This complete guide covers everything about travelling petting zoos – their fascinating history, cute animals, costs, locations, safety, and making magical family memories interacting with amazing exotic creatures!
Travelling petting zoos allow kids and parents to enjoy magical up-close encounters with adorable exotic animals. This complete guide covers everything you need to know about petting zoos, from their fascinating history to safety tips, costs, popular animals, and where to find mobile zoos near you. Get ready for memorable adventures at a petting zoo!
A Brief History of Travelling Petting Zoos
From Ancient Times to Modern Mobile Menageries
While ancient nobles would take exotic beasts on the road for entertainment, the origins of today’s petting zoo trend started in the 1960s. New York producer Lee Ehmke pioneered the idea of a “Children’s Zoo” that brought barnyard animals to urban areas for education. By the 1970s, they were hugely popular attractions at fairs across North America.
Now hundreds of mobile petting zoos travel to schools, libraries, parties, festivals, and farms to provide interactive encounters. From goats to llamas, ponies to parrots, petting zoos aim to foster connections between people and animals of all kinds.
Adorable Animals You Can Pet, Feed, and Hold
Ponies, Goats, Bunnies, and More Await at the Zoo!
One of the best parts of petting zoos is getting to meet and interact with cute, friendly critters up close. Some animals you’re likely to encounter at a travelling zoo include:
From pygmy to full-sized, pettable goats love human attention. Brush their curly coats and feed them right from your hand!
Fluffy lambs, curly-horned rams, and more. Sheep of all sizes flock to visitors for treats and pets.
These mini horses are perfect for giving little kids rides. Snap sweet photos petting the gentle ponies.
Floppy-eared bunnies have irresistibly soft fur. Gently hold and stroke a snuggly rabbit.
Towering yet gentle, llamas lean in close and hum to greet you.
See these energetic marsupials bounce around! You may get to bottle feed a baby wallaby.
Goofy chickens beg for hand-feeding and chase after treats. Pet fluffy hens and collect feathers.
Chat with smart tropical parrots perched on your arm or shoulder. Their colors astound up close.
The Benefits of Up Close Animal Interactions for Kids
Developing Care and Responsibility Through Play
Petting zoos are especially positive experiences for little ones. Benefits for kids include:
- Learning empathy, caretaking skills, and responsibility from hands-on interactions.
- Gaining knowledge about different animal species, needs, and traits through first-hand encounters.
- Getting exercise and sunshine during outdoor activities like pony rides.
- Making treasured family memories and bonding over the adventures.
- Having an absolute blast! From piggy kisses to llama selfies, kids will be giddy with delight.
Of course, safety comes first when interacting with any animal. Teach children proper etiquette like being calm, gentle, and avoiding sudden movements. Move slowly and follow all rules. Supervise closely, especially with smaller kids. But done properly, petting zoos create magical connections!
Finding Travelling Petting Zoos Near You
Upcoming Zoos at Fairs, Festivals, Farms, and Parties
Want to have your own up close animal experience? Here are some places to search for mobile petting zoo fun:
- County and state fairs – Petting zoos are staples at most fair midways.
- Amusement/theme parks – Places like Knott’s Berry Farm have daily petting attractions.
- Local festivals – Community events and harvest festivals often feature zoos.
- Apple orchards – Many orchards have animal areas and schedule special zoo days.
- Pumpkin patches – Pick pumpkins and pet goats at many patch amusement parks.
- Agritourism farms – Farms centered on family fun regularly add petting zoos.
- Schools/libraries – Zoos visit for field trips, summer reading programs, and parties.
- Private booking – Hire zoos for birthdays, corporate events, camps, etc.
Many locations advertise upcoming petting zoo days on social media and websites. Join email lists to get petting zoo alerts all year long.
What to Expect: Cost, Tips, Safety
Answers to Common Petting Zoo Questions
Wondering what to expect from a day of petting zoo fun? Here are answers to some frequently asked questions:
How much does it cost to visit a petting zoo?
Admission is often included with farm/fair entry fees. If there’s a separate petting zoo fee, it is usually under $10 per person. Feed buckets to hand-feed the animals run about $5.
Can I touch and feed the animals at a petting zoo?
Yes! Interacting with the animals is highly encouraged. Feed buckets let you hand-feed carrots, grains, and treats to the friendly residents.
Is a petting zoo safe for toddlers and babies?
Supervised, yes! Teach little ones to sit still, move slowly, and be very gentle with the animals. Keep a close eye and provide help as needed.
Can I take photos at the petting zoo?
Absolutely! Petting zoos make for very cute photos. Just avoid using flash directly in the animals’ eyes.
Should I wash up after visiting the animals?
Yes, thoroughly wash hands with soap and warm water after touching the animals. This prevents any potential transmission of zoonotic diseases.
Are the animals treated humanely at travelling petting zoos?
Reputable companies prioritize animal welfare and health. Look for positive reviews and accreditation from parks or entertainment associations.
What’s the best way to interact with petting zoo animals?
Move slowly, speak softly, and let the animals approach you. Hand-feed gently and follow handlers’ instructions. Stay calm and don’t chase the animals.
Let the Petting Zoo Adventures Begin!
Family Memories that Will Last a Lifetime
Travelling petting zoos blend adorable exotic animals, hands-on interaction, outdoor adventures, and education for an unforgettable family experience. Make treasured memories hand-feeding goats, riding ponies, and cuddling bunnies. From babies to grandparents, generations can bond over petting zoo delight.
These mobile zoos foster compassion and curiosity about the animal kingdom in a responsible, supervised environment. The hands-on encounters inspire wonder that can last a lifetime. So what are you waiting for? Find a travelling petting zoo near you and start the family fun today! Happy petting zoo adventures!