A few weeks ago my daughter, Stella, surprised me by asking for a visit to Wagner Farm. It’s probably been about 3 years since we were last there, but it was a favorite of hers when she was a wee one. After about a month of asking we finally had the time to make the approximately 20-mile drive from our place. I was hoping for a sunnier day to go but hey, it’s only April and we’re in Chicago so we have to take what we can get. 40-something degrees wasn’t too bad to spend a couple of hours outside.
Wagner Farm sits on 18.6 acres of land in Glenview, IL, just northwest of Chicago. It’s part of the Glenview Park District and claims to be one of the last working dairy farms in Cook County. My daughter loves it because they have 2 draft horses that she likes to visit. Since both of us are horse lovers we think it’s rather thrilling to watch the horses walk around the field, munching on the grass then going over to the water trough and having a drink. The trough is next to the fence so this means the horses might saunter over to you for a pet…probably hoping for a little treat, but signs are posted explicitly stating not to feed the livestock.
Before visiting the horses we first had to stop by the barn and cow field to say hello to the cows and see what the inside of a barn looks like. I hung out inside the barn for a bit taking lots of pics of the various milk barrels, stacks of hay and bowls of food for the farm cats (which we didn’t see), while Stella went out to chat with the cows.
Next, we had a brief stop at the chicken coop to see how the chickens were doing. They came over to check us out and seemed grateful for the visit.
Stella wanted to check out the small gift shop inside the Heritage Center so we headed indoors. The Heritage Center has interactive exhibits featuring a two-story silo and offering a glimpse of what life on a farm is really like. There’s also a general store exhibit that’s filled with items one would expect to find at a general store in the early 1900’s, mostly cans of fruits, vegetables and ‘scientifically processed’ potato chips. Sadly, I didn’t take any photos of their deli section stocked with a wide selection of plastic meats.
April is probably not the ideal time to visit Wagner Farm, but we enjoyed the slightly gray, cool day and I was very grateful that it didn’t start raining! Sometimes they have pigs and sheep, but they didn’t seem to be around for this visit which makes me think they’re only there in the warmer months. Also, during the summer they have an ice cream shop that offers refreshing treats like floats and shakes.
Of course, since Wagner Farm is part of the park district they also offer educational classes and event space rental. While we were there one of the rooms was being used for a child’s birthday party and as we were leaving we saw a flyer for vegetable growing classes that are open to the public, they also offer school programs and field trips.