small black pig in mud

Down on the Farm

Obloy Family Ranch, Merritt Island – FL or Bust Travel Column 

Text // Photos by Kelsey Walters

baby girl petting nose of donkey

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. 

baby girl in stroller and mother pet white cow through wooden fence
Photo by Scott Walters

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. 

large brown pig in mud

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?!” 

baby girl and father pet brown camel through wooden fence

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. 

baby girl pets small black baby goat in barn

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. 

white horse with blue eyes and pink snout peers over fence

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. 

baby girl walking up to group of ducks

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. 

large monster truck full of people for ride

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! 

family holds small black baby goat in barn

Obloy Family Ranch

165 Gator Dr, FL 32953

(321) 848-2486

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)

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