Farmed Animal Sanctuaries Around the U.S. Reopen for Tours After COVID Closures

Sophie Hirsh - Author

May 11 2021, Published 4:46 p.m. ET

Farmed Animal Sanctuary
Source: Lily Beth Redwood

Teenage activist Genesis Butler feeds a pig at a farmed animal sanctuary.

Even though farmed animal sanctuaries stayed open throughout the coronavirus pandemic, providing cozy forever homes to farmed animals, most sanctuaries had to stop holding tours for safety reasons. Unfortunately, that also meant sanctuaries were not receiving as much financial support as usual.

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But fortunately, as lockdown restrictions have lifted around the U.S., and as the weather has warmed up for spring, many animal sanctuaries have opened up for tours once again. So if you want to visit a farmed animal sanctuary in the near future, keep reading for a list of seven around the U.S. that are open for in-person tours as of May 2021.

Woodstock Sanctuary – New York

Cow at Woodstock Sanctuary
Source: Woodstock Sanctuary

Woodstock Sanctuary in High Falls, N.Y.’s goal is to “rescue farmed animals and give them care and sanctuary, connect animals with people to advance veganism, and advocate for animal rights in alliance with other social justice movements.”

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As of May 2021, the sanctuary is offering public tours every Sunday for a $20 donation per person. You can also book a private tour for a group of up to five people for $250, currently being offered for Fridays in May. Woodstock Sanctuary also has its own accommodation called the Gray Barn, and the sanctuary even hosts weddings on site.

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The Gentle Barn – California, Tennessee, and Missouri

The Gentle Barn is more than just a network of three sanctuaries for farmed animals — the organization also works to “[heal] children through telling the animals’ stories.” The Gentle Barn’s Christiana, Tenn. and Dittmer, Mo. locations are currently offering limited public tours on Sundays — just make sure to register in advance on the website. The sanctuary asks for a $20 donation for adults, and $10 for children 12 and under. 

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The Gentle Barn also has a third location in California. All three Gentle Barns offer two-hour, in-person private tours and field trips for $400; and the California and Tennessee locations also offer in-person “cow therapy” for $200 and virtual tours for $400.

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Rowdy Girl Sanctuary – Texas

Rowdy Girl Sanctuary in Waelder, Tex. used to be a cattle ranch — but when founder Renee King-Sonnen started to feel distraught about the baby calves being taken away for slaughter, she was inspired to go vegan. She then convinced her cattle rancher husband to work with her to convert the ranch to a farmed animal sanctuary, and he soon became vegan as well.

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For now, Rowdy Girl Sanctuary is holding off on public tours, but the sanctuary is open for two-to-four-hour private tours for groups of four people or less in exchange for a $300 donation.

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Best Friends Animal Sanctuary – Utah

Best Friends Animal Sanctuary in Kanab, Utah, is a “home-between-homes” for as many as 1,600 rescued animals at a time. In addition to farmed animals, Best Friends also rescues dogs, cats, horses, birds, rabbits, potbellied pigs, and more.  

The sanctuary offers tours every day of the week, and because there are so many animals on site, Best Friends has different tours for each of the animal areas, including the Pig & Goat Walking Tour, the Horse Haven Tour, and the Bunny House Tour.

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Catskill Animal Sanctuary – New York

Catskill Animal Sanctuary in Saugerties, N.Y. has a mission of inspiring its visitors to lead more compassionate lives — and it’s certainly working, as the sanctuary reports that 94 percent of its non-vegan visitors make plans to either go vegan or reduce their consumption of animal products after visiting.

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Catskill Animal Sanctuary began its 2021 tour season on May 1, with public 90-minute tours every Saturday and Sunday. Tours cost $15 for adults, $8 for children 3 to 12, veterans, and seniors, and $0 for children under 3. The sanctuary also offers private tours on weekdays and during the off season to members — and you can become a member for one year with a $45 donation.

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Iowa Farm Sanctuary – Iowa

Iowa Farm Sanctuary is Iowa’s first farm animal sanctuary, and it has a goal of bringing “animal liberation, activism, and awareness to the place it is needed most: Iowa, the epicenter of modern animal agriculture.”

Iowa Farm Sanctuary offers private tours for groups of up to 10 people, for a minimum donation of $250, between May and October. You can also book a Sanctuary Stroll on Sunday afternoons beginning May 16, for a $12 donation per person older than 10, and $6 for children 10 and under.

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Luvin Arms Animal Sanctuary – Colorado

Luvin Arms Animal Sanctuary in Erie, Colo. hopes to give its visitors a “deeper understanding of the unique personalities and complex emotional lives that all animals lead.”

The sanctuary currently offers two 90-minute tours: the Connect Tour, which is appropriate for all ages, and the Compassion Tour, which is suggested for ages 11 and up. Tours are available for a suggested donation of $20 per adult, and $10 per child under 12, but Luvin Arms also offers an accessible ticket level for people who are unable to afford the donation.

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