The Critter Barn in Zeeland will be expanding its farm to include a new $6 million site at 2950 80th Ave.
The construction project will expand the 3-acre farm at 9275 Adams St. The new site will include more space for its visitors, livestock and educational facilities.
“The present site is too small to handle the increasing number of visitors who come to the Critter Barn,” said Mary Rottschafer, founder of Critter Barn. “There is no room to grow and parking is not ideal.”
The new 36-acre site will include eight barns with a 3,500-square-foot gambrel roof; post and beam barn for cows, dairy goats, pigs, sheep, donkeys; and classrooms.
There also will be smaller barns that will showcase how turkey, cows, hogs and sheep are raised. Additionally, a solar-powered mill and a treehouse with walkways through the woods will be on the farm.
“It’s our goal to create a farm with a variety of experiences ranging from a small dairy cow barn with a milking parlor to buildings focused on little creatures like chicks, ducklings, bunnies and cats,” Rottschafer said.
The construction cost is more than $500,000 for the large barn and a few thousand for the small animal buildings. The project will be completed by Midwest Construction Group of Zeeland.
“We’ve built hundreds of buildings across Michigan in the past 10 years, but this is unique. It’s our first educational farm,” said Scott Geerlings, Midwest Construction president and partner.
Rottschafer said Critter Barn will continue working with the Baker College Vet Tech program and Ottawa County’s Tech Center to expand educational offerings and develop programs to serve high school and college students.
“Our Critter Crew — youth volunteers who work side by side with our staff — is the backbone of our operation,” Rottschafer said. “We’re all about growing relationships with children and youth and impacting their lives through the farm.
Fundraising for building the new $6 million Critter Barn farm is still going on. In addition to cash donations, donors can also sponsor animal pens, classrooms, teaching stations and equipment.
To make a contribution to the Critter Barn building efforts go to critterbarn.org/give.
There will be snacks by Marybeth Apple Catering, live music by the Dune Grass Band, horse-drawn buggy rides and Critter Barn animals to visit.
For more information and to RSVP, visit the website at critterbarn.org/foundation-celebration.