WAYLAND — A local petting zoo held its first-ever Halloween event to raise some funds for the animals.
"Dinky Doo Petting Zoo and Pony Rides Too" had fun for the whole family the weekend before Halloween with games, treats, and animals.
Cherie Carter, owner, said she needs to raise money to keep the petting zoo going strong for the community.
“My volunteers have been a huge help, but I need more of them. I need to raise money to keep the animals fed, maintenance, insurance, and keep the zoo running. We had a great turnout for the first day of Boo At The Zoo,” she said. “I have a lot of great ideas to keep the zoo going, but I can’t do it alone. I need the help from the community.”
There are a couple new mini horses and ponies at the zoo. There have been carriage rides done for birthday parties and around the community. Carter wants to do private horse lessons to bring in money in the springtime.
“When I get some great volunteers, I feel like the community is really stepping up to help out,” she said. “If they want this zoo to stay open for their kids, I need help. I have 100 animals that need to be fed. This has to be a community effort in order to survive.”
Carter said she has had people come from all over to see her zoo, and the children get to know and love the animals.
“We have posted new animals on Facebook and asked the community to help name them. The kids have learned a lot about the animals, and have really come to love them,” she said. “I had a tour bus from Livingston County Chamber Tourism here the other day with 35 hospitality people. They loved what we had done for Boo At The Zoo. They told me they would bring people to my zoo.”
Carter said that in the past nearly three years people have really loved bringing their children to the zoo.
Jennifer Kelly, volunteer, said she was honored to take part in Boo At The Zoo. She was in charge of the guessing game.
“I was being a Fortune Teller and it was so much fun. It is a guessing game where I blindfold them, and put things in their hands they have to guess what it is. My mom used to play this game with us when I was a kid,” she said. “I decided to dress up like a Gypsy for this. My mom always dressed up like a Witch. This is the first time I have done the game, and I would love to volunteer to do it again at other places.”
Marla Bryant, volunteer, said she has always loved coming with her family to the zoo.
“I love animals and I think this is a great little zoo for the kids. They can come someplace local to learn about the animals, and have a really great experience. I helped brush them and get the animals ready for the event. I have enjoyed the experience of volunteering here,” she said. “It is therapeutic for me to help the animals. I get to love on all of them, and I have claimed them all. I told Cherie she has me for life as a volunteer. I feel like I am doing something useful for the community.”
Bryant added that Carter is a great person with a huge heart who does a lot for the community.
“She really loves what she does. She loves all of her animals. I think she has made a fantastic impact on the community. She gives them all an outpour of love,” she said. “The kids get to come here and learn how to treat and respect the animals. They get to learn skills needed for life. There is a lot of work that goes into keeping these animals happy, healthy, and alive.”
Bryant has done some animal care herself, rehabbing back into the wild animals such as raccoons, chipmunks, squirrels, and possums.
Dinky Doo Petting Zoo and Pony Rides Too is open on Thursday, Friday, Saturday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and in colder weather Friday and Saturday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. They will be open until Dec. 22. They will close down for the winter until the end of March. They are located at 1864 Route 63 in Wayland. It is $8 per person for the zoo. Cash and credit card payments are accepted.