Our purpose is clear... we are called to serve children and young people of West Michigan and beyond through a working farm that provides hands-on experiences of learning and inspiration!
After a day of class at the Critter Barn, Hailee turned and exclaimed, "This was the best day of my whole life!"
She has found purpose and meaning for her life as she has grown friendships with others who care for the animals at our farm. Hailee is in her third year of volunteering. She always wears a smile!
After a long day of volunteering, Cora's mom came to pick her up. "You know she'd sleep here if she could," she said, "this has been so good for her!"
Cora smiled, "Yeah, that's right, there's no place that I'd rather be."
What's our Goal ?
build our first barns - build Lolly's Place - move in May of 2021!
"Lolly's Place" is our Small Livestock Barn, dedicated to the memory of our dear friend, founding board member and long-time volunteer, Lolly Vanden Bosch.
The TOTAL layout for the new farm can be seen in the full site plan
(click below to see the PDF file).
We need the help of our community as we grow one stage at a time.
First things first... Phase 1
• The roadways, parking lot, retention pond, water main, drain field and pipes galore are in the ground completed.
• We are building our first group of barns!
• This first build will take at least four months to complete.
• Then we will move the animals and current operation to this new site, and get ready to OPEN OUR DOORS FOR YOU!
Large Animal Barn Foundation
Large Animal Barn
What else is planned?
• Our entire facility will be barrier free and inclusive, meaning the New Critter Barn will truly be for everyone. Our farm will be equipped with adaptive equipment for persons with disabilities. Our entire site is being planned to qualify for licensing by the Global Universal Design Commission. Our architects have helped to plan every detail so we can be true to our Mission…all ages and all abilities. If you have questions, please contact our Design Committee through firstname.lastname@example.org.
• Our Woodlot will include a totally accessible Giant Treehouse and several Boardwalk Pathways throughout this beautiful 4.2 acres of woods that will lead up to the Giant Treehouse.
• We're planning a beautiful Monitor Barn that will serve as a Welcome Center and meeting place. A Monitor Barn has a raised section running along the ridge of the roof, with windows on the sides of the monitor section, to let in lots of natural light. Inside the barn will be a farm store, a gathering area, Farmer's Hall, an all purpose room, our "Wall of Honor" and a Resource Room for our guests who need specific and unique accommodations. We are also building Bunkhouses for overnight stay.
• 12 small huts for outdoor Study Stops around the farm will allow guests to observe the farm with the protection from sun and rain. A small Gable barn (with a simple A shape sloped roof) for our Volunteer Special Friends program is planned for the North side of the farm, so persons at our farm who have disabilities or special needs will have a great place to meet before and after volunteering!
• Our new rabbit room offers more space for rabbits to be out of the cages with you. Indoor pens and tables along with outdoor pens will be a favorite, so we are making the room king sized!
• Critter Barn’s future Country Farmhouse and Event Center will offer a venue for catering, receptions, conferences or any size meeting from 10 to 250 people.
• Critter Barn’s Preschool building will be a hub of activity for over 3,000 preschool children annually, through our rotational program for local schools. Our facility will also offer local schools unique opportunities for long -term study for students at all grade levels.
Future Rabbit Room
Large Animal Barn Washroom
Clean hands... Absolutely!
• At the new farm, you'll be able to wash your hands at multiple "giant" sinks located in many buildings. That's just one of the expanded features we're planning. Enjoy more spaces for people and animals everywhere!
• Mini-Production Agricultural Model buildings will be built for Dairy Cows, Hogs, Layer Hens, Broiler Chickens, Turkeys, Sheep, and Beef Cattle. Staff and students will work in all of these barns.
• Our new barns will have real restrooms, wider hallways, larger rooms inside for visiting animals and larger classrooms for groups. There will also be more room for animals, inside and outside, and real pastures for many of our animals to graze.
Click on any image below to open a larger view.
Cargill Kitchen Solutions
County Farm Bureaus
Allegan & Ottawa
Dairy Council of Michigan
Hop Agency FB Ins
Herbruck’s Poultry Ranch
Michigan Allied Poultry
Michigan Wheat Program
Schipper Eggs, LLC
Spring Meadow Nursery
Vanden Bosch, Harv
Vander Kooi, John
Walters Gardens, Inc
Zeeland Farm Services