WAYLAND — The Dinky Doo Petting Zoo and Pony Rides Too has quickly become a family tradition in the several months it has been open.


Free Spirit Leather Shop and Dinky Doo Petting Zoo and Pony Rides Too owner Cherie Carter said there will be some great changes coming to the beloved shop and zoo starting in the Spring 2018.


“I am going to build more out back,” she said. “I will have an handicap access bathroom, an efficiency apartment for myself, and a place for private parties. I will have the parties available on Sundays.”


Carter said the major expansion comes from her desire to be close to the family she has created in the three years she has called this place home.


“I will build straight out about 42 feet,” Carter said. “The apartment will have one bedroom, a kitchen, a bathroom, and a laundry room. I will also be putting a well in, so I can have plumbing.”


There will be another barn for the horses in the winter time and a tressel in the back. The doors will be taken off and made more handicap accessible. There will be a lot of work done on the roof, and outside of the main building. The barn for the animals is going to get an upgrade as well.


Carter said the Christmas event she had over the weekend Dec. 9 and Dec. 10 was a huge success.


“The kids all had a blast here,” she said. “We must have had about 200 kids here over the weekend. We had a horse drawn carriage, and the kids really loved that.”


Santa Claus volunteered his time to the children at the petting zoo that weekend.


“The kids just love him as Santa Claus,” Carter said. “I am very grateful to him doing that for me.”


It looks like there might be two additions to the petting zoo family. The mini-horse is pregnant, and the llama may be pregnant as well.


Carter said that she is looking forward to having more baby animals in the barn.


“The petting zoo is fantastic,” she said. “I have so many regular customers that come in to see the animals. I have a little four-year-old named Gunner who comes with his grandparents three times a week, and told me he wants to work for Dinky Doo someday.”


The pig and the bunnies are a huge hit at the petting zoo, and the children can sit on a bench while the bunnies jump into their laps.


“I have many wonderful customers,” Carter said. “Most of my leather shop business is in repairing things. I repair belts, zippers, and do a lot of patch work. I want to take a class next year that will teach me how to make saddles.”


Carter said she hopes to have more schools interested in the petting zoo next year, but she did have daycares and seniors come in frequently.


“The animals are my babies, and I will make sure they don’t go without,” she said. “I need help feeding them, since it takes a lot to keep them all fed.”


Carter began a Go Fund Me page https://www.gofundme.com/dinky-doo-petting-zoo-expantion to help with the funds for the animals. If you would like to help give the animals what they need click on the link and make a donation. Every little bit helps go a long way.


“This place is my heart and soul, and what I dreamed of doing,” Carter said. “I hope when I can no longer take this on that someone will take over for me and keep this going. I love that the zoo brings such joy to the kids.”


The petting zoo will be open until Christmas every Friday and Saturday. The shop and petting zoo will take a couple months off in the start of the year, so that Carter can spend time with her family. In that time she plans on getting the ball rolling on the expansions. The shop and petting zoo are located at 1864 State Route 63 in Wayland and can be reached at 585-978-5611.