After petting and feeding llamas, alpacas, pigs, chickens, guineas, donkeys, cows, horses, bunnies – and goats, of course – my littlest grandson asked if we could pet the emus.
“Well, let’s just see,” I said as I lightly touched the neck of one of the large, cartoon-like birds. The growling that came from that creature made me doubt my ears. Had that sound really come from that tall, skinny bird?
Indeed, it had, confirmed Hannah Moore, who was showing us around. In fact, only the females can produce the drumming sound because she has an inflatable pouch in her throat that her smaller male counterpart does not.
Our visit to Wild Goats Farm in Clarksburg was plentiful with delightful moments and insight about a menagerie of resident animals. Now open to the public by appointment, the spacious farm – located in the Flag Run, Sardis area – has been owned by the family for some 40 years.
Owner Julie Moore said if someone had told her back then that this would one day be her life – one that she loves – she wouldn’t have believed it.
“I wasn’t a country girl. I came from the city, and this was my husband (Shannon’s) family property,” said Julie, as she tried to persuade a llama to join our family picture.
The family was raising only goats and cows in 2019, then the farm began growing. Along came COVID and she found herself working from home. Then, after experiencing some empty nest syndrome when daughter Hannah and son Tanner graduated from high school, she began adding new family members – animal family members.
“All of our animals are super friendly, as you can tell, and I wanted to share my love of the animals with everyone else,” Julie said. “And I wanted to provide something for families to do here in the Clarksburg area.”
The farm opened to the public in late summer of 2022 and this summer, it is in full swing.
“We have at least two to three groups each week,” said Hannah Moore, adding that she – a photographer – and her mom both hold full-time jobs in addition to farm duties.
Folks can book an appointment at Wild Goats Farm on its Website HERE or by calling 304-626-0499. With flexible schedules, Julie and Hannah try to accommodate time slot requests, but they must know at least 24 hours in advance.
On their 140-acre farm, the Moores have about 100 animals total and about half of them are part of the petting farm, which is named, by the way, after some of its oldest residents.
“We’ve had goats since I was little,” Hannah said. “They took off and wouldn’t come down for food. They would just scavenge for themselves. We hadn’t seen them for
like five years, then they came back. Those goats aren’t part of the petting farm. But, that’s where we got our name.”
The day we visited, the Moores had just discovered litters of piglets and guinea pigs. From the rolling fields to the barn to a goat playground – complete with sliding board – there are animals everywhere and our little ones loved each one they discovered more than the last. We all took a particular liking to a mama llama named Sugar Cookie and her sweet baby Hendrix. Winnie the miniature donkey got his share of love, too. Peaches the peacock displayed quite a colorful show and Teddy the llama planted a kiss right on my youngest daughter’s lips.
Wild Goats Farm also features a Russian tortoise, who loves to have his shell brushed and sprayed with water. The breed needs to stay hydrated, and our little visitors obliged in accommodating him.
The farm is just about 30 minutes from Bridgeport and well worth the trip. If you have a couple hours to spare, I can speak for my crew when we say we highly recommend it. The cost is $5 per adult and $4 per child, plus $3 per person to feed the animals. (Note: If purchasing tickets online, a credit card fee is added.) It is recommended that you wear old shoes or boots. The day we visited was a rainy one. Most of the animals were in the barn, but that didn’t prevent our little rugrats from exploring every mud puddle and even crossing a stream by going right through the middle.
Oh, by the way, if the llamas look familiar, you may have previously seen them at the Hewes farm on Meadowbrook Road. They were a recent – and quite popular – purchase.
There are plans for the farm to continue to grow. Future opportunities will include a pick-your-own flower bouquet and a pumpkin patch.
And on Sept. 2 and 3, the farm is partnering with Hannah’s photography business, Hans Images, to host on-site weddings.
Stay up to date at Wild Goats Farm Facebook page HERE.
See more photos of my family’s adventures at Wild Goats Farm in the gallery below.
Julie Perine can be reached at 304-848-7200 ext. 2 or email@example.com.