Fair Oaks Farms in Fair Oaks, Indiana is a second generation operational family dairy farm. It is open to the public for educational tours and learning experiences. The folks of Fair Oaks consider a trip to their farm a dairy adventure that is an "up-close, fun-filled experience.'' Visitors can observe the dairy process from start to finish.
The Grass to Glass principles of Fair Oaks supports their mission of sustaining the well-being of all the organic participants of their farm. This includes the land, crops, cows, food, and people. The experience offers tours of the dairy barn. It is a driving tour where visitors can see over 3,000 Holstein cows, witness the milking of up to 72 of these cows at the same time, and see how the manure from the Holsteins produces electricity.
The farm is a popular field trip destination. Children can be entertained by talking trees and animals that offer information and tips on caring for the earth and the environment. There is a fun room for children to let off a bit of steam and it includes a racing skeletons climbing wall, the chance to crawl through a giant block of Swiss cheese, and an opportunity to practice milking on a simulator.
The farm offers a 4-D theatre experience that lets visitors enjoy the funny and educational movie "Manure Happens.'' There is a chance for families to challenge each other in Mrs. Cowhoun's COWCULATING contest, so each member of the family can exercise their dairy knowledge.
In the birthing barn, children will love watching the miracle of cow life in action when they witness the birth of one of the 80 calves that are born each day in the barn. At the cheese factory, they can see the labor of love of these cows as the milk is made into artesian cheeses that everyone can taste, buy, and enjoy.
Group tours are welcome on the farm, as well as school field trips. This is a great short trip for families in the Mid-west, and give kids a chance to experience a side of diet and nutrition they rarely get to see. Fair Oaks focuses on sustainability, so everyone can learn how to appreciate and care for the food they eat, and the land and animals from which it came.
The farm has a full-restaurant. It is located 75 minutes from downtown Chicago, and it is open Monday through Sunday from 8-6. Bus tours run from 9-4 everyday. The cheese factory is open from 7-6. Adult admission is $10, children are $7, and annual passes are available for guests wishing to visit the farm more than twice. They can be purchased for the discounted rate of $20 for adults and $15 for children. The Fair Oaks Farms has received high praise from both casual visitors and educators as being a fun, interactive way to teach kids about the dairy process and the importance of sustainability. The farm is open year-round, but would probably be a more enjoyable trip during comfortable weather.