Mobile Animal Farms other wise know as ‘Mobile Petting Zoos” travel to any venue or event.
They serve a multitude of purposes including entertainment, for festivals, education with school incursions, distraction for nursing homes and more. Shopping centres aware of their attraction for children, hire them to draw in shoppers to their centre providing children’s Entertainment for hours. Corporate functions use them as a team building experience. Childcare centres give children their first experience in many cases with animals other than the domestic cat. And of course they are also available for that special birthday farm party with a difference.
From a time when animals shared daily life with humans, population growth and movement into cities combined with the mechanisation of agricultural tasks, resulted in a reduction of common daily contact. Even Circuses shifted away from the inclusion of animals as a growing awareness of the needs and rights of animals, dictated a change in human responsibility and interaction.
Beyond cats, dogs, guinea pigs, rabbits, and to a lesser extent, horses, exposure to a wider variety of animals was limited to trips to the zoo or museums for animals from long ago.
Perhaps 20 years ago this started to change. The advent of the Mobile Petting Zoo or Animal farm was launched. Unfortunately I have not been able to research by whom, where or precisely when, but it was an entrepreneurial stroke of genius that has since grown in popularity and frequency for special occasions of all sort. So much so that even in regional events, where one might reasonably assume they are unnecessary, petting farms remain a popular fixture.
This growth has seen the type and breadth expand into all manner of companies.
Some Mobile Farm yards have designed their package cleverly. For instance ‘Old MacDonald’s Farm’ looks like a rickety old shed transported on the back of a trailer.
Along the lines but different, are the reptile specialists. ‘Wild Action’ for instance has perfected its niche market such that it won a small business award some years ago. They also branched out to offer a wide variety of products tailored to most reptilian enquiries.
The size of the animal pens, number of animals is often variable and will depend on the specific requirements of the client. It is no accident that these mobile farms house baby animals as the adults of the species would be impractical to transport and inappropriate for the purpose.
Along with the clowns, puppeteers and children’s entertainers, mobile farms and petting Zoos are all available through any number of agents and give that immediate wow experience.
Perhaps the real values lie in reminding us that we share the planet with other species, or that perhaps for just a moment we can forget about ourselves and the lives we have. Whether for teaching, team building or distraction, one thing remains constant; they provide a fabulous, interactive, immediate, hands on experience that even Zoos cannot provide.