Recently however, on one of the absolute loveliest days of a very damp season, Tony and I jumped in the car in and headed a little ways south of town to the charming orchard and fruit stand studded community of Keremeos. We went there will the sole intention of visiting the area's only (as far as I know) petting zoo, because, quite frankly we're two adults who's love of hanging out with snugly, feed-able animals rivals that of any kid on the face of the earth.
This daytrip was unplanned, which worked out perfectly actually, because I think if I'd know about it the night before, I genuinely would not have been able to sleep. Donning my Freddies of Pinewood overalls, a fun fuchsia plaid top, and some sturdy (forties-esque) walking shoes, I couldn't bolt out the door fast enough, my excitement mounting with every mile that ticked away.
We reached Farmer John's Petting Zoo shortly after they opened and were greeted by both a friendly staff and a gorgeous day that included a seriously lovely breeze. Having paid our admission and purchased bags of animal feed, we set off for a couple of hours of some of the best solid fun I've ever, quite frankly, had in my whole life.
Be forewarned, my dears, this post is rich in photos (captured with our little compact camera, not the usual Canon SLRs we use for most shoots) - but with so many ridiculously cute animals everywhere, it was impossible not to get a little snap happy!
This petting zoo is terrific, they have a really fun mix of farm life, rabbits, and guinea pigs, such as this darling little fellow - who like most of the cavies there, was busy scurrying all about, with next to no interest in what we humans were up to.
Another precious guinea piggie, this one poking out from under a wooden fence, intrigued by a branch that strong winds the night before had knocked down into its habitat.
It took the help of one of the farm’s staff, but after a little while we were finally able to catch a guinea pig, which I lovingly cradled in my hands for a couple of minutes. That look on my face? Complete and total bliss at the fulfilment of a lifelong desire (to hold a guinea!).
How much to do I love guinea pigs you may ask? Enough that, for the first time ever in my life, I’ve posted a picture here which shows a front view of (part of) my teeth. That might not seem like a big deal, but I have very crooked, crowded, unattractive teeth and virtually never smile with my mouth open as a result (a point which I could never even bring myself to talk about online before this post) . The staff member who took our picture kept talking to us as she was snapping though, and as a result the best photo she grabbed of Tony and I – with the massively cute piggie in it – was this one. Trust me, it will likely be a very long time (if ever) before you’ll see even this much of my (absolutely awful) teeth again.
While I could have joyfully held onto that endlessly sweet little black and white piggie all day, I was a good sport and let Tony have a turn too.
There were two areas (located very close to one another) with bunnies in them, the younger rabbits being placed in the same enclosure with the guinea pigs and the older, larger ones in an area unto themselves. These two fluffy cutie pies were chilling with the cavies.
I would have absolutely loved to have held a bunny, too, but none of them seemed game for it, so instead I was more than content just to capture photos of them – especially this ridiculously darling little black and white one hiding under a bench.
In the second rabbit enclosure one encountered sweetie pies like this sandy hued fellow, who’s long eared shadow reminded me of the classic shape of a chocolate Easter bunny.
While the rabbits weren’t too keen on being held, they were more than a little happy to take all of the delicious pellets we were feeding them (I wonder if this one liked my pearl bracelets?).
The bunnies were a little more shy around Tony, but eventually a couple of them warmed up to him and I was able to nab this shot of one inching its way toward his outstretched hand.
As you can see by the wind sock that was flapping around over the guinea pig enclosure, we were sharing our day with quite a breeze. Not that I minded in the least though, it helped make for the best temperature and weather you could ever want for a day like this.
This darling black and white piggie, who was on the verge of giving birth in just a few days, was so sweet natured and friendly. She’s allowed to wander about the farm amongst the visitors and was immensely happy to lap up all the treats we offered her.
Some of the penned animals had names on their fences, and this super friendly mule’s name was Cooper. He was a total doll who just loved having his face rubbed.
Like all the critters, big and small, that we encountered that day, Cooper the mule was also extremely fond of being feed a few handfuls of pellets.
While that day marked the first time I got to touch a guinea pig, it might surprise some to know that it wasn’t my first up close encounter with a llama (my mom and step-dad used to live right beside some people who kept a few and I used to pass pet them all the time on my way to and from walking up the hill to catch the school bus).
I do believe though that this may very well have been the first time I’ve ever had a chance to feed a llama – or in this case, two shaggy haired sweeties!
Feeding llamas was also a first for Tony that sunny, wonderful day.
The petting zoo is located just off of main stretch of the highway that runs through the little community of Keremeos (seen in the background here), an area famed – and much beloved throughout the province – for its excellent produce and many fruit stands.
This pony was as cute a button, however he also had a bit of a jealous streak! A second (white) pony was located in the paddock right next to him and the moment I started feeding that one instead of him, he stomped his front hooves against the metal fence, demanding that we feed him again, too!
Like most petting zoos, this one had a number of goats, all of who enjoyed being feed and petted (which was great because I couldn’t get enough of running my hands through their ultra soft fur!).
And as you can see in this shot, neither could Tony!
These little pygmy goats were so eager to get to the treats some were head butting each other to reach my outstretched hand first.
As you can imagine, this big fellow wasn’t for petting, but he was still fun to see nevertheless and he certainly put me in the mood for autumn’s return.
Contently at peace with the beautiful world – and generous abundance of ultra darling animals – around me.
The petting zoo is designed so that one follows a natural path that leads them past all of the varying critters, but at the same time also allows for easy backtracking if – like me – you just have to go see the bunnies again before carrying on with the rest of the sights.
And, well, if you’re saying hello to the rabbits once more, you definitely better wave a cheerful hi to the guinea pigs as well (even if they’re too busy nibbling away on straw and grass to pay much attention to you).
Though the sunlight was a tad harsh, the moment I spied an open (to the public) barn with bales of hay and a red rake in it, I just knew I had to pose for a photo…
Or two! (That’s me daydreaming about the next time we get to visit Farmer John’s!)
Prescription eyeglasses: (frames) Venus Eye Design V-12
Photos of me by Antonio Cangiano, pics of Tony and the critters on their own taken by me, and the snapshot of the two of us together taken by one of the petting zoo staff.
I tell yah, on the awesomely enjoyable, ultra adorable animal filled scale, days just don't come much more fun than this, and I absolutely know that there will be many a trip more to the Keremeos petting zoo in our future - especially when the overwhelming urge to spend time with a guinea pig strikes again!