I love petting zoos.
There, I’ve said it.
So when we came around a sweeping curve on the Gippsland Hwy and a series of billboards in a paddock were giving every indication one lay ahead I went from ‘keen to get to our next stop to set up camp’ to ‘happy to take a breather’ quicker than you can say cream cheese.
“Are we stopping?” I asked Tracey. “The signs say there’s an animal nursery and coffee.”
“Do you feel like a coffee?”
Sometimes it’s like she doesn’t know me. I always feel like a coffee.
“The kids could have a drink and we could make cow jokes,” I suggested. “What do you think?”
“Diary do it,” quipped Tracey, “or should we skim past? I’m in the moo-d for a milkshake. I think we feta herd in.”
And then I got so side-tracked with trying to think of an appropriate cow pun to say back at her I missed the turn.
Five minutes later I’d managed to do two u-turns and not miss the entrance for a second time.
“It looks like we can watch them milk the cows too,” I said, pointing to a sign. “This is friggin’ awesome.”
“Udderly,” agreed Tracey.
“Stop it,” I winked. “You’re getting me horny, baby.”
“You’re so immanure,” she said, and she lead the way off our bus and over to the cafe.
As luck would have it we arrived at just the right time to watch the dairy in action. Amazing to see how keen the cows were to get into the machine and be milked, nudging each other out of the way and happily munching on grain as they were hooked up and taken for a spin. The walls in the viewing room were filled with information about the farm and the milking process. We learned the paint on the cow hindquarters corresponded to their breeding cycle and how the milk has to be cooled to 4degrees within the hour.
The animal nursery was just as great, with the kids able to hand feed a calf & her buddies while we chatted in impressed tones about the horns growing out of the goat’s heads and less enthusiastically about how chicken eggs come out of their bums.
Miss5, of course, wanted to hug all the animals, but fortunately there were locks on the gates.
Well, most of the gates.
“Bunnies!’ we heard her exclaim excitedly, and by the time we turned she was already in the pen and at the coop.
Which, it turned out, was also unlocked. A point which became worryingly obvious when our daughter lifted the flap and shoved her whole head in, no doubt giving the critters a bit of a fright but also their best ever chance of escape.
“No!” yelped Tracey, racing in to drag her daughter out and close the flap. “You can’t open that.”
“Of course we can,” she told her mum. “I just did. Besides, how do you think they get the eggs?”
“Bunnies don’t lay eggs,” Miss7 explained from the other side of the pen. “They lay baby rabbits.’
“Don’t be silly,” Miss5 admonished her as Tracey dragged her through the gate and I kept an eye on the cafe to see if security was going to race over and evict us. “Haven’t you heard of the Easter Bunny?”
I love petting zoos. There’s always a chuckle to be had.
Thanks for the mammaries, Caldermeade, as we clock up another successful homeschooling and coffeeing excursion.
But also, really sorry if Miss5 has frightened your rabbits so much they go off the lay.
Raising a family on little more than laughs
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