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Fall is a quintessentially popular season for a reason. It’s peak time for pumpkin spice lattes (dairy-free of course!), vegan leather boots — and eye-popping foliage everywhere you look. Honestly, is there anything more beautiful than miles of maples?
But if you live in a climate that bears more green than orange, red, and yellow— autumn is the perfect time to pay a visit to a more colorful environment.
With that in mind, here are four sanctuaries you should visit this autumn, so you can experience fall colors and adorable animals all at once:
Watkins Glen, NY
One of the most famous — and oldest (it was founded in 1986) — farm animal sanctuaries, this legendary, 175-acre spot is home to more than 500 rescued residents. Tours at the New York location are offered through October, and give visitors insight into the realities of the factory farming industry, and shine a light on the remarkable personalities of its animal victims. You’ll get to interact with cows, pigs, turkeys, and other species, each of whom has an incredible story of survival.
Maple Farm Sanctuary
This Massachusetts refuge is a place “where farm animals live in peace.” Set on a lovely 120-acre property, the sanctuary has an amazing story. It was founded by former goat farmer Cheri Ezell-Vandersluis and her husband Jim. After years in the dairy business, the two had a change of heart and decided to dedicate their lives to compassion for all. Visitors are welcome through October, and will have the chance to meet residents like Boo Boo the cow, Astro the llama, and Finn the sheep.
Upland’s Peak Sanctuary
The story of Upland’s Peak began with two little piglets: Annie and Andy. The duo escaped from a backyard butcher and made their way into the lives of Mark and Michelle Pruitt, the sanctuary’s founders. Since then, the 20-acre wooded haven has become a home for goats, pigs, chickens, and cows. Visiting season is almost over, but there’s one more session left on September 24 — so you’ve still got a chance to meet Zeke the cow, Tulip the pig, and Frankie the chicken.
Goats of Anarchy
While it’s a little tougher to visit GOA, folks who live nearby and want to meet some special needs goats can get on the waiting list for goat yoga — OR volunteer for some firsthand goat-tending experience. Lots of folks are familiar with founder Leanne Lauricella’s story. She was working as an event planner in NYC before giving it all up to save the lives of differently-abled goats. Now, she’s changing the world on the regular, inspiring people worldwide to give up animal products. Visitors to GOA might run into Frankie with the good hair, Polly, Angel, little Millie, or a number of other equally adorable residents.
Photo: Goats of Anarchy