Studies show that interacting with animals can lower stress and anxiety so we tested that theory at Brackett Town Farms in Nebo, NC, about 90 minutes from Greenville, SC. After holding baby goats and bunnies, the studies are true! We are here to tell you all about this awesome farm.
“Hey, want to help me catch a baby chicken?” asks Nichole, the owner of Brackett Town Farms, right after we park and jump out of the car.
Obviously our answer is yes. This endeavor was harder than expected though. That chicken was fast! I wasn’t as persistent as my kids but they did end up helping Nicole to catch the adorable chick and then we could continue with introductions and a run through of the farm rules, which we had already broken. Rule #2 – no running and Rule #3 – no chasing animals. Thankfully we got a pass since our assistance was needed.
Brackett Town Farms is full of surprises and we totally fell in love with the small farm in Nebo, North Carolina. We absolutely think it’s worth a trip up there from the Upstate. We’ll tell you why plus give you ideas on how to make it a weekend or day trip.
About Brackett Town Farms
The farm is located on Brackett Town Road, hence the name, but the land is actually a family farm on about 300 acres. Not all of that is used for the farm and several family members live there together so think lots of fun family gatherings.
Nichole is the owner of Brackett Town Farms, which was started about six years ago and operates as a nonprofit. They don’t charge for entry and they have to fundraise and apply for grants for upgrades to the farm.
By the way, I’ve visited a lot of farms over the years I’ve been writing for Kidding Around and this farm was just gorgeous and so clean. I was impressed the second I drove up (and was asked to help catch the baby chicken).
Brackett Town Farms also serves special needs families, which is one of the reasons they don’t charge admission. They understand how tough it is for families with medically complex kids to make ends meet and wanted to give them something to do that had no cost associated with it.
The Animals at Brackett Town Farms
Baby goats. There are baby goats. I feel like this may be enough to say about Brackett Town Farms but for those of you who aren’t as obsessed with these tiny bundles of pure joy, I’ll tell you about the other animals that live at the farm.
There are two peacocks, a guinea hen, donkeys, a horse, a couple of cows, adult goats, two emus, a couple of pigs, escape artist chickens, a beautiful corn snake, and bunnies, including a Flemish Giant.
I’ve actually never seen a peacock in person before and the male was kind enough to be courting the female peacock at the farm, so he showed his beautiful feathers, which were just amazing. The female peacock was not as impressed as we were but the female guinea hen was definitely checking him out.
The bunnies at the farm are just adorable, as all bunnies are. We got to be temporary prisoners in the bunny cages for a bit as they let us pet them and learn about their individual breeds. Then we got to see Mouse, an enormous Flemish Giant bunny who loves digging and head scratches. She is very soft and friendly and bigger than the baby goats.
The donkeys are also so cute and friendly. They got jealous if we petted the goats or pigs for too long. Actually, most of the animals got jealous if they didn’t get enough attention, which was fine with us because we have a lot of love for adorable animals.
One of the cool things about Brackett Town Farm is that the animal interactions are all up to the animals themselves. They aren’t bribed with treats. In fact, you don’t feed the animals at all. These animals are obviously well taken care of and have learned to interact with humans in quite wonderful ways and respond to kindness and compassion (this is a great way to teach these traits to kids….and adults).
Lots of Learning
Did you know that a male emu sits on his partner’s eggs and incubates them for 60 days? A male penguin does the same thing. The eggs of an emu are huge – and almost sparkly black! Mind blown.
We learned how to tell when a corn snake is ready to shed, which the corn snake we got to see was about to do (their eyes kind of glaze over and look cloudy and their scales are a bit duller in color).
We also learned that bunnies can sense your heartbeat because they are prey animals. So if you go into their cage all hyped up, they will cower and won’t let you near them. But if you are nice and calm, they will be calm also.
Plus, several studies point to human-animal interaction as a method to reduce stress, anxiety, and depression. From personal experience, I’m at my most calm while holding a baby goat.
Visiting Brackett Town Farms
Visits to Brackett Town Farms are by appointment only. You can email Nichole to set up a time and date and the tour is about an hour long. We were there a little longer because well, I needed to hold those baby goats longer and we had to chase a chicken.
There’s no charge to visit but they do accept donations.
No pets are allowed at the farm and you must wear closed-toed shoes. Read over the farm rules before you go to be prepared.
There is plenty of space to bring a picnic and sit and eat at the farm. They have lots of places to sit under the shaded pine trees. There is a clean port-a-potty with a handwashing station as well as a very sweet Australian Shepherd named Phoenix who will love you forever if you play fetch with her.
Make it a Day Trip
There are a ton of things to do nearby if you’re looking to make your trip to Brackett Town Farms a day trip.
Start with our Kidding Around WNC Guide to see them all, or try a few of our favorites:
Lucky Strike Gold Mine is five minutes down the road. You can mine for gold and eat at the Miners Diner. They really have great food!
When we visited Brackett Town Farms, we brought our lunch and headed to the Lake Lure Flowering Bridge and the village of Chimney Rock, only about 35 minutes away. You can eat there, stroll through the town, or get ice cream after visiting the free Flowering Bridge.
The town of Flat Rock is also on your way back from Brackett Town Farms, where you can grab a bite to eat at the Village Bakery, browse The Wrinkled Egg next door, and then head over to The Park at Flat Rock to let your kids get their energy out at the amazing playground. They also have walking trails.
Lake James State Park is a wonderful excursion for the summer as they have a sandy mountain beach. It’s about 25 minutes from the farm.
Make it a Weekend Trip
Brackett Town Farms is just a few minutes down the road from Gold River Camp, a glamping campground with cabins, glamping tents, and small riverside tiny homes. We absolutely loved our stay there and we think you will, too.
Hiking around this area is endless. You can visit Crabtree Falls, an astounding waterfall that is part of a two-mile loop off the Blue Ridge Parkway. Grandfather Mountain is an hour away, where you can hike an insane trail where you scale ladders on the side of the mountain (they also have a non-threatening nature center and Mile High Bridge).
For more places to play with animals in the Upstate and Western North Carolina, see our Petting Zoos story.
Brackett Town Farms
555 Brackett Town Road, Nebo, NC