If you’ve ever driven through NW Indiana down I-65, you may have noticed the signs for the Fair Oaks Farms. Currently, they have an AMAZING dairy adventure center where you can learn all about cows, the modern milking process, how cheese is made, watch a 4D movie about cow, visit the birthing barn to witness the birth of a calf, and have other dairy-themed adventures. You can get the yummiest grilled cheese sandwich in the world, eat delicious ice cream, and taste the BEST chocolate milk EVER. (Seriously. It is AMAZING milk!)
Fair Oaks Farms is currently working on a Pig Adventure, which is scheduled to open in August 2013, but a friend share with us a FREE pass to visit the Pig Adventure pre-opening weekend. This event gave the farm and the employees a ‘test run’ of how everything was going, and guests were able to leave feedback about their experience. We VERY MUCH enjoyed our visit!
Only a few weeks ago, Max said something that made all of us laugh. He and Alex were playing farm together, and I overheard this little conversation.
Alex asked, “Max, what are you growing in YOUR fields?”
Max answered, “Corn. Tomatoes. Lettuce. And meat. Cook-ed meat and Not Cook-ed meat.”
Only a few days later, my friend Angie offered me the free family pass to the Pig Adventure. Talk about good timing! We enjoyed a terrific Saturday afternoon checking out the pigs and gently breaking it to Max that meat does NOT grow in a field.
watching the pregnant mama pigs (sows)
I’d still prefer to imagine a pig in an outdoor pig pen, eating from a trough. It’s interesting to see how that isn’t the reality in these days of technology. Each pig is tagged with a microchip. the metal contraption with red squares on top is the feeder. The pig walks in through the narrow opening on the right side, and the microchip reader determines how much food to dispense for the pig. When the pig is finished eating, one of the two doors on the left side of the feeder will open. It will either release the pig back into the pen where it started, or it will release it into a hallway because it’s been determined that it is time for the pig to move to a new area to prepare for birth. (At least, that’s how I understood it.)
When the mama pig is ready to deliver her babies, she moves to a new room. Looking through glass, we were able to watch mama pigs and their sweet new babies. We were able to see a piglet born, as well! At the time we were there, the employees working with the pigs were quite busy. There is a small room, though, where they will bring a newborn pig right up to the glass so you can see it close up.
The tour guides were able to answer any questions we had, so we learned lots of new little facts!
There is also a learning center/play area where you can learn some facts about pigs and use interactive learning resources. More plans are in the works, according to one of the employees, and I look forward to taking the kids again next summer when everything is fully completed! (Their grand opening is August 2013, but we will likely wait until next year. If what this employee said was true, there’s even more to come!)
After visiting the pigs, we enjoyed a little playtime at the Dairy Adventure play area:
battery powered tractors
string cheese maze
(which isn’t terribly difficult when you’re shorter than the ropes, ha ha!)
Thank you, Miss Angie, for the free pass. We enjoyed a fun afternoon as a family!