Families flock to Baby Animal Days at Centennial Village | TheFencePost.com

Families flock to Baby Animal Days at Centennial Village

Dustin Jones
djones@greeleytribune.com

Kids ran back and forth from the sheep to goats to the baby rabbits to a miniature horse, and back again to the goats and cows. The biggest decision they had to make on Monday was which animal to see next.

"It's a sheep, not a cow!" Katrina Haag called out to 2-year-old Easton Foley, who scrambled from one pen to another to take a peek at what animals were inside.

The sunny weather on Monday brought families out to Centennial Village, 1475 A St. in Greeley, for an opportunity to get up close and personal with some friendly farm animals, after the first weekend of the season.

Two years ago, Baby Animal Days moved from Plumb Farm, 955 39th Ave. in Greeley, to Centennial Village because of renovations, but Bill Armstrong, curator of Education and Living History in Greeley, plans to keep the event at its new home.

With the number of visitors ranging from about 100 per day during the week to 400-500 on the weekends, the 9 acres of land allows the animals and visitors the space necessary to be comfortable, Armstrong said.

The Centennial Village location also has more parking, allowing buses from schools and daycares, than the previous location. "It's a great place, but it wasn't designed to handle 300 kids at a time," Armstrong said of Plumb Farm.

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The larger space allots plenty of room for animals like Ethel the cow and Destiny the miniature horse, as well as ducklings, rabbits, goats, lambs, turkeys, pigs and chickens, to be comfortable.

"Most kids don't get the chance to see a horse, or pet a cow, everyday," Armstrong said.

Volunteers supervise as children, and parents alike, pet and feed the animals.

Families tend to flow in and out throughout the day, giving hundreds of visitors a chance to interact with the animals, said Will Abbot, assistance curator of Education and Living History for Greeley. Baby Animal Days isn't just a petting zoo though, he said. It is also about agricultural history and education. "We want each person to go home with more of an experience than just touching a baby animal," Abbot said.

Cohen Harms, a 3-year-old from Greeley, got real close to Ethel the cow, which managed to give the toddler a lick across the face.

"It's soft!" the boy yelled.

Katrina Haag and 2-year-old Easton Foley came primarily to see the cows. Foley called out "Cow! Moo!" as he scampered around. "I used to come here when I was little," said Haag.

Almost every animal at Centennial Village was provided by Greeley West High School Future Farmers of America, and on occasion they even let Centennial Village adopt one to stick around for the rest of the season.

Centennial Village will be open for the regular season beginning at the end of Memorial Day and lasting until about Halloween, Armstrong said.

Baby Animal Days

Baby Animal Days is open 9 a.m-noon. and 1-3 p.m. until April 12 at Centennial Village in Island Grove Regional Park, 14th Avenue and A Street. Cost is $2.50 for admission for anyone over 3. For more information, go to http://greeleymuseums.com/event/baby-animal-days/