When it comes to mud, your kidlet likes to dig it in. And after a day at the beach, you can forget about dry, clean clothes once she’s done building and beachcombing. Hands-on is the name of your Little’s game. This spring and summer, keep the full-sensory experiences going with a trip to a petting farm or zoo. Click through the gallery to see our favorite spots where your sidekick can talk to, play with and snuggle up to all kinds of cuddly creatures!

Reptile Zoo

Make a date to spend time with a slew of slithery, scaly friends at the Reptile Zoo in Monroe. This rescue facility, dedicated to taking in mistreated animals and giving them a stellar experience as long as they hang around (and that’s saying a lot since some of their rescues can live over 150 years!), is an all-indoor experience so you can make the trek rain or shine. Once you’re there, plan to spend a flexible hour visiting with 17-year old Basker the albino alligator; Pete and Re-Pete, the two headed turtle; and a host of other reptilian faves like snakes, iguanas and tortoises. Starting at 11 a.m. daily, every hour on the hour until 5 p.m., visitors can log hands-on time with corn snakes, rosy boas and Rocko the Cuban rock iguana, before hitting up the tortoises for some face time. They’re always up for some petting and good conversation with the excited mini’s who visit them. Wrap up your trip with a picnic in their covered area. On warm, summer days you and your sidekick can nosh next to the tortoises who spend sunny days slowly free-roaming the garden.

Good to know: If you’re looking for an extra thrill, plan your trip to Monroe around the 1 p.m. weekend feeding times. There’s nothing quite like watching fierce reptiles chow down on their faves.

22715 State Route 2
Monroe, Wa 98272
360-805-5300
Online: thereptilezoo.org

photo: Anna V. via Yelp

Have you brought your animal lover to any of these farm-tastic spots? Do you plan to this spring or summer? Tell us about your experience in the Comments below! 

— Allison Sutcliffe