Obloy Family Ranch, Merritt Island – FL or Bust Travel Column
Text // Photos by Kelsey Walters
Things to Do in Merritt Island
Spring is on its way with its official arrival later this month, but we have already been getting a taste of the warmer days ahead. Spring is traditionally associated with precious baby animals, and if that’s your jam, a 36-acre petting zoo in Merritt Island has more fuzzy things than you can shake a stick at!
Obloy Family Ranch is Florida’s largest petting zoo currently home to over 200 rescue animals, most of which are prime for petting. My husband, Scott, and I celebrated our own wild animal’s birthday, our daughter Avery – who turned one in February, with a fun trip to the farm. Avery is no stranger to animals. She has been raised surrounded by our family dogs and takes frequent trips to zoos and aquariums. She starts and ends each day by giving her best bud, our dog Kodi, a “pet-pet,” making this petting zoo the perfect place to practice her noggin patting skills.
Family Fun Activities in Florida
Much like Avery, the animals are very snack motivated, and will gleefully come to you for a fistful of treats and a head scratch. They are more than used to tiny hands dishing out friendly pats all day long so they proved to be very docile and sweet. Any animals that are not up for a petting (such as alligators, duh, larger pigs and the resident wild boar) are still available to visit from a safe distance.
Your admission includes a group guided tour that starts with a tractor ride to the stables and pens, and a stop at each of the animals where you will learn their names, personalities and some of their backstories.
Petting Zoo Tour includes nearly 200 Animals
Our tour started at the baby camels, Snickerdoodle and Chocolate Chip, who were very excited to see us. Unfortunately, Avery wasn’t quite as excited or prepared for such a large creature and looked on in horror as we pet them. We fed them some nibbles as she glared at them with a look that could only mean, “What the heck is that?!”
Luckily, our next stop was a little more her size and we were introduced to a barn full of week-old baby goats that the entire crowd (grown men included) absolutely went wild over. It was here that she realized maybe all these things were just some weird looking dogs and made it her mission to pet-pet every last one of them.
The rest of the tour included an abundance of donkeys (both full-size and fun-size), miniature ponies, pigs, an assortment of cows (baby ones, too!), bison, goats, and an extra fabulous, blue-eyed horse named Dream that may be a unicorn in disguise.
I especially enjoyed the chance to pet a zebra and zonkey (donkey-zebra hybrid) who both had the softest noses in the world, while Avery took delight in waddling around with the ducks and attempting to quack along with them.
Activities for a Full Day of Fun
If the afternoon with the fuzzies just isn’t enough, cabins are available on-site for rental. Horseback rides on the property trails and pony rides keep the fun going while a farm version of a tractor-pulled “train” is perfect for the little ones.
Those looking for a muddy adventure can take a ride on the off-roading monster truck. Your petting zoo tour will last around an hour and a half, depending on the size of your group, and bags of food are available for purchase at the ticket stand.
Whether you are looking for a fun afternoon with the animals, or a full day of adventures for everyone in the family, this ranch can’t be beat!
Obloy Family Ranch
165 Gator Dr, FL 32953
Mon – Sat: 9 a.m. – 6 p.m.; closed Sunday
Adults: $15; Kids 3 – 12: $9; Kids 2 and under: Free (cash only, ATM available)