Pavilion, play scape scheduled for Petting Farm

One of Taylor’s most popular locations, the Heritage Park Petting Farm, will receive a facelift and key new additions. Planned are a new play scape area and a new barn pavilion, along with some new walkways that will help tie together the entire facility. Construction is planned for Spring 2021.

“The Heritage Park Petting Farm is very excited at the prospect of adding a pavilion and play scape to our grounds,” said Melanie Shihadeh, manager. “This will greatly benefit a lot of the programs we do –  from creating new opportunities for school tours to really expanding the possibilities of our special events, and even and especially our everyday visitors.”

Recreation Director Guido Ulin and Mayor Rick Sollars researched ideas on how to improve and enhance the Petting Farm. The location attracts thousands of visitors each year, whether it is through general traffic, private events like birthday parties, public events like Wild Weekends, or school visits.  Adding a new outdoor pavilion topped their list, and a 40-foot by 60-foot facility is planned between the welcome center and Pardee Road. That facility will enable the Petting Farm staff to add private events, and is suited well for the current pandemic-related atmosphere, where many people prefer to be outdoors. The new 50-foot by 50-foot play scape will be located next to the new pavilion, near the property’s southeast corner.

Similar to the new building and grounds maintenance facility that was built last year directly north along Pardee, the new pavilion and play scape will take on the overall décor of the Petting Farm. The pavilion will look like another barn, and the play scape will be dotted with equipment that looks like it belongs on a farm.     

“The area that the pavilion and play scape are planned to inhabit is mostly unused land right now,” Shihadeh said. “These structures will give new purpose and give extra benefits to all our patrons. From enjoying cider and donuts in the fall under a shaded patio, talking about farming and sustainability with school groups in the spring, to creating new fun spaces during the farm’s variety of special events each month, we know the pavilion and farm themed play scape will add a lot of fun and practical use to our establishment, and couldn’t be more pleased with the plans thus far."

The petting farm is already home to a full-size barn housing goats, sheep, alpacas, ponies, cows, donkeys, rabbits, chickens, and piglets. Guests can view and interact with the animals under the guidance of our staff. A large nature pond is also located behind the welcome center building. Learning is a key element of the facility, and the farm provides a place where you can achieve many educational outcomes, no matter the student. The auditory learner can hear a rooster crow, or a cow moo. The sensory learner can touch the wool on a soft sheep or feel the feathers of a baby chick. The sights, sounds and smell of the barn give each student an opportunity to come in close contact with our friendly animals.

Currently, due to the pandemic and the winter season, the farm is closed (although it is being used for the ongoing Taylor Winterfest: Blizzard of Oz). Farm field trips are usually scheduled Tuesdays through Fridays. The one-hour guided tour explores different livestock species and teaches interesting facts about day-to-day functions of a working farm. The barn is heated in the winter, so a field trip can usually take place anytime throughout the school year.  When it comes to events and regular hours, Heritage Park Petting Farm Family Fun Pass gives your family unlimited admission for one full year; $20 off farm camp participation, and free admission to all special events. Prices are $50 for Taylor families and $60 for non-resident families. Pass covers five people; additional members are $15 each. Special events usually run from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. on the weekends, and are $5 (cash only).