San Juan Island Family Fun: Sheep Farm Tour

My family and I recently visited San Juan Island and were happy to learn that some of the farms on the island welcome guests to tour the land, see the animals, and learn about the rural way of life. Spending time on a working farm is always a treat and you won’t want to miss a visit to Amaro Farm.

How to get there and history of the farm

Amaro Farm is located 15 minutes from bustling Friday Harbor on San Juan Island. Walk down the quiet roads and enter the beautiful wooden archway with the name of the farmhouse. You can not miss it ! The farm itself is a piece of history and is over a hundred years old. Amaro Farm retains much of the original barn and farm structures and is historically family owned. Land ownership has only been exchanged twice since the 1800s.

Bottle feeding an injured lamb on the farm

Baby lambs

The Amaros are no strangers to agriculture, generations before them successfully operating ranches in other parts of the country. At the farm, we were welcomed by the owners. The two shared stories of how they left their daily jobs behind to experience rural life, in search of doing something different and sustainable.

Sheep and lambs are the main attractions of the farm tour. We cuddled lambs while my children fed and held the new additions to the sheep family. We were struck by the friendliness of the little animals, while bottle feeding one of the lambs named Odin. Odin’s mother was rather complacent and had stepped on Odin’s leg when he was born and broke it. Odin ended up with a splint and was expected to make a full recovery within the next few weeks. He needed extra help with his feedings – we were so happy to help!

Farm visit

We walked around the fields and were able to feed the herd of sheep that lived on the farm. Cheers and laughter ensued as my sons held up a large box of “sheep candy” (various types of cereal) and saw the animals rush around them, gently slapping them for more food. After the treats were done, my kids attempted to herd the sheep themselves and hold the baby lambs, but they sure were quick!

They finally had one, the smallest of the herd, named Taco. He didn’t stay in our arms too long and immediately walked away, looking for his mother and siblings.

The distillery is preparing to open in the summer

barn store

The farm barn store offers snacks, treats, clothing, toys and everything for the sheep! You can see, touch, and smell raw sheep’s wool before it’s spun (the yarn is not spun on the farm, but you can buy the raw wool for your home projects). Over the summer, the farm shop will also house a distillery brewing whiskey, bourbon, brandy, vodka and rum. Tastings will be offered as well as light bites from a small appetizer-sized charcuterie menu.

The farm also grows hazelnuts – be sure to purchase delicious chocolate covered hazelnuts or hazelnuts straight from the included cracker.

The farm shop has a plethora of items to buy

The cutest sheep in the world

If you’re interested in visiting the baby lambs at the San Juan Island farm, you’ll want to do it at the right time. February, May and July are months when new babies are to be born. In May and July, the Valais Blacknose breed, known as the “cutest sheep in the world”, will be born. Think white wool with extremely adorable black faces. A rare breed to find, the Amaros take pride in the way they produce and raise this variety of sheep, which have won numerous awards at regional competitions. The Amaros also organize professional photography sessions with these lambs, so plan your outfits in advance!

Baby Lambs at Amaro Farm

They are not the reputedly “cutest” lambs in the world, but they are certainly cuddly and fast!

It was definitely the highlight of our trip to San Juan Island. We spent the afternoon learning so much about this farm, the duties of a farmer, how they live and especially how they raise sheep. My kids loved the interactive experience and all the exercise they got running around the open fields.

Know before you go

  • Discover the Amaro farm website for more details and call to schedule a visit
  • Amaro Farm Address: 44 Amaro Farm Rd, Friday Harbor, WA 98250
  • Tours are $10/person. Photography packages are separate
  • Be sure to wear boots and dress for the weather
  • Barn cats are also the cutest! Be sure to see them around the farm

Learn more about island activities here.