Visiting the zoo is the perfect warm weather activity — until your little animal fan goes bonkers because she can’t touch the big kitty cats. Time to hit an urban farm, where getting up close and personal with nature’s creatures isn’t just safe; it’s encouraged. We’ve combed the city and ‘burbs to find the best places to interact with animals, from pigs to turkeys to goats. Flip through our picks and go explore. Just don’t forget the Wet Wipes.

Lambs Farm

In the northern suburbs, kids can feel the softness of a rabbit’s fur, hold a chick and buddy up to goats at this activity-filled farm and petting zoo. While you’re there, check out the mini golf course, bouncy house, mini train and carousel. And don't forget the important mission of this non-profit: It provides a safe and caring living environment for people with disabilities. Families can also buy sweets, snacks and souvenirs, or have a meal at the restaurant, which greatly helps the community that lives, works and thrives there.

Admission is $5; free for children 2 and under. 14245 W. Rockland Rd., Libertyville (847-362-4626 or online at www.lambsfarm.org).

  • Lambs Farm
  • Santa's Village Azoosment Park
  • The Center & Children's Farm
  • Lincoln Park Zoo's Farm-in-the Zoo
  • Blackberry Farm
  • Forest View Farms & Equestrian Center
  • Randall Oaks Barnyard Zoo

What is your favorite place to get up-close with animals? Let us know in the Comments below.

— Wendy Altschuler & Rachelle Stoller

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Photos: Courtesy of  Lambs Farm, Santa’s Village Azoosment Park, The Center & Children’s Farm, Lincoln Park Zoo, Blackberry Farm, Forest View Farms & Equestrian Center, Randall Oaks Barnyard Zoo