Have you been to the only pig museum in America? Did you even know there was a pig museum in America? Have you ever heard of a pig museum right here in Missouri?
Neither had I when my mother, Karen Leonard, suggested it. My mom is a retired teacher and loves trips that she considers educational. She also happens to be an animal lover and was insistent that we had to visit Where Pigs Fly Farm and Pigs Aloft Museum.
As a dutiful daughter, I agreed and loaded up my large family and met my mom at the place. It's a farm, complete with a big red barn, located near Linn, Mo. When you get there, you have to get out and open the gate to let yourself in, as well as close the gate once you drive through.
The purpose of the gate is to keep the free roaming animals from getting out onto the road and being hit by a car.
The farm is actually an animal rescue operation that also serves as a petting zoo and tourist destination. The animals on the farm have all been rescued and are living their days on the farm. Some are available for adoption such as the cats, dogs, and pigs.
The petting zoo aspect of the farm and the admission price helps fund the animal rescue operation. Admission to the farm is only $3 a person, which includes a bag of treats that visitors can feed to the animals.
If you're interested in taking your children, school class, scout troop, youth organization, or any other kind of group to the farm, they can expect a farm experience. Most of the animals on the farm are free-range, including goats, chickens, ducks, pigs, cats, and dogs.
There are some that are not free-range, such as ferrets, birds, rabbits, donkeys, mules, horses, cattle, alpacas, and llamas, but visitors can interact with them too, via a hay ride that only costs $1 per person or visiting their enclosure.
Visitors are invited to feed the animals from the treat bag they're provided when they check in at the museum. However, small children should be monitored by an adult because the animals are animals and will definitely follow the food.
This could be a little scary for a little one when they're surrounded by a ring of goats after a cracker. My littlest girl, Bryndlee, had to give me her crackers because she got a little scared of the mob of goats surrounding her. She wasn't ever in any danger, but when you're little, a gang of goats can be intimidating. Other than that one time, she had an absolute blast at the farm.
The hay-ride was also kid-approved. We loaded up on an ATV drawn wagon and toured the fenced off portions of the farm. Our driver stopped at various animals' locations to allow the passengers to feed crackers, carrots, or other treats to the donkeys, mules, horses, cattle, llamas, pigs, alpacas, and other occupants of those areas.
My sister, Jerrica, and I both had the pleasure of getting a lap full of wet cow face, much to the amusement of the rest of the family. We're good sports though, and cow drool isn't life threatening. Bryndlee spent most of the ride bouncing from side to side of the wagon trying to feed whatever animal was on either side and generally, really, enjoying herself.
I can make some recommendations for visitors at this point. First off, I should have listened to my husband and wore tennis shoes. Flip-flops leave your feet exposed to accidentally getting stepped on by pigs or goats. Pants or capris would probably have been a better choice as well because it is an actual farm.
Once the hayride is over, you return to the spot you left, in a field below the pig museum. At the rear of the museum is the cat house and visitors can pet the cats that come and go freely. Be careful, however, or you'll find yourself wanting to take one home with you and with an adoption fee of just $10, that's a very real hazard.
Beyond the cat house is another building that has enclosures for ferrets, birds, guinea pigs, rabbits, and other smaller animals that need to be caged.
Visitors can step inside the enclosures and interact with the animals there as well as feed them, if they want to. However, visitors are cautioned to be careful with the parrots and their fingers.
We finished our visit with the Pigs Aloft Museum which is an interesting look at pigs in our culture. It's a farmhouse where the rooms are full of pig images, memorabilia, and famous pigs. As an example, there is a collection of Miss Piggy and Piglet, from Winnie the Pooh, memorabilia. The museum is also actively looking for donations of pig art, collectibles, figurines, and other pig related memorabilia.
Where Pigs Fly Farm is a unique place to visit that offers a family-friendly atmosphere where visitors can have a farm and petting zoo experience at a very affordable price. My children, all five of them, highly recommend it. Bryndlee would like to move in and become a resident so it makes for a fun day trip.
A lot of the animals are also available for adoption and prices are $10 for cats and kittens, $25 for piglets, and $100 for goats. Other animals must be enquired about and depend on the costs the operation has had to put into them to get them healthy from their rescue experience.
The farm is planning to build an Animal Care Center this year, according to its website called Rector Animal Care Clinic. The clinic will be offering low cost spaying and neutering, as well as low cost preventative care veterinary services.
If you go....
Admission: $3 per person
Hay ride: $1 per person
Directions: Take highway 50 west through Linn, Mo. You will see the big red barn sitting high on the hill on the right hand side of the road, just three miles east of Linn Technical College.
Hours: 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily