Coastal's Barnville
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Coastal's Barnville Petting Zoo

Date: Sept 20 - Sept 29, 2019
For more than 25 years, Connie and Bunky Boger have been traveling the country with their animal menagerie, building a reputation as one of the fair circuit's finest petting zoos. Still, if Bunky had his choice, their animal attraction would have another name.

"We don't like to call it a petting zoo," Bunky says. "When you hear 'petting zoo,' you expect a 20-by-20 tent with three ducks, a chicken and a llama."

Their business, called Animal Specialties, travels with about 225 animals, including dairy cows and calves, sheep and goats, pot belly pigs, a yak, Shetland ponies, and ducks, geese, turkeys, chickens and guinea hens. They also have some exotic cattle -- a Watusi, a Scotch Highlander, and an Indu Brazilian Zebu -- and some slightly less exotic -- a Texas longhorn and a Miniature Hereford.

Their exhibit has an incubator that hatches baby chicks. Children and adults can brush and groom livestock, and kids can milk a cow, for which they get a sticker that says, "I milked a cow at the fair." It's an experience that apparently leaves an impression.

"We've had kids come back bawling because they lost their sticker and want another one," Bunky said.
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Sponsored by:

Coastal Farm & Ranch
If a cow goes into labor, an announcement is sometimes made inviting people to witness the birth. At times hundreds of people have come to watch, Bunky said.

Bunky and Connie enjoy educating people about their animals. The animal pens are labeled with information about all the animals (in English and Spanish) and hung with signs that give information about agriculture around the country and in North Dakota. Chickens and roosters roam freely, but always come home again. Workers routinely rake the animals' bedding to remove droppings and keep it as fresh as possible.

Bunky calls what they do "animal agri-cation." Many people today don't have much interaction with farm animals, Connie said. They've never milked a cow or gathered eggs or cleaned a barn. They don't always know the animals are the source of the meat, eggs and dairy products they buy in the supermarket.

"People used to come and see the animals and watch the milking and say, 'We used to do this at Mom and Dad's,'" Bunky said. "Then it was, 'We used to do this at Grandma and Grandpa's.' Now they've never done it."
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