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Bottle feed baby calves at South Mountain Creamery.

Animal lovers can find a variety of activities in Frederick County that revolve around their admiration of all things furry and feathered. Check out a host of dog-friendly shops and restaurant patios in Downtown Frederick, as well as other animal experiences from feeding calves to wildlife that’s a little more exotic.

South Mountain Creamery

Take a 10-mile drive northwest from Downtown Frederick and you’ll find yourself among the lush green fields of South Mountain Creamery. The dairy farm is open year-round and is open to the public to visit. You can even help out around the farm — plan to arrive a little before 4 p.m. and head on over to the calf barn to assist in feeding the baby cows! After, walk across the road and into Karen’s Kountry Store to stock up on farm fresh dairy products and a scoop (or two) of ice cream. Here you can also pick up a $1 self-guided tour sheet and follow the map to learn more about the different parts of South Mountain Creamery.

Nature centers

There are multiple nature centers found within Frederick County that focus on educating the public on local ecosystems and environments. Visit Fountain Rock Nature Center and walk the boardwalk of the now water-filled 1.5-acre limestone quarry and search for turtles, fish, waterfowl and other birds. Cunningham Falls State Park holds a Scales and Tales Program, a project in which naturalists discuss how the animals at the aviary came to be in their care.

Catoctin Wildlife Preserve

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Visitors to the Catoctin Wildlife and Zoo, in Thurmont, visit with "Zuri" the zebra while having a full immersion experience, feeding, touching and getting up close to animals from around the world during the FuFeFo Safari experience which was recently opened. From the left are Zach Newman, 10, of Olney, Maryland, Riley and Lori Weaver, of Mechanicsburg, Pa.

Looking to get a little more wild? Hundreds of exotic animals await at this 50-acre park. Not only do you get an up-close-and-personal look at the animals, the preserve offers more interactive experiences than any park of its kind in the region! Catoctin Wildlife Preserve Active Zones include additional animal experiences like riding a camel, aquatic turtle feeding and alligator feeding. Want more? Upgrade park general admission and get up close and personal with the animals at the preserve with a safari ride. Catoctin Wildlife Preserve is the only zoo in the Mid-Atlantic that offers an escorted truck safari experience. This one-hour ride will have you immersed in four different paddocks of exotic animals. Make sure to book early, there are only a limited number of tickets for each time slot.

Bring Fido along!

Downtown Frederick boasts over 40 animal-friendly shops, galleries and outdoor dining areas so there’s no need to leave your pup at home. To plan your trip downtown, check out downtownfrederick.org/get-it-downtown to map out which businesses and places to grab a bite will welcome your furry friend with open arms. If you’re looking to extend your stay, many hotels in the area will accommodate your four legged friend.

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