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Fuzzy, furry fun
by Paul Gonzales
May 23, 2014 | 161 views | 0 0 comments | 10 10 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Autumn Gonzales feeds a pot-bellied pig during a visit to the Animal Haven Petting Farm. Paula Gallagher, who is opening the attraction, is putting the finishing touches on the grounds which will open Saturday at 10 a.m. and is located off Charco Road, just a couple of miles from Coastal Bend College.
Autumn Gonzales feeds a pot-bellied pig during a visit to the Animal Haven Petting Farm. Paula Gallagher, who is opening the attraction, is putting the finishing touches on the grounds which will open Saturday at 10 a.m. and is located off Charco Road, just a couple of miles from Coastal Bend College.
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Autumn Gonzales gets to see goats up close for the first time at Animal Haven Petting Farm.
Autumn Gonzales gets to see goats up close for the first time at Animal Haven Petting Farm.
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BEEVILLE – This weekend there will be a new place to take your family. Pediatric nurse Paula Gallagher is opening Animal Haven Petting Farm, 5528 Charco Road, this Saturday at 10 a.m. for the young and old alike.

“It was actually a joke,” Gallagher said about opening the petting farm.

“About two years ago, a friend and I were talking about people coming out and seeing our goats, and I said I was going to start charging them.

“And then after that we started looking into petting farms. And this is where we are.”

The farm features animals like goats, pot-bellied pigs, a couple of lambs, a miniature bull, ducks and more. Sure, this is South Texas, and we see these sorts of animals a lot, but when can you actually pet and play with them? That’s what makes the farm so fun.

And it’s also a plus that the animals are so friendly.

“Everybody loves animals. I come home from work and come out and talk to the animals.

“They don’t talk back,” she said with a laugh.

“It’s just great sometimes to just come out and pet them. And they like it. They like to be loved on.”

So, how did Gallagher come to own so many animals?

We’ve had goats for about 35 years, and I guess I got the pigs next.

“Then people just started giving me animals, then I started buying animals that they wanted to get rid of.

“We just kept getting more animals, so now we have a collection.”

The area on which the farm is located also has a children’s play set, and two tents will be added for birthday parties or special events.

“We’re clearing off more land. We’re going to add another swing set and will be a little bigger than what we have.

“And we’ll have benches so they can sit under the trees and watch the animals.”

Gallagher is also planning to have horse rides and hayrides on Saturdays, not to mention educational material for children not only to interact with the animals but learn a thing or two as well.

As of press time, it’s unsure if the horse rides will be ready for Saturday’s opening.

For the price of admission, children also will get a cup of food to feed the numerous animals.

“And once we get the horse rides, that will come with it along with a hayride.”

For now, the farm will be open only on Saturdays from 10 a.m. until 6 p.m. and Sundays from 1 until 6 p.m. But come July, the farm is likely to remain open seven days a week.

Gallagher is also looking for volunteers to watch the animals and children during the hours of operation and anyone interested can call (361) 318-0707.

If all goes well, Gallagher has big plans to open up some more land and is already expecting some new and interesting arrivals.

Paul Gonzales is the entertainment writer at the Bee-Picayune and can be reached at 358-2550, ext. 116, or at thescene@mySouTex.com.
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