You could say I’ve visited Grant’s Farm a few times over the 17+ years I’ve been a mom–it’s one of our favorite weekend family activities. The kids get to feed goats, lamas and parakeets, maybe ride a camel and eat lots of ice cream. Mom and dad get few free beers. What’s not to love?
Here’s a few tips I’ve gathered to help you have the best visit ever.
Wear comfy walking shoes, a hat and sunblock in the summer. (File this under “duh.”) The park may not be that big–and they do drive you around a lot–but remember that the Clydesdale’s barn is in the back of the parking lot. You’ll want to see them too.
You don’t need a ticket to ride the tram or see the shows. Once you pay your $12 per car to park, you’re in. I’ve seen plenty of out-of-towners looking for a ticket booth that doesn’t exists. You will need a ticket for some of the extras like the carousel or camel rides.
If it’s a nice summer day, go a little later. Grant’s Farm is busiest on summer weekends when the tourists are in town. We’ve noticed top crowds when you come early–but remember, the Farm stays open about 90 minutes AFTER the gate closes, so an afternoon visit could mean a shorter line to get in and fewer people in the beer garden. Check here for animal show hours so you don’t miss anything you want to see.
Please, leave your giant stroller or wagon at home! You’ll need to ride a tram to get into the park all strollers have to be folded up and stored in the first car. If they can’t fold it, it’s not going. They do rent strollers once you get to the Tier Garten, but the park really isn’t that big. If you can do without your giant SUV style stroller, you’ll be a happy camper. And so will the rest of us waiting in line behind you as you unpack your stroller to fold it up.
No outside food. If your in serious need of a picnic, visit nearby Whitecliff Park. Otherwise, just grab a bite to eat at the Farm. After all, Grant’s Farm offers two free adult beverages to everyone over 21, so it balances out whatever the kids might want to eat.
Conquer the Bauernhof! Lunch crowds can be big at the main beer garden, so it’s better when you have at least two adults in your group. Have one stake out a table with the kids while the other tracks down snacks/lunch/daddy’s free beer.
Or hit Tier Garden Treats for lunch. If the Brat Haus line at the main beer garden looks too long, remember that you can get brats, pizza, hot dogs and ice cream at the food stand next to the elephants. This area is rarely crowded.
Yes! They take plastic! For the longest time the Brat Haus and Tier Garden Treats only took cash. They fixed it now, so no worries if you only brought your debit card. They take Master Card and Visa.
Still, bring some cash–especially quarters. Grant’s Farm can be a pretty cheap weekend outing–there’s no admission fee and the shows are free. But…there’s a few extras you don’t want to miss! Petting the baby goats are free, but feeding them is a dollar a bottle. The camels and lamas are super friendly–feed them for 50 cents and they’ll love you forever. Take a spin on the carousel for $2–adults are free if you need to help a smaller child. Feel free to take your own photos, but a professional photo with a polished Clydesdale can be yours for $10. You can’t ride a Clydesdale, but you can ride a camel for $5.
No, you’re only getting two samples at the hospitality room. Really. You might think with all of those people stopping by for a free beer that maybe the bartenders give out an occasional extra. Nope. I’ve seen these folks in action and they remember every visitor. They often hand you a second beer with a cheery, “see you next week!”
No, they won’t let you get a beer for your wife, husband or grandma who’s watching eight kids. If you want a free beer, you’re gonna have to get it yourself. A few years ago they slimmed down the sampling selection which speeds up the line a hundred-fold. So don’t worry, you won’t wait long.
Do you want in free? Ride your bike. Bike racks are located right off Grant’s Trail, an eight mile paved path that runs from Kirkwood to Lemay. The closest trail heads are at Applebee’s on Watson and next to Norrenbern’s Lumber on Tesshire Road. You’ll save some cash and burn some calories, it’s a win-win.
See the rest of General Grant’s estate at the National Historic Site next door. Don’t even think about parking there and walking to Grant’s Farm, the Park Rangers patrol their parking lot looking for cheapskates. The Historical site has a museum and offer tours of White Haven, Julia Grant’s family homestead. Grant’s Farm, on the other hand has no problem if you leave your car in their lot at walk to the National Park. Look for the steps to Grant’s Trail over by the front gate, it’s just a few hundred feet between Grant’s Farm and the historical site.