Four places to see lambs in Chicago

Nothing says Spring like cute baby lambs. We’ve found four family-friendly places to see the little guys around Chicago.

Nothing says Spring like cute baby lambs. We’ve found four family-friendly places to see the little guys around Chicago.

What child doesn’t love baby animals? Even adultscan’t resist the feel of a soft, downy chick or the sight of aspindly-legged newborn lamb. Right now, sheep farms across Illinoisare in the midst of spring lambing. Plan to spend an hour or twogreeting the new arrivals, or make it a day by including otherlocal points of interest.

Bill Royer welcomes you to his 56-acre farm in Washington, aboutthree hours from downtown Chicago, where he and his family raiseSuffolk sheep. Bill is looking forward to the birth of nearly 25lambs between late January and March. If you visit, expect to petand hold, and possibly bottle-feed, a baby lamb. Call Bill at (309)472-3231 or email
to set up a tour.

Also of interest:

WildlifePrairie Park offers picnic areas and food to buy on site. Stop
for lunch and see bison, elk and deer.

TheCaterpillar Visitor Center in Peoria also is a worthwhile stop,
full of interesting, family-friendly exhibits.

Royer Farm

Sandy Schrader keeps a small flock of cormo sheep on herthree-acre farmstead in Waterman. Walk through the original pegbarn with Sandy as she shares the history of the farm and see thegentle cormo sheep, prized for their fine, soft fleece. Sandy willeven demonstrate carding/flicking raw wool and spinning it intoyarn. To arrange a visit, call Sandy at (815) 264-9047, or

Also of interest:

ChiefShabbona Forest Preserve offers beautiful nature trails, a
playground and shelter houses.

Shabbona Lake StatePark has picnic areas, hiking trails and abundant wildlife.

Clear View Farm

Pioneer Farm in Hampshire is home to a flock of more than 60registered Dorset sheep as well as goats and chickens. EverySaturday and Sunday in March, April and May, Pioneer Farm hostsOpen Farm Days 9 a.m.-3 p.m. Watch sheep shearing, and hold a babylamb or chick; shell popcorn grown on the premises and pop it onsite. Visitor fees are $5 per person; $11 per family (up to fourpeople).

Also of interest:

The Diecke Discovery Zone in DieckePark, Huntley, features an engaging, special-needs-friendly
playground. Eat lunch at the Old West Steakhouse at Donley’s Wild West Town in Union.

Pioneer Farm

Located just outside Atlanta, between Peoria and Springfield,Clint Garey and his son keep a flock of docile Tunis sheep. TheGareys have been in the sheep business for more than 25 years. CallClint at (217) 648-2784 to arrange a visit to his freshly paintedbarn to see the spring lambs.

Also of interest:

The town of Atlanta is located on historic Route 66 and offersmany interesting attractions, including a 19-foot-tall Paul Bunyanfigure holding a hotdog, and the blue plate special at the 1930sPalm’s Grill Café. See for
more information.

Garey’s Tunis Sheep Farm

Eight years ago Sandy Schrader realized a long-held dreamwhen she bought her own farmstead in Waterman. She planned to startwith a dairy cow and some chickens, but it didn’t quite turn outthat way.

“I bought a few sheep to keep the cow company, and justnever got around to getting the cow,” Sandy says with asmile.

Schrader owns Clear ViewFarm, a three-acre homestead with the original farmhouse and
peg barn. She keeps a small flock of Cormo sheep, a half dozen
chickens, and a dog named Rusty.

Her know-how came from books, other sheep owners, andworking on her grandparents’ dairy farm.

There are no corn mazes or merry-go-round rides at ClearView Farm. This is a working farm, though Schrader welcomesvisitors and the chance to share her love of the sheep and thefarmstead.

Shading her eyes from the sun, she watches her sheepnuzzle the grass for stray bits of corn. She sighscontentedly.

“There is nothing more satisfying than seeing your flockout grazing, and you know that all is well for rightnow.”

Meet Sandy Schrader

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