Pennings Farm With Toddlers Northern NJ www.studiomotherhood,com

We took our family apple picking at Pennings Farm this past weekend and everyone had a such a great time.  I always feel like superwoman when I get all these little people loaded in the car and to a destination with everyone still smiling and this was one of those trips.  Everyone was happy, we got a big huge bag of apples, and we even sat down and had dinner before the drive home.  We like to go here every year because the orchards are so beautiful and there’s more to do for a family with young children than just pick apples.  In addition to the orchards there are animals to see, play areas for kids, a pub, beer garden, and a store so you’ve got a little bit for adults and a little for kids.  We even scoped out a cidery on the top of the hill that we’ll have to check out at some point too.

If you’re thinking of heading to Pennings here’s a few things to note- the apples were scarce!  If you head there for apple picking be prepared to search for your apples.  That might have taken the fun out of it for my little ones but they were so focused on getting a closer look at the cows we drove by on the way in that we wrapped up apple picking within minutes and piled back into the mini to go check out the animals.

There are a few different spots throughout the farm to see some animals.  The best spot was in a pavillion that housed a whole bunch of cows directly ahead of where you pay as you enter.  My daughter was terrified until she spotted the section with the smaller baby calves.  

A quick (and muddy) walk down the dirt road towards the entrance is a play area for kids with goats.  We hung out there and let the kids wander back and forth between the wooden train, play houses, and the goats.

On the other side of the property is the store, pub, beer garden, and a gated area with a place for children to play and feed some chickens and goats.  You can either walk up the hill from the apple orchards or grab your car and drive up.  Dave and I were feeling ambitious since things were going so well and decided to bring everyone in and have some dinner.  Their food is delicious with plenty to choose from for kids (the cider is really good too).  Highchairs are available and my kids danced to the music while we were waiting for our food.  By 5:00/5:30 the place was starting to get busy so we packed it up and headed home but not before letting them go back into the play area and climb the train with all the kids a few more times.  There’s some picnic tables and benches within the enclosure for families to sit and eat or watch their children play.  If you want to get some food to feed the chickens make sure you have quarters- the machine is located right at the entrance of the enclosure and costs 2 dollars in change for a very TINY bit of pellets.  Overall, it’s a great set up for little ones to keep them entertained while you sit and sip on a cider from inside.

If you’re pregnant and in your 3rd trimester you could totally make a trip here but maybe not venture too far into the orchards to limit your walking.  It’s a pretty long walk with a big hill involved between the orchard and the pub/petting zoo area but there is the option to drive between the two.  Also, be prepared to use a porta potty if you’re in the orchard area because the closest bathrooms are all the way over by the pub.  For those with babies in diapers there is a changing table in the bathroom by the pub.  I like to provide this information because these are the details I try to find out when preparing for a trip to someplace I haven’t been before.  My moms and moms-to-be who have never been to Pennings before will find this helpful.

On our way out we picked up some cider donughts at the store and they were practically gone before Sunday.   So, so good!  Now that we have about 50 apples on my countertop I’m sifting through my old and new recipes to start baking.  I’ll share what’s good this week!