SOUTH CENTRAL VERMONT
Little ones discover old-timey fun in the Green Mountain State’s hills and valleys.
1. Meet Jersey cows, horses, sheep, and chickens at BILLINGS FARM, just outside Woodstock.
2. The 60-plus exhibits at MONTSHIRE MUSEUM OF SCIENCE include live views of the universe from the Hubble space telescope.
3. It’s a real-life Toy Story at the VERMONT TOY & TRAIN MUSEUM, where kids (and grownups) can check out playthings from the ’50s to the present day.
4. For five generations, ADAMS FAMILY FARM has produced all manner of products, including timber, maple syrup, wool, and milk. Today it also has sleigh rides and hayrides around the property, a menagerie of livestock from goats to alpacas, and evening sing-alongs around the bonfire. 15 Higley
Hill Rd., Wilmington, 802-464-3762, adamsfamilyfarm.com.
5. Forget the Cabbage Patch Kids, Tickle Me Elmo, or any other toy du jour. MARY MEYER’S MUSEUM OF STUFFED TOYS has been turning out lovable stuffed bears with the same artful craftsmanship for 75-plus years. One look at their darling snouts and you’ll understand why they’ve endured.
One Teddy Bear Ln. (Rte. 30), Townshend, 802-365-4160, bigblackbear.com.
6. The NATURE MUSEUM AT GRAFTON is one of the only places to see a catamount, the New England mountain lion that went extinct a century ago. (This one is stuffed and mounted.) It and dozens of other diorama displays provide a fun and informative view of Vermont wildlife. 186 Townshend Rd., Grafton, 802-843-2111, nature-museum.org.
7. THE RETREAT FARM is especially hands-on. In addition to plenty of feed for the animals, kids are given brushes to groom horses and scratch pigs’ backs, and they are invited into cages to pet rabbits and pick up newly hatched chicks. More-exotic animals include emus and a Scottish Highland cow. 350 Linden St., Brattleboro, 802-257-4050, theretreatfarm.com.
8. Who knew that when Santa wasn’t making toys, he vacationed in southern Vermont? The North Pole–themed park SANTA’S LAND USA is holiday-spirited for the kids, complete with Mr. and Mrs. Claus, a petting zoo with reindeer and miniature ponies, and low-key rides including an "alpine train" and merry-go-round. 635 Bellows Falls Rd., Putney, 802-387-5550, santasland.com.