What are Petting Farms?
Petting farms are a collection of farm and exotic species that are calm and friendly enough to be touched and fed. Even though public zoos became popular in the 1700s, the attendance of visitors to zoos in the United States has increased by 20% in the last 15 years. Although they are similar, petting farms and petting zoos are usually geared towards smaller, local operations. On the other hand, zoos are large, commercial businesses with more animals, buildings, and exhibits.
For many people, petting farms are fun and exciting because they give people an opportunity to see and connect with various animals. Depending on the size and operation style of the petting zoo, they may even offer rides on large animals or the chance to hold a small animal. For these reasons and many others, petting farms are getting more popular all the time.
What Animals are Common at Petting Farms?
Petting farms often have numerous species of animals to see, touch, and interact with. A majority of animals, such as goats, sheep, pigs, cows, horses, donkeys, alpacas, llamas, turkeys, chickens, ducks, and rabbits are domesticated species from farms. Although these animals may seem ordinary to people living in rural or farming communities, people elsewhere will be making lifelong memories.
Also, most petting farms feature some sort of exotic or unusual animals. These can be more exciting to see in person and attract more visitors. Some of these may include deer, camels, wallabies, emus, large parrots, tortoises, iguanas, peacocks, and zebras. These animals are less commonly seen or interacted with in daily life, even in rural areas.
General Do’s and Don’ts
Like any public place, there are rules and expectations about what you are and are not allowed to do there. It can be important to follow these rules for reasons such as the safety of the people, the safety of the animals, and biosecurity.
- Follow directions and rules posted by the petting farm
- Walk around the enclosures calmly
- Stay in the designated petting farm guest areas
- Feed the animals what is permitted by the petting farm
- Wash your hands after touching the animals
- Have a great time
- Think that the rules don’t apply to you
- Run, jump, or climb on, around, or into the enclosures
- Wander or sneak into prohibited or ‘employee only’ areas
- Feed the animals treats or snacks you brought with you
- Put your hands on or near your face before washing them
Where to Find Petting Farms Near You
These days, the best way to find petting farms near you is to search for them online. Local petting farms may come in the form of a functioning farm, mobile petting farm, or even backyard set-ups. You should be able to find information regarding the animals, events, facilities, and more on their website or over the phone. Going to a local petting farm is also a great way to support small businesses in your community.