WAYLAND — The Dinky Doo Petting Zoo and Pony Rides Too had its grand opening on May 6 despite the rainy day.
Free Leather Shop Owner Cherie Carter said that the rain did not keep the children away from the cute little animals. The children who did not want to ride the pony in the rain were told to keep their tickets, and come back on a sunny day. There were 11 baby bunnies born on opening day.
Free Spirit Leather Shop employee Tanya McIntyre had the honor of taking the children out to pasture on the pony rides. The children were required to wear helmets for safety, and those who did not mind the rain had a lot of fun.
“We went gentle and slow for the children who never rode a pony before, and a little faster with those who have,” she said. “We taken them around the four cones two times and back to the drop off area.”
McIntyre said that it worked out in the end with the rain, because they didn’t want to overwhelm the animals on the first day.
“The animals are all friendly and love the hugs,” she said. “I grew up with horses, and my daughters are familiar with them too. They have been out in the rain doing the pony rides.”
The bunny pen was the most popular of the day, because of the baby bunnies and the pygmy goats.
“I am so happy for Cherie and her huge accomplishment,” McIntyre said. “The animals love to get attention everyday.”
In the future the Dinky Doo Petting Zoo will be open for birthday parties and school field trips.
“We want the children to learn about the animals,” McIntyre said. “It will be focused on the school, so they get the experience with the animals.”
Rob Harder said he met Carter last year when he was Santa Claus, and he loves helping out at the zoo.
“She put a lot of work into this, and it is a nice environment for the kids,” he said. “There are not many farms around anymore, so the kids can come here and pet the animals.”
Marian Crawford could not make it to the grand opening, but she wrote to Carter about how proud she was of her big day.
Carter said she has made many new friends here, and she has kept her old friends. She thanked everyone for their support in making this day come true.
George Carr, Carter’s father, had the bunny pen dedicated to him. The “Pop’s Barn” sign was unveiled at the ribbon cutting.
“I couldn’t be happier for her,” he said. “She has put a lot into this. It is wonderful to have this dedicated to me.”
Carter said the words her father always said are on the sign, “If you learn something new everyday, you get to live another day.”
David Oliver as “Dangerous Dave” and Stanley “Stosh” Kawczynski as “The Seeker” came to do storytelling for the children on opening day.
“I do a lot of storytelling with the boy scouts,” Oliver said. “I show them how to live like a mountain man at camp.”
Both storytellers are here to support Carter, and think that she is doing a great job keeping stories alive.
“I came here to get leather after my friend Jamieson Steele told me about her,” Oliver said. “I always liked the fur trading era, and I am a big fur trade history buff.”
Oliver’s father was a WWII veteran and never liked to talk about the war. He learned more about the war by volunteering at the National Warplane Museum in Geneseo.
Kawczynski feels a strong connection the animals, and he enjoys the Native American way of storytelling.
“Children can learn about the spirit of the animal,” he said. “The indians would go out and watch the animals, and come up with these stories.”
“We need to keep the traditions alive,” Kawczynski continued. “We need to support each other in small businesses.”
Dinky Doo Petting Zoo and Pony Rides Too has rules posted along the cages, and asks that you dress appropriately for the zoo, such as sneakers, boots, and tennis shoes.
They are located at 1864 State Route 63 in Wayland. Hours are Thursday through Sunday 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. They can be reached at 585-978-5611. Among the animals are Llamas, chickens, mini-horses, mini-donkey, pigs, sheep, goats, bunnies, and ponies. It costs $5 to get in per-person, and $5 for a ride.