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May 22, 2024

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The Gentle Barn

MOM REPORT: The Gentle Barn

A visit to The Gentle Barn may be best when it's not scorching hot, but if your older kids love animals, this is a good outing on any given Sunday.

Llamas and donkeys and cows — oh my! If you’re looking to spend the afternoon with some sweet, rescued farm animals, then schedule a visit to The Gentle Barn. This non-profit organization is 40 miles south of Nashville, located in Christiana, Tennessee. The barn is home to nearly 50 animals

Older kids may enjoy The Gentle Barn experience more than toddlers since running and noise are discouraged.

including horses, chickens, alpacas, sheep, cows, donkeys, goats, a turkey and llamas. All of the animals on the farm were rescued
in some way. There is even a goat named Lolli, who uses a specialized wheelchair to move around!

Timed-Entry Tickets Available Online

The Gentle Barn is open to the public on Sunday afternoons from 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. and timed-entry tickets must be purchased in advance. There is a recommended $20 per person donation ($10 for ages 2 – 12; children under 2 are free), however no person will be turned away due to inability to pay. Since everything is outdoors, I recommend wearing long pants and closed-toe shoes. You will be petting and feeding lots of animals so bringing along some hand sanitizer is also recommended.


Rescued animals include goats — even one named Lolli who makes her way around the farm in a specialized wheel chair.

    Get there early, as it gets crowded later in the afternoon. There is a small gift shop with vegetarian snack options (of course, bring your favorite snacks and water, too). The staff at the barn are  volunteers and they take their cues from the animals’ behavior. If an animal wanders away or seems stressed, volunteers will limit interaction with that animal. All of the staff are very knowledgeable about each animal and their story of how they ended up at The Gentle Barn; however, there are really only a handful of animals that you are actually allowed to interact with. After about an hour and a half my family was done visiting with the animals.

May Be Best for Older Kids

    Know that swift movements and running toward animals is prohibited, which was a struggle for my toddler. I do not recommend children younger than 5 visiting — it’s too hard for littles to keep calm and not be loud and excited about the animals. My 7-year-old son really enjoyed petting, feeding and hugging the animals.

We spent a nice, sunny afternoon as a family getting a little bit of animal therapy.




About the Author

Kylie Ebbutt

Kylie Ebbutt works for the East Nashville based non-profit There With Care and is the proud mom of Leyton (7) and Hadley (2).