| LOOKS ARE IMPORTANT
A classy petting zoo will have generous sized corrals and attractive shelters. Allow at least 12′ between corrals so week end crowds can have plenty of room. Mowing will be easier. Rough sawn lumber always looks great for the corrals . The animals will be accessible,through the boards, which is what you want. Other materials can also be used, such as cyclone fencing and chicken wire, depending on the kinds of animals that will be in the exhibit, and whether or not you want those animals to be accessible for petting, or just to look at.
The exhibit area itself should always be free of debris and clutter, and especially free of manure and rain run off. Look at your exhibits through your customers eyes and try to make your exhibits as aesthetically pleasing as possible.
The above, of course, does not address small children’s petting areas where children actually get in the same pen with a variety of animals. These too are nice and can be a very effective attraction at farm markets.One cannot help but be impressed with the fine travelling petting zoos seen at county fairs with friendly attendants , colorful canopies, and attractive well cared for animals. It is these qualities that farm marketers will want to emulate in their permanent petting zoos.
Make your peting zoo diffrent from others by planting some trees and shrubs around the corrals and throughout the petting zoo grounds. The Soil Conservation District for your area usually has spring sales of trees. Saplings are inexpensive and they grow fast. Raised flower beds look great with a perimeter of field stones.Share your bulbs, roots, and cuttings with others. It’s a friendly thing to do and will peg you in the eyes of your customers as a generous person, and they will respond in kind.
Those of you who like the beauty of Four o’clocks can send for a free packet of seeds to PETTING ZOO DIRECTORY, 3125 E. Broadmoor, Lansing, Mi. 48906. Enclose a S.A.S.E.
If you would like your petting zoo landscaping to be featured on this page, please e-mail me a photo, or send it to the above address. The Childrens Petting Zoo in Saginaw Michigan has extensive, but small plantings of flower beds whose care and beauty are maintained by civic organization volunteers.
The Childrens Garden at Michigan State University is a must see for all families with children. It’s free, except for parking, and is worth going out of your way to visit. It will inspire you and give you ideas on how to improve the looks of your petting zoo.
Another example of pleasing petting zoo landscaping can be found at the Saginaw Childrens Petting Zoo in Saginaw, Michigan. Parents love to bring their children here where the animals are shown in attractive settings, not found at other places.
Goats are the friendliest of petting zoo animals. Children and parents love them. If you can, plan to design your petting zoo around a grouping of goat attractions, such as a goat skywalk, a goat milking stand where children can milk a nanny, and a small cart hitched to a goat where children can have their pictures taken..Have plenty of coin operated feed machines handy. You will need them
The photo on the left shows Andrew Worgul milking a nanny. Strolling geese are in the background. I never had more than three geese at a time at my petting zoo. This way their droppings were never a problem, since they preferred to stay at a distance from humans. But even at a distance, they looked good to the eyes of the visitors and were a favorable attraction to the petting zoo.
Some goats are easier to milk than others.Kicking goats are not much fun, so you will want to find one that is gentle and is not disturbed by crowds of people. Some breeds of goats are better milkers than others. If you have a problem goat, talk it over with the cooperative extension agent in your county, or a veterinarian There may be a simple solution
And what about “bees”? Observation hives are very nice, but there are at least three other things that can be done with a “bee hive” focus that will entertain and educate your customers amd help bring school tours to your farm market.
One year I had a group of about 15 delinquent boys from a nearby training school come for a tour of the cider mill and petting zoo, accompanied, of course, by training school staff. They liked the “bee seminar “best of all. What did we do? They looked for the queen, and were fascinated in knowing a drone had a grandfather but no father!! They saw me in my bee suit , saw the smoker smoke, and actually felt an empty honey comb. They then made a beeswax candle from colored beeswax foundation. And lastly, they were each given a taste of comb honey with the wax in it. We did this for all school tours. It’s worth it. Not very expensive. And teachers and parents think it’s great.
These animals add a certain valuable color to the petting zoo area. True, they aren’t pettable, since they don’t readily come up to people. But they look good if even at a distance. Turkeys, however can be friendly. I don’t think white ones look very good. But if you are fortunate enough to have the Presidents Thanksgiving day turkey donated to your petting zoo, take it and publicize it for all it’s worth. I much prefer Toms ( Bronze or Royal Palm ) Have a nice attractive shelter for them. Hopefully, you will let them roam the petting zoo area . Mine always liked to follow the school tour children.
| LAMBS & CALVES
These animals are cute as the dickens, but they don’t stay small very long Little calves will get scours if you over feed them, and that is what will likely happen at a petting zoo. So you have to watch out for this.The calf pen will have to be cleaned daily and should be of an extra generous size with a grazing area. You will want to get replacement calves and lambs each year, so you will always have small animals.
Children love small baby lambs, especially if they are born at the petting zoo. Have several of them if you can. They gradually lose their cuddly appeal as they get older, but they are nice to have never-the-less.
| INEXPENSIVE ATTRACTIONS
A classy petting zoo area should have a number of inexpensive attractions. These can be in the forn of statuary, educational signs, or perhaps a pergola. One popular attraction I saw at the Childrens Farmstead in Overland Park, Ks. was a simple hand pump that the children could pump water with, Another one was an Indian Weather Rock. Eduacational Signs are great. In future revisions of this page, I will feature some of them.
A classy petting zoo is a community jewel. It will bring additional customers to your farm market and be a source of additional revenue. People will be interested in ” What’s going on at the zoo?” The local newspapers and shopping guides will run photos and stories of new exhibits and personnel if these stories are well done. The CALEBMOBILE, shown at the left was made out of Dodge van and used in parades as well as to pull the orchard hay wagon. It was a lot of fun. A good deal of free publicity resulted. The one shown could hold a four piece band or a gaggle of clowns.
Late winter and early spring is a good time to check with local communities on parade dates and how you can enter your parade unit. A pair of nicely groomed llamas with red checkered neck bandanas strolling in the parade with their owner is a fine entry.
To beautify your petting zoo or houehold landscaping. Send a S.A.S.E. to Bob Worgul, 3125 E. Broadmoor, Lansing, Mi. 48906. You will be sent enough seeds to plant a 10″ row. More upon request.