Yesterday we attended the 4th birthday party of the son of one of hubby's colleagues. As a fun activity, they had hired Butterfield Acres to come out and set up a small petting zoo for the attendees. So. Much. Fun. Our girlies LOVED it (Doodle loved it most, but Buggie sure got a lot of enjoyment out of it as well)
Because we arrived at the party early, it gave us a chance to see how they set everything up. Really, they keep it pretty simple. One girl, a truck, some portable fencing and an assortment of small animals. For this party, there were two goats, two sheep, three bunnies and 4 chicks. For a party of around 10 kids, this was fairly adequate.
The girl from Butterfield set up the fence in the backyard (if it had been raining, they could have set up in the garage). She also set up a hand washing station. Then came the animals. First she brought out a box with the chicks in it. These would stay in the box for the entire party. Then, one by one, she brought out the goats and lambs. The bunnies were all in a cage and she took them out and let them hop around the penned area with the goats and lambs.
I really do need to give the Butterfield girl some kudos here. She was FANTASTIC with the kids. From gentle introductions to teaching the kids how to feed the animals or how to pick them up - she was pleasant and gentle. Even when the birthday boy got a little overzealous picking up a chick - she was able to calmly teach him how when a baby bird makes that sound, it's time to adjust the hold. The biggest thing that impressed me, though, was how smoothly she would clean up any of the animal waste before it could be a mess on some kid. So quick.
My girls adored the animals...as displayed in Cancun when we visited the Turtle Sanctuary - they are fearless. Not afraid to touch and pick up anything. Doodle was snatching chicks out of the box faster than we could stop her...but she was always gentle. Buggie was more reserved, but she loved to watch and pet the animals. Considering these two have been so sick all week, we weren't sure how they would handle it. There were several times we considered cancelling our RSVP...but we're glad we didn't. It was the first time we'd seen Doodle smile and laugh in days. I think this might be the thing that helps her finally recover from being sick.
All in all - it was a nice way to spend a birthday party. The petting zoo came for only an hour (according to their website - that hour costs around $190). All of the kids really seemed to enjoy it and it helped to pass the time and keep the fights at bay. After all - it's much harder to fight over a goat than over a yard toy.