in the big red barn where tickets are redeemed. Enter from the barn doors on the south side.
- Pets are not allowed.
- Bring repellent and sunscreen. The mosquitos were bothersome on the hayride as we neared the river. We didn’t notice them near the barnyard. Neither repellent nor sunscreen will be supplied or available for purchase at the event. If you need them, bring them.
- Forgot the stroller? About two dozen wagons are available on a first-come, first-serve basis.
- Bring jackets if the weather is cool.
- Wear closed-toe shoes. Protect your feet just in case. The farm has gravel, mostly mud-free roads, but for your comfort, closed-toe shoes are advisable. Older shoes are preferable. This is a very clean farm, but you probably won’t want to wear new shoes.
- Bring your own water. Potable water is available, but it will be easier if you bring your own.
- Spread the word. Please tell your friends about this event. It takes a lot of money to sustain a farm. We all benefit from agriculture. Thank you to Cross E Ranch for bringing us this special opportunity to share with our children why farming is so essential to our great country.
- Of historical note: Cross E Ranch was previously owned by the Tom Jeremy family (Jeremy Ranch), well known in Utah, and subsequently purchased by Dave Hinckley, a cousin to the beloved President Gordon B. Hinckley, 15th president of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The farm is now operated by fifth- and sixth-generation Hinckley family farmers.
If you find our weekly newsletter helpful, please share it with a friend. Invite them to also sign up. Then you’ll be doubly sure not to miss a great upcoming event.
Kerry Smith, former editor for the Ensign magazine, is SLC editor of KidsOutAndAbout.com. She loves being “out and about” with her husband, Cole, and two sons. You can also join her at mrsladywordsmith.com, where she's passionate about helping others.