LADY LAKE, FL — Step inside a small piece of paradise not far from the Spanish Springs Square where there a quiet, scenic road leads to a picturesque farm full of delightful and friendly animals. For Villages residents, Uncle Donald’s Farm makes a picture-perfect day trip with the grand kids.
The farm is operated by three Morris sisters: Beth, Donna and Jeanette. The Morris family opened the farm to the community in 1980 due to vast amounts of people curious to see the different animals and reptiles the Morris’ maintained, as well as a drive to teach the community about preserving America’s farmlands and wildlife. It’s been in the family since the 1960’s.
Uncle Donald’s Farm features an assortment of farm life — Lamanche goats, several species of Florida tortoises, chickens, turkeys, rabbits, deer, a bobcat, a panther, and other wildlife. They offer hay rides, pony rides, informational exhibitions, bottle feeding times with baby goats, pet therapy programs, summer day camp, tours, and more. The farm cares for various heritage breeds and is also known locally as a rescue facility.
When the farm first opened the Morris sisters actively involved themselves in the community with cookouts and hay rides, as well as provided informational tours around their farm to the nearby schools. Beth, who has lived on the farm almost her entire life, jokes about how “the farm was known back then as the 4-H project that went berserk!” She also mentions that she feels “society has removed themselves from family farming to as little as 2% of the American population. They simply just don’t farm anymore.” The Morris family strives to aid this dilemma by offering a fun but educational place for people to visit, where they can feed and pet diverse species while learning how each one plays an essential role in our ecosystem.
Uncle Donald’s Farm also offers summer day camp 1 day a week, where kids can feed reptiles, deer, brush the horses, and more. The Morris sisters play games with the kids such as “Barnyard Olympics”, where the winner is the one who is able to brush their horse the best. The sisters host different holiday events such as an annual Fall Pumpkin Patch with nighttime hay rides, and a 4th of July parade; where they dress up the animals in red, white and blue, and parade them around the farm.
The grounds also house a shop which supports local crafters who create handmade puppets, Ukrainian Easter eggs, towels, washcloths, and paintings.
Bring the family and head on over. Admission is $11.25 plus tax for adults, $10.00 plus tax for children, and kids 2 and under are free. Senior citizen and group rates apply. The farm is open Tuesday through Saturday from 10am-4pm, and Sunday from 12pm-4pm.
— Article by Tara Gerber. Photos by Tara Gerber and Michael Warren