Quick! Name the first adjective that comes to mind for the animal “Pig.”
Pink? Fat? Sloppy?
That’s not how Kat Morse, 37, described the baby pig she and her son, Etienne, 4, had a chance to pet recently at The Suffolk County Farm and Education Center in Yaphank.
“I didn’t really realize how soft they were,” says Morse, who was at the farm with her husband, David, and her own baby, Eloise, 11 months. The family was visiting David’s parents — he grew up in East Patchogue though Morses live in Geneva, Switzerland, where David works in a physics lab.
WHEN | WHERE 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., with last entry at 2:30 p.m. on May 14 at The Suffolk County Farm and Education Center, 350 Yaphank Ave., Yaphank
COST $15 per person in advance, $20 at the door, children younger than 3 are free. 631-852-4600, ccesuffolk.org. The farm is typically free; Baby Animal Day is a fundraising supporting farm educational programs.
Families will have a chance to touch the piglets themselves during the farm’s Baby Animal Day on May 14. “We are bringing back this festival for the first time since 2019,” says Brittany Naumann, 4-H education program manager for the farm. In previous years, the farm fundraiser has drawn up to 6,000 people, Naumann says. “People love baby animals. How could you not? They’re so cute. They’re like everything that’s good in the world,” she says.
LEARN ABOUT THE ANIMALS
In addition to interacting with the babies, families will learn about them.
Piglets? “They are as smart as a 2 or 3-year-old child, and just as stubborn. They use oinks and snorts to communicate,” Naumann says. A farm educator will hold each piglet while visitors pet them. “They are loud. We don’t want anyone to get scared and drop them,” Naumann says. Pigs don’t just have one baby at a time. “The biggest litter I’ve seen here is 23. I haven’t seen a litter smaller than 10,” she says.
Chicks? Their heads are the size of a quarter, their eyes are blinking black dots, and Naumann says their feet, which seem too big for their bodies, remind her of dinosaur feet. Volunteer 4-H members will hold the fluffy chicks and answer children’s questions about them.
Kid goats? Everybody will get five to 10 minutes to play with the baby goats inside their pen, Naumann says. “They are so friendly,” says Madyson Perrone, 10, of Lake Ronkonkoma, who was petting a kid goat named Luke recently. Says Naumann: “Goats are like dogs. They want head scratches and want to be your friend.”
Lambs? “Sheep are a lot more shy around people,” Naumann says. “They’re kind of like cats. ‘Do you have food? If not, I don’t want to be around you.’ ”
MORE THAN JUST BABIES
The festival includes more than just baby animals. Visitors can feed the grown goats and sheep, with feed sold for $3 per bag. They can see the farm’s horses, chickens, peacock and even a llama and an alpaca.
The farm will unveil a new wood train and wood tractor for the children’s playground at the festival. Children will also be able to play on real tractors and on the farm’s wooden seesaw.
A touch-a-truck component to the festival will include farm equipment and Suffolk County police department vehicles.
Tractor-drawn wagon rides around the farm are included with admission, and there will be live music and more than a half-dozen food trucks in the picnic area.
Naumann says she is hoping for a beautiful, warm day because the event is entirely outdoors. There’s no rain date.
MORE WAYS TO SEE BABY ANIMALS
“We have babies all the time,” says Barbara Albach, a director at the Long Island Zoological Society Animal Farm Petting Zoo in Manorville. “There’s usually baby pigs. There’s always baby goats and baby sheep. We do have a baby donkey that is just adorable. He’s a miniature donkey, gray with a black stripe down the back.” The baby Nigerian dwarf goats, she says, “love people. They love to be held. You can pick them up and they’ll fall asleep in your arms.” The animal farm will let children snuggle with baby bunnies on their lap, Albach says. Hours are 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. seven days a week, weather permitting. Entry is $16.95 per adult and $14.95 per child ages 2 to 16 and senior citizens; tickets can be purchased at the door only. Children 1 and younger are free. 296 Wading River Rd., Manorville. 631-878-1785, afpz.com.