Kids petting goats at Hershberger’s Farm & Bakery in Millersburg (photo by Laura Watilo Blake)
Travel | Amish Country

Fun for Kids in Ohio’s Amish Country

Bring the little ones to Amish Country this season to stock up on adorable photos and great memories with the help of these destinations that promise to capture kids’ attention.

In a world filled with technology and fast-paced living, the simplicity of Amish life is a source of wonder and fascination for many children. At the first sight of a buggy clip-clopping down a two-lane road, iPads get pushed aside, and the car windows go down. Now that you have their attention, there are all kinds of delightful activities that will keep kids joyfully engaged during a visit to Ohio’s Amish Country. They may even learn a thing or two about disconnecting and enjoying life’s simple pleasures. Here are five great places for families to visit around Berlin, Millersburg and Sugarcreek.

Pet the Animals at Hershberger’s Farm & Bakery (above)

Hershberger’s Farm & Bakery in Millersburg has all kinds of baked goods for which Amish Country is known as well as a farm store and a food trailer with burgers and grilled cheese sandwiches. One of the main draws, though, is the adorable animal petting area that holds the promise of snuggling with the resident fur babies.

“It gives people a little taste of Amish Country all in one place,” says Leah Yoder, a Millersburg native now living in Mansfield and the creator of a blog that focuses on things to do in the area ( “I’m happy eating the baked goods and kettle corn, and the kids love to hold the farm animals. We’ve held baby pigs and bunnies, and you can buy rabbits and baby chicks.”

When you first step into the spacious barn, you can’t miss the giant Belgian draft horse named Hershy’s King Buck. At nearly 7 feet tall and weighing 3,126 pounds, he commands the attention of visitors, especially when he stomps his foot while waiting impatiently for a carrot to be offered. All of the other animals in the barn are considerably smaller. Some are in pens, while others, like the baby goats, roam freely while children squeal in delight as they chase after them and pick them up.

For a quintessential Amish Country activity, you can also take a ride around the farm in an authentic Amish buggy. Before you leave, make sure to stop into the bakery to load up on all kinds of baked goods. Those in the know bring a cooler to fill with goodies, such as the famous Amish fry pies — half moon-shaped pastries stuffed with pie filling that are available in a variety of flavors. 5452 St. Rte 557, Millersburg 44654, 330/674-6096,

Girl feeding male Rocky Mountain Elk at The Farm at Walnut Creek in Sugarcreek (photo by Laura Watilo Blake)
Take a Wild Wagon Ride at The Farm at Walnut Creek 

The best part about The Farm at Walnut Creek near Sugarcreek is the opportunity to get up close and personal with all kinds of exotic and domestic farm animals during a 45-minute drive-through safari. While you can go in your own vehicle, it’s a lot more fun for the entire family to take an Amish-led wagon ride through the trees and over the rolling hills of the property. As soon as you pass through the gates, a hungry herd of Watusi cattle surround the wagon looking for a handout from the provided buckets of animal feed. Their enormous horns are so large, they have to turn their heads to one side for better access.

“The animals are especially hungry first thing in the morning,” says one of the Amish guides leading our tour. “This is a good time to come.”

A diverse array of creatures greet you at every turn. The Axis deer with their ever-present spots daintily lap up food from the palm of your hand, while lumbering bison grunt impatiently as they wave their long tongues toward the awaiting buckets. Male Rocky Mountain Elk get close enough that you can reach out and touch their enormous velvety-soft racks, while the females squeeze their heads under the seats to snag morsels that have fallen into the wagon bed.

“Be sure to save some of your food for the giraffes toward the end,” explains a 9-year-old girl on our tour who is visiting from Oak Harbor. “Just hold your bucket up and they’ll eat from it.”

Be sure to hang on to some leftovers for the sheep, goats and llamas that line up along the fence as you make your way toward the Main House where you’ll find a free fresh-baked cookie — a nice way to treat yourself after feeding all the other animals. 4147 County Road 114, Sugarcreek 44681, 330/893-4200,

Family looking at Sugarcreek’s giant cuckoo clock (photo by Laura Watilo Blake)
Spend Time with Sugarcreek’s Giant Cuckoo Clock 

Like clockwork, anyone who visits picturesque downtown Sugarcreek — aka Ohio’s Little Switzerland — eventually gravitates to the corner of Main and Broadway. There, standing tall at 23 feet in height and spanning 24 feet in width, the village’s giant cuckoo clock springs to life on the hour and half hour. The landmark timepiece is more than just a roadside attraction; it also reflects the areas’s Swiss and German heritage.

