Family, Things To Do In L.A.

The Gentle Barn

The kids had a day off from school today so a group of us took a private tour of The Gentle Barn. The Gentle Barn is an amazing rescue and rehabilitation sanctuary for abused animals. Through interaction with their animals, they teach humans empathy, compassion and kindness for all living things. Our preschoolers and toddlers are a great age for this, though they also work with inner-city youth, foster kids and special needs patients. You get to love on cows, horses, sheep, chickens, goats, llamas, and pigs.Gentle Barn_1

If you are in the least bit cranky, you won’t be after a visit here.

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Before letting the kids loose in the barn, our tour guide Michelle talked about body language, and how the animals might express their feelings to us.  ”If an animal runs away when we try to pet it, do we chase it?”  ”No!” they yelled. (Maybe this lesson will carry through to their dating years, to prevent pursuing emotionally unavailable partners. I know I could’ve used that one.)Gentle Barn_3

Unfortunately, the 2-year-old missed the “Being Gentle” briefing.  Too busy driving a tractor.Gentle Barn_4

Interesting brush. Might be fun to throw. Would she be gentle at The Gentle Barn?Gentle Barn_5

Sooooo gentle. There’s nothing sweeter than watching your children interact with animals. This cow, Faith, is blind which adds to the heartbreak.Gentle Barn_6

On the gentle barn’s website they say, “as [children] learn to understand the animals, they learn to understand a part of themselves.” This is Buttercup.  She was pregnant when she was rescued and her baby did not live long.  However, when new cows join the barn, she nurtures them as if they were her own.Gentle Barn_7

I hugged the heck outta Buttercup!Gentle Barn_8

We also fed the horses. It tickles.Gentle Barn_9

Anyone have any floss?Gentle Barn_10

My dear friend Laura, who made our trip happen. Laura is an animal activist, my #1 emergency contact and the most loving and generous person you’ll ever meet.  She also has great taste in tank tops and ripped jeans.Gentle Barn_11

This turkey got some serious lovin’. She must feel like Scarlet O’Hara at Twelve Oaks.Gentle Barn_12

This giant pig was taking a nap when the kids started to get rowdy.  A few of us had tried shushing them, when a Gentle Barn employee politely said, “Excuse me, but you’re being very loud and Bodhi is trying to sleep. How would you feel if people came into your room and started yelling while you were trying to take a nap?”  The kids got very quiet. You could actually see the empathy register on their faces.Gentle Barn_13

Some of us need to learn empathy, and some of us are just plain curious.Gentle Barn_14

I was amazed by how these formerly abused animals were so trusting of humans after rehabilitation.  This chicken was like a little kitty cat. Purrrrrrrrrrr.Gentle Barn_15

When God designed animals don’t you think He spent more time on peacocks than the rest of us? What’s up with that?  I want feathers!Gentle Barn_16

Llama, Llama, red pajama, follow Vivi– your new mama!Gentle Barn_17

You bring an animal free lunch to The Gentle Barn– easy for us since we only eat fish. I made Pearl a peanut butter sandwich, but she hijacked my falafel.  (Which, by the way is awesome and just $3.99 at Trader Joe’s.) Vivi also ditched my sandwich and headed straight to my friend Amanda’s table.  Amanda, The Heart Healthy Mom, came with a spread that included vegetarian sushi.  What pod people took over my children?Gentle Barn_18

OK, I loved the Gentle Barn the minute we arrived, but as we were leaving I noticed they also have a giant face-in-holes to satisfy my creepy obsession!  Sold for life! Ready to make this a yearly tradition. So much fun, and so much better than the zoo.


Thank you Gentle Barn animals (and people) for a beautiful day.

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