Tucked away in the Los Rios district of San Juan Capistrano is a Spanish-style farm that houses more than 200 animals, a miniature train and a rustic Miner’s Gulch. Zoomars’ roots go back to 1890, and was previously known as the Jones Min-Farm. In 2005, owner Carolyn Franks took over the farm and expanded its pens, transforming into what is now called Zoomars Petting Zoo.
We first discovered Zoomars on a playdate with another local family. I absolutely love its somewhat hidden location amongst adobe structures dating back to the late 1700s and the Depot. Their eclectic mix of animals include goats, sheep, potbellied pigs, emu, llamas, and more.
5 Things to Do at Zoomars With Kids
We typically make a day out of our visit to Zoomars by including lunch and a walk around the Los Rios district. The petting zoo includes a number of kid-friendly activities which can take anywhere from 2-3 hours, depending on how leisurely you prefer to enjoy the zoo.
- Ride a Pony: At Zoomars, even first-time riders can enjoy a ride on their horses and ponies. The experienced handlers at the zoo hand-lead the horses and ponies down the trail and both the saddles and riding gear are equipped with safety belts for an enjoyable, safe experience.
- Feed the Animals: From guinea pigs to goats, families of all ages can purchase a feed basket to treat these animals, while spending some time petting them.
- Pan for Gold: Kids can pan for gemstones, fossils, and gold at the Miner’s Gulch using a screened panning tray. Some of the items that may be found include emeralds, rubies, crystals, shark’s teeth, arrowheads, dinosaur bones, and Fool’s Good.
- Ride the Miniature Train: All aboard the mini-train! This train is perfect for smaller tots and makes for the perfect photo opp.
- Play in the Corn Box: The best thing about this corn box is that your kids won’t come home with sand in their shoes! It also provides for a wonderful sensory experience for kids.
In addition to the above activities, kids can get their wiggles out in between activities by playing on the Little Tikes Playground.
Birthday Parties at Zoomars
My son celebrated his sixth birthday at Zoomars and he still talks about that special day! Booking a party was easy and we had a choice of one of three several shaded party spots which include tables. One of the things we loved about having a party at Zoomars was the freedom to invite as many guests as we wanted. Since weekends book quickly, I recommend reserving your spot early, as soon as you are certain of a desire date.
Birthday party packages include free admission to the zoo, use of the party area for 3 hours (9 am to 12 pm or 2 pm to 5 pm), unlimited admissions for guests, and 20 party tokens to use for train rides or feed baskets. Tip: If you book your party in the morning, you may stay at Zoomars all-day (however, you must leave the party area at noon). Each party area can accommodate up to 75 people and prices start at $275.
Upcoming Events at Zoomars
We just celebrated Pumpkinpalooza at Zoomars, complete with a pumpkin patch, a hay maze, and pumpkin decorating! As we head into the holiday season, here is a peek at what is in store at Zoomars!
- Christmas Tree Wonderland: Come to ZOOMARS and purchase a freshly cut tree, or purchase a 3 FT. Elf Tree that you and your children can decorate together. You can also choose a color to make your tree unique such as Sugar Plum Purple, Rosewood Red, Hollyberry Pink, and more! (November 25th to December 24th)
- The San Juan Capistrano Tree Lighting: The Tree Lighting will be held throughout the entire historic district of San Juan Capistrano. ZOOMARS partners up with the Historical Society and San Juan Mission to hold the annual Nativity Scene. Live Nativity Shows in The Farmyard of ZOOMARS will take place at 6:00 pm and 7:00 pm. (Saturday, December 2nd)
- Pictures with Father Christmas: Children can line up and have their picture taken with Father and Mother Christmas with the rustic farmyard scenery. Father Christmas will also be bringing along some of his elves from his workshop to introduce to each child. (Saturday, December 9th, 10:00 am to 2:00 pm)
- Cookie Decorating with Mrs. Claus: Children can sit down with Mrs. Claus and decorate cookies to bring home and enjoy. Families can also help create a group Gingerbread House that will be on display at ZOOMARS. (Sunday, December 10th, free with zoo admission, 2 pm to 5 pm)
- Singing Santa and Mrs. Claus: Come join in the fun as we dance and play while Santa and Mrs. Claus sing all of our favorite Christmas classics. (Sunday, December 17th from 10 am to 2 pm)
Zoomars Location, Admission, and Hours
Zoomars is located at 31791 Los Rios Street, San Juan Capistrano, CA 92675. Admission is $10 for adults, $9 for seniors, $8 for children, and $7 for military. You may visit Zoomars daily from 10 am to 4 pm and weekends 9 am to 5 pm.