Thank goodness for petting zoos!
They bring the song "Old MacDonald Had A Farm" to life for youngsters who want to see first-hand the pig that goes oink-oink here or the cow that goes moo-moo there.
Petting zoos have saved me over the past several years. They have always been popular with my children as a source of entertainment. They have provided them with the opportunity to see a variety of livestock they would rarely see, since we do not live on a farm.
There are many petting zoos in the county. Two that quickly come to mind are at the Carroll County Farm Museum and Baugher Enterprises.
While I have been to the Farm Museum's petting zoo many times, I just recently visited the animals living on the Baugher property on Baugher Road just outside Westminster.
I was pleased with the arrangement at Baugher's. We were able to enter the gates and walk among a variety of animals.
My children enjoyed being able to feed the animals fresh fruit TTC and, in some cases, sweets such as pies and cakes.
Dottie Baugher Dunn, who initiated the petting zoo seven years ago, said it always has been a popular attraction for families.
"I talk to a lot of the people when they come to visit, and they get a big kick out of what we have here," Mrs. Dunn said. "We have a lot of repeats, you know, people that come back to see the petting zoo. There is even one lady who cooks squash and tomatoes and brings them out here for the pigs."
There are plenty of animals milling about the one-acre field with its pond and stalls.
Three pot-bellied pigs caught my interest, and an adoring goat got the undaunted attention of my 3-year-old.
And other furred and feathered friends made an impression.
Within the split-rail enclosure are pigs and a goat, miniature horses, rabbits, turkeys, ducks, a rooster, a calf, a wild Canada goose and a lamb.
"When you think about it, it's really amazing how well the animals get along," said Mrs. Dunn. "Most petting zoos will separate the animals, but here they are in the field together and they do really well."
Mrs. Dunn, 36, of Westminster, said the petting zoo has been a nice addition to the market.
"We did this so the customers and their children could enjoy their visit to the market and get a feel for what it is like to be around a farm," she said. "This is just something else to round out the activities at the market. We have the toy train and the swing set, and at this time of year we have wagon rides to the pumpkin patch."
I give the Baugher petting zoo a big thumbs-up.
It's a nice sideline for a fall afternoon, especially if you are planning a trip to the market to buy fresh fruit or take a wagon ride to pick a pumpkin.
The petting zoo will be open every day from sunup to sundown through October.
For information on the petting zoo or other seasonal activities at Baugher's, call 857-0111.
Saturday from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m., a party for children will be held at Union Memorial Baptist Church in Westminster to honor the United Nations Children's Day.
Children of multicultural fellowships, including Israel, Spain, Africa, Japan, Iran and the United States, will participate.
Activities will include games, slide shows, songs and dancing. Light refreshments will be served.
2& Information: 876-3565 or 374-9631.