Have you “herd”?!  You can see North America’s largest native land mammal grazing on fields in Northwest Indiana! Nestled in the Indiana Dunes region, and minutes from the Indiana Dunes State and National Parks, is Broken Wagon Bison farm, home to over 100 American Bison.

A herd of bison stand in a grassy field

Every Saturday from June through September, Broken Wagon Bison offers public tours which allow visitors the opportunity to hop on a wagon and head out into the fields to observe the herd. Each tour starts inside the Buff Shop with an interactive presentation and video that shares interesting facts and a brief history of the bison.  

A decorated bison skull hangs on the wall. A table below it holds various bison products.

It’s estimated that the bison population in North America once reached as high as 60 million animals. Sadly, around the 1890s, that number reached as low as 600 due to aggressive hunting and sport. Today there are around 400,000 bison, mostly privately owned on farms much like Broken Wagon Bison.

A teen boy and girl walk up the steps of a trailer with bales of hay.

After getting to know the iconic American Bison, you will board an open-air wagon and head out into the pastures to see for yourself what enormous, incredible creatures they are. The sounds of grunting can be heard as the wagon moves slowly through the grass before coming to a stop. It just takes a moment or two and you’ll find yourself surrounded by dozens of bison.  While they are certainly close enough to the wagon at times, visitors are not allowed to reach out and touch them.  

A herd of bison walk toward a girl standing on a trailer.

There are usually plenty of spring calves, known as red dogs, nursing or running about with a case of the “zoomies.” Bison calves nurse until they are around six months old and will be looked after by their mother until around 1 1/2 years old. During the time spent with mom, the females will likely see their mother give birth to a sibling and will learn from her how to care for offspring. 

Two young light-colored bison stand amongst older bison.

While out with the herd, your tour guide will answer any bison-related questions you may have. The farm has been around for over 20 years and the guides are extremely knowledgeable and know the animals very well. We were surprised to learn the bison have names and some of their personalities are just as big as their size. And who knew bison love treats?! 

A farmer wearing jeans and a green rain jacket leans over the railing of a trailer and looks at bison.

Tours conclude back at the Buff Shop where you’ll find a variety of bison products for purchase, including soaps, bison leather belts, artwork, plush bison and of course… plenty of cuts of fresh bison meat. There is truly so much to learn and appreciate about the American Bison! 

A young girl in a turquoise shirt holds a black umbrella. A bison herd is behind her.

Know Before You Go:  Wagons are not covered and farm tours are dependent on weather conditions. If rain is in the forecast, it is a good idea to contact the farm before you arrive to determine if tours will go on as scheduled. Tours will be cancelled due to inclement weather, however, may still proceed with very light rain at the owners’ discretion. If there is any potential for weather related cancellations, it is best to contact the farm, the day you intend to visit, for any up-to-date information on tour schedules for the day.