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The Animal Lover’s Day Trip: Visit a NY State Farm Animal Sanctuary

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Visit a Farm Animal Sanctuary in New York State

If a vacation or day trip with a purpose is on your to-do list this summer, then why not visit one of the three farm animal sanctuaries New York state has to offer. Not only will you get the chance to take in the great serene countryside and be around animals, but a visit to a farm animal sanctuary brings fun, education and charity into your family’s summer adventures, along with a sense of calmness and compassion.

New York state houses three major farm animal sanctuaries that rescue and care for farm animals. As a visitor, you’ll get up close and personal with many of the animals being cared for, including horses, cows, goats, sheep, chickens, ducks and pigs. Many of the animals have been rescued from horrific situations, and are being rehabilitated at the sanctuaries either to live out their lives there or to be adopted into permanent homes, where they’ll be taken care of as companion animals. Each sanctuary provides scheduled tours, educational materials and special events; all also have gift shops. These are not petting zoos—the animals here are docile and friendly and some are free-range (able to wander the property on their own). These three NY farm animal sanctuaries all make for a great day or weekend trip.

woodstock farm animal sanctuaryWoodstock Farm Animal Sanctuary is a little over an hour’s drive south of Albany and takes you through scenic and bustling downtown Woodstock, where you can fit in some shopping and people watching after your visit. The sanctuary is about seven miles past downtown Woodstock and is nestled in the Catskill Mountains. Free-range animals wander the property, enjoying their interactions with humans. An interesting fact about the WAS is that a majority of their animals come from the streets of New York City, where they often lived in isolation, terror and many times painful circumstances. You’ll see them happy and playful in their new environs. Enthusiastic animal loving tour guides will also accompany you along the way, sharing many of the animals’ stories.

Visiting hours are from April 1 through October 31, Saturday and Sunday only, from 11am to 4pm, with the last tour beginning around 3 pm. Special events are scheduled throughout the summer and volunteer opportunities are also aplenty. Admission is $10 for adults, $5 for kids (children ages 3 and under get in free). Members of WAS also get in free and there are a variety of membership levels available. The sanctuary relies 100% on donations to operate and rescue and rehabilitate more animals as needed. WAS is located at 35 Van Wagner Road, Willow, NY.

catskill animal sanctuaryCatskill Animal Sanctuary, located in the Hudson Valley region of the state, is in close proximity to a variety of restaurants, bed and breakfasts and lodging facilities, many of which cater to vegans and vegetarians alike. CAS is situated on over 80 acres. Besides the magnificent scenery, one of the great perks about this sanctuary is that you’ll have a chance to attend a special tour with the sanctuary’s Executive Director and Founder, Kathy Stevens. You can also pick up a copy of one (or both) of her published books in the gift shop; these books provide intimate information on many of the animals living at the sanctuary, including stories of their previous lives and their transformations through being cared for at the sanctuary.

CAS rescues and rehabilitates animals that have suffered from abuse, neglect and abandonment and provides them with a permanent home. The sanctuary also adopts out their animals, when ready, to suitable homes to live out the rest of their lives fear and abuse-free. During your visit, you can greet, pet and cuddle with many of the free-range animals.

Tours run April 2 through October 30, beginning at 10am and running every hour until the last tour at 2pm.  Admission is $10 for adults, $5 for seniors and children 12 and under. There are membership opportunities, as well as group tours. Groups of 10 or more can call the education director at 845-336-8447 x224 to set up a private tour, although they cannot always accommodate these on Saturdays. On Sundays, visitors can register for a private tour with Kathy Stevens from 12pm- 2pm. Admission for these private tours is free, however donations are encouraged and appreciated. Weekday visits can be arranged for members and animal sponsors. CAS is located on 316 Old Stage Road, Saugerties.

Farm Sanctuary, Finger LakesFarm Sanctuary is one of the largest and most famous rescue and refuge facilities in the country, so it’s definitely worth the longer drive and an overnight (or longer) stay. Located in Watkins Glen, NY, near the Finger Lakes region, the sanctuary offers an on-site bed and breakfast, which overlooks its private and serene 175-acre property. The B&B consists of three spacious cabins that are available for guests; in addition, there’s a People Barn for all visitors to enjoy, which is chock full of educational information, and also has a kids area and a large gift shop.

Gene Baur, founder of the Farm Sanctuary (and published author) travels the country and appears on national television shows promoting veganism and animal rescue. The farm also has a second, 300-acre, location in California. The animals here have also been rescued and rehabilitated from oftentimes elaborate and disturbing cases of cruelty and neglect.

The town of Watkins Glen is an extremely vegan friendly town, and during your stay, you can also partake of some good hiking, shopping and other activities.

Farm Sanctuary tours are offered May through October with the first tour beginning at 11am and the last one starting at 3pm. Tours are offered Wednesday through Sunday (except for the months of May and October, where they’re offered on Saturdays and Sundays only). Admission for the tours are $5 (children 3 and under are free). Farm Sanctuary is located at 3150 Aikens Rd, Watkins Glen, NY.

–Nicole M. Berhaupt is a Contributor to The Free George.

The Free George is the online magazine and visitors’ guide of Upstate NY, covering things from Albany to Lake Placid, including Saratoga, the Lake George region and the Adirondacks. Check out our new City Blogs section for our extended coverage areas as well.

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