Get Out: Hanging With the Cool Kids
Written by Allison Kay Bannister. Photo: Dreamgoats at Idlewild Farm.

What’s awesome about West Michigan (and all of Michigan, for that matter) is how many fascinating things there are to do, if you pay attention. I happened to be doing just that when hiking with Dreamgoats at Idlewild Farm in Belding entered my orbit.

Now, you might have heard of goat yoga—and, if you haven’t, yeah, that’s a thing—but this is not that. Which is actually great, because I may be the only person on the planet for whom yoga causes anxiety. That’s another story for another time, though, and I doubt I'll ever expound upon it here, anyway.

If you like hiking already, then hiking with goats can only add dimension to the experience. I found this out when I visited the farm for the first time at the end of December for Holiday Hugs & Hikes (and hot cocoa!). I showed up at the barn armed with carrots, and was found out almost immediately. Within moments of my arrival I was encircled by curious goats who started rooting in my pockets to see what kinds of treats I had for them. It was amusing how direct they were, and I felt glad that I don’t have any hang-ups about personal space.

The Dreamgoats are Nubian dairy goats, by the way, and they’re friendly, smart, and gentle, and have distinct personalities. And super-soft, floppy ears. Most were pregnant at the time of that first visit, and I made a mental note of their March due dates. More on that in a sec.

After the initial meet and greet, we set out on our hike through the pasture and orchards, and had the opportunity to ask questions and learn more about the goats and their lifestyle. It was leisurely and informative, and I’d go back to do it again in a heartbeat. These hikes are usually available June through November, with some special events in December. This includes Christmas tree recycling, because, fun fact: pine and fir trees are considered quite the delicacy for goats. Who knew?!

Now for the especially charming part. Around early spring, the goats will have had their litters, and that means it’s time for baby goat cuddles. I had a good-sized group who were all in for this activity, and we went the first week of April. When we got there, the babies were eager to get on our laps and snuggle, and some conked out for a nap, while others nibbled on our sleeves and hair while purring contentedly. In between, they sideways hopped and wrestled with one another and chewed our shoelaces. I mean, come on. Cuteness overload.

The reviews from those who went with me included, “This adventure was one of the best,” “Definitely a good way to energize,” and “The goats were so sweet.” I agree with all of that, and will add that the whole experience was very joyful and therapeutic. We also got to see a bottle feeding, talk with a real-life milk maid (#goals), and watch how the mama goats responded to our presence. Some had protective instincts and would regularly check in to make sure all was well, while others just curled up in a pile and chilled out. We stayed a little over an hour and a few of us grabbed some swag on the way out, including goat’s milk soap made by the proprietor herself.

Baby goat cuddles will run into about mid-May, so there’s still time to catch that. Then, they take a pause and resume with goat hikes in June, which I’m told is one of the better times, as there are about 20 babies that join the hike and there’s plenty for them to forage and graze on. Also look for soap making classes at different times during the year, as well as u-pick flowers through Idlewild Farm in summer. More info at and