On our way to complete Phase 1

Critter Barn began in 1984 with a few animals, and in 1990 began hosting field trips for area schools. Today, 28 years later, the Critter Barn reaches over 100,000 children and adults annually with field trips, public visits, farm classes, traveling farm events, and our Special Friends program. However we are at our capacity and it's time to grow. 


Our new farm will be a rich learning ground for guests and a training ground for youth. Being informed about nutrition, herd management, animal care, and more will grow a better understanding and a respect for the work done on today's farms. 

We have successfully reached our goal of 70% of Phase 1 fund raising, allowing us to break ground on time May 14, 2019. Our goal is to raise the remaining 30% of Phase 1 by July 30 so we can build our beautiful new barns fully funded as we move onto the new property.

We will then keep right on going to Phases 2 and 3. Thank you so much for your continued support!

Click to Give to join our amazing new campaign and choose from amazing rewards, trips, and earn entries to our campaign Grand Prize. 

What's our Plan

Phase 1

  • We begin with the ground...roadways, parking lot, retention pond, pipes in the ground for drainage, water lines, and foundations for new barns
  • Building the first set of structures (barns, bunkhouses and welcome center) needed to house all the current Critter Barn animals and programs
  • Moving Critter Barn to the new location and opening the doors

Phase 2

  • Finishing our Welcome Center.
  • Our Clubhouse will be completed, hosting our Special Friends volunteer teams.
  • Production Ag buildings for Dairy Cows, Hogs, Poultry (layer hens, broilers), Turkeys, Sheep, and Beef Cattle will be built
  • The Lookout-Silo will be built. 
  • Our Woodlot improvement project includes the addition of our Giant Treehouse and accessible boardwalks throughout the woods. 

Phase 3

  • The Old Mill will be an interactive learning center about farming for all ages, plus it will house a Grain Cleaning room for local farmers producing small batches of organic grains.
  • Critter Barn’s Country House and Event Center will offer a venue for receptions, gatherings, conferences and meetings.
  • Critter Barn’s Preschool building will be a hub of activity for over 3,000 preschool children annually, through our rotational programs for local schools.


Critter Barn has acquired 27 acres of beautiful Michigan farmland in Zeeland Township, in the North-East section of 80th Avenue and Felch Street. If you are looking for our site, take Chicago Drive "around the bend" past Zeeland Hospital, then travel South on 80th.

On August 12, 2016, our Critter Crew volunteers planted a sign on our new property: Future Site of Critter Barn! With your support, we will be breaking ground next Spring.


The most exciting piece of our new farm is blending the old with the new. If you visit a long-standing “family farm” today, you’ll see the old farmhouse, barns and coops, and off to one side, several slick new steel barns with automatic feed bins and huge fans. The combination of old and new captures the story of our cultural history, connects us to the future of agriculture, and demonstrates how farming has changed over time.


Today's agriculture is run by such a small segment of the population, that most of us are unaware of the work and care that goes into modern farming. Our new farm will be a rich learning ground for guests and a training ground for youth. Being informed about nutrition, herd management, animal care, and more will grow a better understanding and a respect for the work done on today's farms. 


Our Current Buildings

Our treasured, historic barn will eventually be taken down and usable lumber will be utilized in the construction of new barns and small livestock coops on the new farm. We will see reminders of our old gambrel barn in the walls, doors, entryways and support beams throughout the new facility. We have hundreds of pieces of fencing and other usable items that will be moving with us. So even though the farm will be new, there will be plenty of reminders of the original Critter Barn around the farm.

My vision for our new farm includes all of you!

Just as we'll gather pieces of the original Critter Barn to re-purpose at the new farm,

our friendships of 28 years move with us as well. From the friends who first painted our barn and gave us animals, to those of you who fill our parking lot every day, to the children and adults who volunteer every week, this new farm is for you!


To our donors, supporters, and industry partners who have sustained this farm, the new farm is for you. We invite our community to join the journey of learning through the stories and happenings that will continue at the new farm. We look forward to your partnership and participation!

Mary Rottschafer
Founder, Executive Director

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