Usually, the promise of playing with goats is all it takes to get the team at Kidding Around interested. We may have a slight obsession with goats around here at Kidding Around. So when we heard that you could read to goats for National Literacy Month and National Reading Month, we were all over it. None more than Kristina; she was halfway to Flat Rock before we could finish telling her all the details. She heard, “Goats, and Flat Rock” and she was in her car and on her way!.
Find out what happens when you try to read to a goat during National Literacy Month and National Reading Month at The Carl Sandburg Historic Site!
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The Carl Sandburg Historic Site
Goats make me ridiculously happy. I forget everything crazy in my life when I get to hang out and play with goats. So when I heard that the Carl Sandburg Home in nearby Flat Rock, North Carolina was marking National Literacy Month (September) by letting guests read to goats, obviously I was going. Learn More about the history of the Carl Sandburg Home.
The Carl Sandburg Home also commemorates National Reading Month in March with the same program. And you know what March usually brings? Baby goats. It took all my willpower not to write those words, baby goats, in capitol letters.
The estate is beautiful and only an hour or so from Greenville. There are acres and acres of rolling hills and great hiking trails. The home is a National Historic Site and there is no entry fee. There is only a charge if you want to tour the home.
Carl Sandburg was a writer and poet and his wife loved goats and kept a herd of dairy goats. The herd today is much smaller and they don’t milk the goats anymore but guests are allowed to interact with the animals, which is a lot of fun, especially in the spring when the babies come!
Reading to a Goat During National Literacy Month
September is National Literacy Month and March is National Reading Month. Both fit nicely with the theme of the entire park given Sandburg’s choice of career. So to honor the heritage of the park and give guests a pretty good reason to come there, the Carl Sandburg National Historic Site invites visitors to grab a book and read to a goat (or several).
You can bring your own book, although I don’t recommend it for one very important reason, which I will get to in a second. They also have books in a red wagon right outside the gates to the barn that you can borrow and bring into the pasture to read to the goats. We found a couple of great books that both my kids really enjoyed. The goats did, too.
Once you pick out your book, you can go see the goats. All the goats you’ll interact with are females and they are really sweet and curious and have no idea about personal space. The very first time I ever went to see the goats was when my kids were super little, they were terrified because the goats are pretty big if you’re a little kid. Now my kids, ages 10 and 7, love the goats and enjoy petting them and this time, reading to them.
So reading to goats is not an easy task. We really tried. One of the goats ripped out a page and started eating it, which we grabbed back because you know, they have special diets, which don’t include books. This is why you may not want to bring your own book. We ended up sitting with a few goats who may or may not have been sleeping and reading the books. I had a book of Sandburg’s poetry, which was wonderful to read while at his home.
My oldest daughter found a nice, docile goat with a white coat who seemed to be totally enthralled with being read to. It was very cute to watch.
We spent about an hour with the goats and our attempts at reading books. We had a blast and reading was such a bonus because books are pretty popular at my house and we all enjoy it.
But reading to goats? A whole level of awesomeness.
Things To Know Before You Go To Read A Book To The Goats Of The Carl Sandburg Historic Site
A couple of things to note to make your visit more enjoyable:
- Wear closed-toed shoes because you’ll be going in a field, which has lots of grass, some mud, goat poop, and other things you don’t want on your feet.
- Bring water. The hike up to the goat barn isn’t long, a bit over a quarter mile, but it is somewhat steep. The water stations are closed around the park so be sure to bring your own.
- There is no charge to visit the historic site, hike the trails, or go to the goat barn.
- The hours of access to the barn and goat pasture are every day from 10 am – 3 pm. The entire park is open from sunrise to sunset.
- The pedestrian bridge from the parking to lot to the main entrance is currently closed. In order to access the park .4 miles around the lake and another 1/3 mile up a steep grade. Because of this, a free shuttle service is available Thursday through Sunday until October 30th, 2022.
Carl Sandburg Home National Historic Site
81 Carl Sandburg Lane, Flat Rock, NC 28731 | 828.693.4178