North Georgia Zoo & Petting Farm

One of the day trips we made this summer was to the North Georgia Zoo & Petting Farm. We had been aware of this zoo for a long time, and we’d always wanted to check it out. My boys had a great time at this zoo.

This is a small and rustic zoo. Don’t expect paved walkways or cool buildings to walk into occasionally. The petting farm (and you can pay just to walk through the petting farm only) is fun. There were sheep, goats, alpacas and a cow to pet. Exotic chickens roamed the area too.

To see the exotic animals, you have to go on a tour, which is included in your admission price. Someone will walk you through this area, and there you’ll find all kinds of interesting animals from different parts of the world. We had a very friendly and knowledgeable guide. I do not remember seeing every animal on their full animal list, but there were plenty of animals to see. I know they have areas of the zoo that we were not permitted to go to because some animals were under special care. You can also purchase tickets for “animal encounters,” which we didn’t do.

At the end of the tour, our guide let us meet three small animals and get a chance to pet them: a small python, armadillo and chinchilla. That was pretty cool.

My husband and I were disappointed to see that some of the animals were in cages that seemed too small, such as the cougar and the New Guinea singing dogs. I realize this is an issue with many zoos, and I also know it takes a tremendous amount of money to care for these animals, which is why we didn’t mind paying the admission fee. However, the admission price is similar to the admission for Zoo Atlanta, which surprised us, considering how much smaller this one was. Perhaps Zoo Atlanta gets more donations, which allows them to keep their prices down?

If you are in the North Georgia mountains and you have children, I would say go visit this zoo. However, I wouldn’t make a special trip again just to see this zoo. The area around the zoo, however, was gorgeous. There are a lot of vineyards in the area. It wouldn’t be a bad idea to combine a trip to the zoo with a visit to a vineyard. 😉

P.S. Sorry there are no photos here of the petting farm. I was too busy petting the animals!

Noah’s Ark

If you live in Georgia, I recommend you take a drive to the town of Locust Grove and visit Noah’s Ark. We’ve been there twice, but the first time we went, it was flooded, so we were only able to walk around the perimeter, although we had fun doing that too. This last time, we made sure it was open by calling first. My photos in this post are from both times we went. 🙂

Noah’s Ark is an animal sanctuary. The animals here were rescued from less-than-ideal captive situations, and none of them are capable of being released back into the wild. Some were injured. Some have come from zoos that were failing. Some were illegal and/or surrendered pets. Some have been retired from science laboratories. According to their website, they have over 1,500 exotic, wildlife and domestic animals and over 100 species of animals!

There were quite a few tigers at Noah’s Ark as well as bears and parrots and primates. You can see photos of all their animals here. I especially loved the peacocks who roam freely around the property, which is why I have too many peacock photos in this post. 🙂

Definitely related to the dinosaurs. 🙂

What I loved about Noah’s Ark is that the habitats are quite large, and most of them are under a canopy of hardwoods. We couldn’t see some of the animals who were probably sleeping somewhere in the tall grass, but I was okay with that. It was good to see that they had a nice space to roam.

It may look like these tigers are in a small cage, but they can actually walk out into a larger area too.

The admission to Noah’s Ark is free, so everyone can go and enjoy the animals. However, they operate solely on donations, and it’s quite expensive to feed all those animals, so you may want to consider donating, if you can. They have limited hours so that the animals can have plenty of quiet, which I like too. The Habitat is open Tuesday-Saturday from 12-3p.m. But you can visit the playground and visitor’s center (and walk around the perimeter) Tuesday-Saturday from 9-4p.m. 

You can never have too many photos of peacocks.