This review of Fair Oaks Farms has been submitted by Nicole Wiltrout of Arrows Sent Forth.
A stop at Fair Oaks Farms in northern Indiana is a great opportunity to teach your kids where their milk, cheese and ice cream comes from. Fair Oaks Farms is one of the largest dairy farms in the country. You’ll see cows being milked on a mass scale. Often, you’ll get to see a calf being born in the birthing room. While it’s not an organic farm and the sheer number of cows being raised there (30,000+) can be a bit overwhelming, the farm is committed to sustainable practices. It’s a chance to see what life is like on a real, working farm.
Fair Oaks Farms is also great because it’s one of the few stops on the three-hour stretch between Chicago and Indianapolis that offers kids something to do. Anyone who has traveled this stretch of road knows that it’s quite rural and lacks entertainment options or pit stops beyond fast food restaurants and gas stations. Read more about Nicole’s experiences at Fair Oaks Farms here and here.
Distance from the nearest interstate: Less than one mile from I-65
Date last visited: September, 2010
Hours of operation: Monday-Saturday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Sunday 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. (Central time)
Admission cost: To take the Dairy Adventure tour, cost is $10 for adults and $7 for kids 3-12. In addition to the tour, this includes access to the Mooville play area (a large dairy farm-inspired outdoor playground) and the Dairy Fun Room, an indoor exhibit space devoted to educating kids about dairy farming.
The tour itself is probably not ideal for kids three and under. Our little guy (18 months old at the time) got pretty squirmy, although he did enjoy getting to see the cows. Next time we visit, we’ll skip the bus tour and spend more time letting him explore the playground and the Dairy Fun Room.
Dining options: If the admission price is beyond your budget, you should still plan a stop at the Cheese Factory building on the property. Here you can get Fair Oaks cheese, ice cream, milk, grilled cheese sandwiches, and other gifts. We ordered some delicious grilled cheese sandwiches and bought some of their cheese cubes to snack on the road. There is also a Subway at this exit.
Directions: Take I-65 to Exit 220 (Winamac/SR 14). Fair Oaks Farms is located just west of the exit. You can see the big barns from the highway and there are plenty of signs to direct you.
Nicole Wiltrout is a stay-at-home mom (who rarely stays home) and lives in Columbus, Indiana. Nicole writes about adventures at home and away with her husband and two-year-old son at http://arrowssentforth.com. You can also find her on Twitter at @arrowssentforth. She loves Hoosier road trips and is an Expert Blogger for the state’s tourism blog, the Indiana Insider at Visit Indiana.