This past weekend we were truly blessed to be able to visit Happy Tales Animal Sanctuary. With my animal loving children, I knew they would like the idea of petting a few different animals but this trip turned our much more meaningful to us than I had ever imagined. We weren't really expecting much to tell the truth. I had not heard of the place before and I am usually in the know on local homeschooling educational field trip locations. We found out the reason for this is that they just barely opened the doors to the public which is the reason we had never heard of it.
It wasn't very hard to find but I will say that my husband was driving. I wouldn't probably have found it on my own. I'm not much on the directions in areas I know, it wouldn't be wise to put me out somewhere driving I don't know. We pulled in and I was still a little apprehensive. I was excited but didn't really expect too much. We were met at the gate by a very nice lady named Karuna, who owns the place. She told us she was from New York and a little about herself.
The first animal we were introduced to was this adorable porcupine. The kids were allowed to pet her and spend time getting to know her. It was really cool because none of us had seen a porcupine in real life before. I didn't realize how big they were. Karuna was super informative as she answered all our questions about how the animal go there and about her life. This personal touch really made the kids feel more interested and involved. They weren't just standing back watching a tour but the whole thing was about them getting up close and developing a relationship with each animal.
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Happy Tales Animal Sanctuary is a place that cares for animals that have been abandoned and need a little rehab. They release many of the animals back into the wild that they can. The turtle below is one she said they planned to release again. She really places an emphasis on what is best for the animal and for that reason there were some that were not available for the public. It isn't about selling something or running a business but more about caring for the animals and gifting the public with the opportunity to learn and see these unique creatures. You never know what animals might be in residence and each trip can be a new experience!
There is a wide variety of animals but not a whole bunch of animals. Just the right amount and each time there could be something different as they change depending on the animals that need help at the time.
The kids were excited by these two sisters. One was a little more of a handful but they did get to hold and love on one. It was hilarious because they got to feed the tortoises which were right next to these girls and the one above was sticking her hand through the fence and stealing the lettuce. It reminded my of my kids, when one has something the other two think it is so much better than if I would have gave it to them first.
There were other animals inside as well, some gigantic rabbits for instance and some larger tortoises as well as a few other fun little guys.
Outside there were more animals to see. Before we left the house that day my youngest asked if there would be foxes. There was not just one fox but a few. This one let the kids pet him and made sweet happy noises for them.
My oldest was extremely happy to see these pigs and I loved their names. One was named Franklin and the other was Hamilton. The kids loved feeding them peanuts and watching them walk around. It was interesting to watch Karuna pick up one of the pigs. She said he was used to be handled and liked be held. My daughter was taken with the pigs. She would have taken one home if she could have.
One animal we met was a sheep. This sheep has the run of the place. She followed us around for a little while. It was neat to learn the shear her and make hats from her wool. The kids picked up many fun facts on the trip and that was one of them. My youngest loves sheep so she was thrilled to have the chance to get up close and personal with this girl.
Karuna introduced us to Yeti the Lynx. He doesn't do well with a whole lot of strangers but he was calm while we watched him. The animals and their temperaments are very important to Karuna. It isn't a place for the animals to be on display and for the entertainment of the people but for the animals to grow, heal, and live. People getting to visit them is an honor to the people and a way to help the animals build relationships with the people.
The barn area with the horses was my kid's favorite place. I really think they could have stayed there all day. They loved the horses. We get to see horses a good bit because we live out in the country but we don't get the chance to really see horses up close. This was a rare treat for my crew.
There are several very nice horses. One of them walks around freely and the kids got to feed them a treat.
It was such a nice trip and we all had a lot fun! It really speaks volumes to me that they care so deeply for these animals and their well being. Also Karuna is a very interesting person. If you go, ask her about her movie animal training days. She has some interesting stories!