Allaire Community Farm: Nurture Through Nature

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Every time we step on the grounds of Allaire Community Farm in Wall Township, New Jersey, there’s a calm feeling that comes over us, and we know we are somewhere special. The adorable, well-kept red barns, super-friendly animals, and interactive, kid-friendly environment make us feel at home. But the farm is more than a place to visit—Allaire Community Farm gives special attention to teens facing mental health issues, veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder, special needs adults and children, and families battling cancer. It’s a place with meaning and purpose, with a unique blend of equine therapy, animal therapy, and vocational training. The non-profit farm is open to visitors from April through November, and during the holiday season, there is a joyous Old Fashioned Christmas with a petting zoo, Santa, model trains, tractor and train rides, and lots of twinkling lights. Read on for all you need to know about Allaire Community Farm, and for more animal fun, check out our guide to petting zoos in NJ. (feature photo taken at Allaire Community Farm)

Allaire Community Farm: “We Nurture Through Nature”

Allaire Community Farm sign New Jersey

Allaire Community Farm has everything from fresh eggs to a petting zoo and various farm programs. Photo taken at Allaire Community Farm.

Explore the farm 

When you first enter the farm, you walk through an adorable barn with a farmers market that includes everything from fresh honey to Allaire Community Farm apparel. There’s a small fee to enter, and you can also purchase special food to feed a majority of the animals on the farm. My kids noticed the tractors and outdoor play equipment they could climb, sway, and spin on. Next, they saw a huge mechanical cow they could actually “milk,” giving a very accurate representation of what it would be like to milk one. They then made their way into the first barn filled with goats, chickens, ducks, and more. The ducks were very lively, and the goats were so fun to watch as they climbed and said hello. My kids were even more excited to find another barn with adorable ponies. We then visited the cow, Lilly the pig, and many other animals in the outdoor areas. The animals were so playful and friendly, and they were more than happy to be fed the feed we purchased in the barn.

Allaire Community Farm animals New JerseyJack and Jill were our family’s favorite animals to feed on the farm, and we were excited to learn that we could also sponsor them. Photo taken at Allaire Community Farm.

Sponsor an animal

When you interact with the animals, it doesn’t take much before you start developing a bond with several of them. My kids quickly attached to Jack and Jill, they were so gentle and a joy to spend time with during our visit. We were happy to learn that we could directly support an animal of our choice on the website, like Penny the Horse, Lilly the Pig, or Reeses the Goat. All funds raised through the sponsorship program will be used to support the animals’ care, including food and medical costs. There is a monthly subscription for $25 and an annual subscription for $200.

Allaire Community Farm ponies New Jersey

The ponies were so gentle and beautiful to see up close. Photo taken at Allaire Community Farm.

Get on the saddle

When my kids saw the horses, the assistants told us about the equine care and horseback riding programs. Through the equine programs, your kiddo can gain independence and problem-solving skills by learning how to ride a horse, identify the parts of a horse, how to groom, and more. After an initial evaluation, English and Western riding lessons are available for children ages 3 and up. The class covers horse care, grooming, riding, and tacking. PATH International (Professional Association of Therapeutic Horsemanship International) certified horseback riding classes for special needs populations are also available.

Allaire Community Farm

See Santa at Allaire Community Farm. Photo taken at Allaire Community Farm

Celebrate the holidays at Allaire Community Farm

Even though we go a lot in the spring and summer, we always make a point to visit Allaire Community Farm during the holiday season. It’s always a highlight when we hop on the Yuletide Wagon Ride through the horse field, pastures, and tunnel of lights, all in the glow of the tractor in front of us. Visiting Santa in his Toy Shop is always another favorite part of our visit—my kids talk to him about their lists while I take photos, and they give us a little keepsake book to remember the precious moment. This year, we were thrilled to see a new walking tour with an illuminated path to the outdoor petting zoo, where the animals can be fed outside. Our kids were free to follow the pathways, touch trees, and get closeups of the twinkling light displays. Also new this year is an adorable Polar Express Ride that takes you past the paddocks and the Mighty Christmas Village. Make sure you visit the market to pick up old-fashioned hot chocolate, hot cider, baked goods, hot dogs, soda, and holiday gifts. If you want to take a break, there are Christmas movies in the pavilion, and stop by the Model Train House to watch the trains whiz by in a charming landscape. 

Allaire Community Farm goats New JerseyThe goats were so entertaining—how can you resist volunteering here? Photo taken at Allaire Community Farm.

How Allaire Community Farm gives back to all

The farm, founded by JoAnn and Sean Burney, was a dream of Sean’s that turned into so much more than he ever imagined. Then, when the Burneys started to see visitors with special needs respond positively to the farm environment, the founders knew they were onto something. Now, the farm aims to utilize its rescue animals and working farm environment to “nurture through nature” while focusing on teens facing mental health issues, veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder, special needs adults and children, and families battling cancer.

You can’t help but feel the positivity and love at Allaire Community Farm—the environment supports everyone from the animals to the visitors to the volunteers and more. And it’s their program, the Harvesting Occupational and Personal Excellence (HOPE), that strives to provide a meaningful, individualized, goal-driven approach to support individuals with intellectual and/or developmental disabilities. The participants are interns who complete meaningful work like animal care jobs and gardening to help run the farm and learn basic job skills. The program was developed by a special education teacher and a speech-language pathologist. While walking through the farm, it was inspiring to see how hard the founders, JoAnn and Sean Burney, worked to keep the animals happy and healthy and how they strived to help others in need of support.

Allaire Community Farm cow New Jersey

The mechanical cow that you can milk is a must-see at Allaire Community Farm. Photo taken at Allaire Community Farm.

What to know before you go

Dogs and picnicking are prohibited on the farm, so leave the coolers and food home. Also, the animals are on specialized diets, so animal food is available for a small fee. The Old-fashioned Christmas event runs from November 24, 2023, through December 23, 2023, on Thursdays through Sundays from 4 PM – 8 PM. Tickets are $6 for children and $10 for adults. Santa Claus will be visiting from 5 PM to 7 PM. Add-ons include the Polar Express Train, feed bags, Yuletide Wagon ride, and pictures with Santa (by donation). All event proceeds go directly to supporting the Allaire Community Farm rescued animals over the winter season. Just be sure to get your animal feed for the petting zoo and tickets for the train ride when you check in (otherwise, you have to pay cash for the wagon ride, which could take some time). Birthday parties are big at Allaire—kids can visit the petting zoo, feed the animals, gather eggs in the hen house, and even milk a mechanical cow. The two-hour party includes a wagon ride around the 25-acre property. There are also fun add-ons like the barrel train ride or party favors. My kids were thrilled to learn this and hope to have a party there one day soon.

Allaire Community Farm
1923 Bailey’s Corner Road
Wall Township, NJ 07719
(
732) 796-3298

To learn more about Allaire Community Farm, visit their website and follow along on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

Has your family been to Allaire Community Farm?

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About Author

Melanie Bodner has always had a love for writing, but now she has a new love…being a mom. Before having her kids, Melanie was no stranger to writing or working with children. She wrote for a local newspaper as a reporter and taught English and Dance in a public school. Now Melanie enjoys spending time with her kids, doing yoga, writing and decorating her home. Check out her Instagram @burlapbythebeach.

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