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Day Trips: In The Community

Prehistoric beasts meet modern activities

Sweet Valley Ranch has entertainment options for all ages


Whether you are a kid wowed by dinosaurs or an adult who likes to relax to live music, Sweet Valley Ranch offers a variety of activities for all ages.

The animal park is home to more than 350 animals from all over the world. But it’s more than just a place to see animals up close. It also has seasonal events, tours, exhibits and one of the largest outdoor inflatable venues in the state.

There are several events during the year, including Springtime Adventures, Dinosaur World, Tiny’s Corn Maze, the Music at the Farm concert series and the Festival of Lights.

Springtime Adventures go-carts and ATVs are two popular ways to get around the farm with guided tours through wooded trails lined with deer-protected wetlands, creeks and ponds. Tours last about 30 minutes, and event planners warn people to wear clothes they can get dirty. Helmets and eye protection are provided.

The Dinosaur World exhibit returns June 10 and continues through Aug. 21. This popular exhibit has more than 25 animatronic dinosaurs on a wooded trail with several surprises such as an abandoned research lab, observation booths and other special effects. New this year is an Ice Age exhibit that is sure to unfreeze your senses. There is also a nighttime experience with a lighted trail from 8 to 9:30 p.m. Saturdays for adults and older teenagers.

Tiny’s Adventures is one of the largest inflatable parks in the state and also has two playgrounds and an animal meet-and-greet area.

The Music at the Farm concert series has three shows lined up this year. On June 25, Rivermist and Kids in America are scheduled to play. On Aug. 20, Indian Outlaw and Jim Quick and the Coastline Band will perform. On Oct. 15, the bands will be Here and Mostley Crue.

Guests are encouraged to bring beach chairs and blankets. Concessions are available for purchase. No outside food or drink is allowed.

New this year is Sandhills Made Market at Sweet Valley Ranch. The market is expected to have 47 vendors and six to eight food trucks the first and third Saturday of the month. The market is a partnership with Sustainable Sandhills, a nonprofit agency that focuses on the environment. It will run May 7 to Oct. 15. A large percentage of revenue from food purchases will go to local charities, such as Habitat for Humanity, Vision Resource Center and Community Emergency Response Team.

Farm tours are available throughout the year. Check things out during a 45-minute tour on a handmade Amish wagon. Guides will entertain riders with tales of everything the farm has to offer. Guests will see animals, visit the reptile house and learn the history of the farm.

There are also two stocked ponds for fishing. Guests may bring their own poles or borrow one at the farm. Bait is available for purchase at the gift shop. Tents and chairs can be rented.

Also new this year are one of the world’s largest iguana exhibits and an exotic aviary where you can see East African crowned cranes.

Seasonal events later in the year include Tiny’s Corn Maze in the fall, named for the ranch’s 2,500-pound mascot, Tiny the Bull; Backwood Terror Ranch in October; and the Festival of Lights at Christmas.

Sweet Valley Ranch
Address: 2990 Sunnyside School Road
Hours: Vary with events
Cost: Varies with events and activities; tickets are available on the website.
Contact: 844-622-3276 or sweetvalleyranchnc.com 

Sweet Valley Ranch, Fayetteville, Cumberland County, day trips