When the resident songbird emerges from the oversized, flower-laden alpine chalet, it announces the time with a cheerful call and cues the animatronic Bavarian oompah band called The Swiss Hilltoppers. For the next three minutes and 11 seconds — just enough time to keep the attention of small children — the musicians perform a rousing rendition of the Bratwurst Polka while a dirndl-wearing dancer twirls in circles around a clapping man in lederhosen. Young onlookers often join the festivities, clapping along with the music or playfully imitating the dance moves from the sidewalk.

“Olga and Fritz are the dancers,” offers Christine Quickel, Sugarcreek’s marketing administrator.

Karl Schleuterman built the enormous clock in Germany, a renowned clockmaking hub, over the course of 12 years. It was originally commissioned in 1963 for a now-defunct restaurant in Wilmot called Alpine Alpa. A local business owner purchased the clock after the restaurant closed, and it was installed in Sugarcreek in 2012.

Along with Freeman Mullet, the owner of The Gospel Shop, Quickel helps keep the clock working daily from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. between April and November.

“I am more of an apprentice,” she says. “Without Freeman, we couldn’t keep it going. There are so many intricate pieces, and the slightest deviation can shut down the clock. We don’t want to disappoint any of our visitors — young, old or anywhere in between.” 100 N. Broadway St., Sugarcreek 44681,

Girl pushing shopping cart in Lehman’s in Kidron (photo by Laura Watilo Blake)Discover Treats and Treasures at Lehman’s

Consistently ranked among Amish Country’s top destinations, Lehman’s in Kidron is like stepping into a time capsule with an enchanting assortment of non-electric products, housewares, farm equipment, toys, games and food. Originally a hardware store geared solely to Amish customers, over its long history, Lehman’s has transformed into a shopping emporium for anyone serious about making a change toward simple and sustainable living.

Children will discover a treasure trove of objects rarely seen in the modern world these days from washboards to grain augers. A storewide treasure hunt designed for kids up to age 16 helps make sense of them all. Other activities kids will enjoy include posing for pictures in the cab of a typical Amish buggy, mowing a stretch of green grass with a push mower and perusing the gallery of intricately carved wooden works of art by artist Paul Weaver.

“We usually recommend going through twice,” says Glenda Lehman Ervin, daughter of the store’s founder, the late Jay Lehman. “Once to look at the antiques and the next time to look at the products. If you can’t reach it or it doesn’t have a price tag, it’s an antique.”

Kids won’t want to miss the Toy Barn, a two-story, hand-hewn structure full of plush stuffies, strategy games and a wide array of handcrafted Amish toys. This section offers a nostalgic glimpse into the past, reminding us of the simple joys that can be found in traditional play. They can also load up on throwback treats, such as rock candy, gumballs, fudge and other candy to satisfy any sweet tooth. Also be sure to check out the array of fun and unusual flavors of bottled sodas. Your little ones will leave Lehman’s fully enriched by the delights of a bygone era. 4779 Kidron Rd., Kidron 44618, 800/438-5346,

Kids playing putt putt at Country Acres Mini Golf in Millersburg (photo by Laura Watilo Blake)
Play a Round of Mini Golf  

Miniature golf is a favorite pastime in Amish Country, especially in the evening when most of the other area attractions have closed for the day. You’ll likely be sharing the course with local Amish families, who, like you, want some good clean fun that caters to all ages and abilities.

In Berlin, Country Acres Mini Golf is part of Schrocks’ Heritage Village, which includes an antique mall, craft mall, Christmas shop, sewing shop and a tasty bistro. The Berlin Encore Hotel & Suites and Amish Country Theater are just across the parking lot. Once you pick your favorite color of ball and get a putter, two 18-hole courses are just down a set of stairs off the deck. On the left, the Barn Course is hilly with lots of inclines and descents. To the right, the Bridge Course has several water features, including waterfalls, rivers and a covered bridge. Depending on your skill, the ball could end up in the manmade river flowing through the course. The kids will have fun fishing them out with one of the provided skimmers.

If you’re looking for more than just miniature golf, Cabin Creek Golf in Sugarcreek is home to an entire sports complex that also offers shuffleboard, sand volleyball, batting cages and a driving range. The two neatly manicured miniature golf courses have several challenging holes that the owners designed themselves. Each has an off-track feature in which the golf ball gets some air and leaps over a patch of grass before, hopefully, landing on the green and sinking into the hole. Cabin Creek Golf, 1361 County Road 108, Sugarcreek, 330/852-4879,; Country Acres Mini Golf, 4367 St. Rte. 39, Millersburg 44654, 330/449-9986,