Virtual Farm Tours From Sonoma Will Instantly Make You Happier

Pigs, cows, goats, sheep and more. Meet the 140 residents of a local farm animal sanctuary in a series of virtual tours.

As we hunker down indoors due to the coronavirus, staying positive is one of our biggest challenges.

Many of our fantastic neighbors have taken to social media, and are doing what they do best to keep us upbeat and entertained. For example, Big Bottom Market co-owner and cookbook author Michael Volpatt is offering virtual cooking classes every day at 3 p.m., and East Bay musician Michael Franti and his family are giving people near and far a reason to sing and dance.

Yesterday, using Facebook Live, 140 Sonoma County residents at Charlie’s Acres Farm Animal Sanctuary came together to give us many more reasons to smile via a virtual farm tour.

“When the shelter in place orders came through we knew we’d have to shift quickly to continue having people connect with our animals residents,” said Tracy Vogt, founder of Charlie’s Acres. “We also know people could use a bright spot in their day, seeing animals outside, happy in the sunshine. Even if we bring a smile to just one person’s face with our tours, we would consider that a win.”

Normally, meeting the residents of Charlie’s Acres would require signing up for a tour. But now, every Tuesday and Thursday from 2 p.m. to 2:30 p.m., you can say hello from the comfort of your couch. Parents with kids home from school will be happy to know that all virtual tours will be family-friendly and include some fun animal facts.

Courtesy of Charlie’s Acres

“Our plan is to feature a different species during each of these videos, and once we’ve made it through all 140 of our animal residents we’ll start doing special tours such as ‘breakfast with the pigs’ and ‘bedtime for animals,’” said Vogt.

Charlie’s Acres is a non-profit farm animal sanctuary. Located in Sonoma, their mission is to rescue farm animals that were abused or destined for slaughter. Staff strive to teach the public about the animals, by sharing stories surrounding their rescues and unique personalities.

“Our goal is to show how intelligent and beautiful our animal residents are, share their stories of resilience, and promote compassion for the billions of farmed animals they represent,” said Vogt.

With the cancellation of tours, Charlie’s Acres has lost a key source of income. Tax-deductible donations are needed and greatly-appreciated. And if you fall in love with a furry face you meet online – which is highly likely – you can sponsor an animal at Charlie’s Acres. And once shelter in place orders are lifted, you can head to the farm for some quality one-on-one time.

Charlie’s Acres Virtual Farm Tours, every Tuesday and Thursday from 2 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. on Facebook.