Thursday, July 3, 2008

Grant's Farm

Yesterday we visited Grant's Farm with our friends Nicki, Carter, and Sabrina.

Grant's Farm is the ancestral home of the Busch family. It's a beautiful wildlife park that is home to over 1,000 animals. It's also the site of "Hardscrabble," a farm and cabin established by Ulysses S. Grant, our 18th President. That's all for today's history lesson.

The day began with a tram ride through the Deer Park. We saw deer (of course,) buffalo, elk, and even sheep. We also passed by a few lakes and spotted beautiful Japanese Koi. The entire time, Evie would see an animal, and become frustrated when it was out of sight. She kept shouting "More!" She was especially attached to an elk walking close to the tram. She blew it kisses as we drove away!

When I was a child, we visited Grant's Farm and I remember feeding the pygmy goats. I was excited for Evie to do the same. We purchased little bottles of goat formula, and Nicki asked "Should we feed the goats from in the pen, or from outside?" I thought of the goats Evie had brushed at the zoo, and confidently said "Let's go inside. Evie's not afraid of goats."

Let me tell you, these pygmy goats are FOR SURE not related to the gentle zoo goats.

We pushed our way into the pen, past about ten goats trying to get OUT of the pen. (First clue.) Immediately, goats started jumping up on their hind legs, pawing at us with their hooves. (Second clue - why was I still in the pen at this point?) I was frightened! I swooped Evie into my arms. It was mayhem! More goats jumped up on us, their little hooves digging into my legs. Evie lost a shoe, and then the other. She dropped the bottle. Another goat started eating the hem of my skirt! I wasn't quite sure what to do - we were surrounded! Luckily, a guardian angel picked up the shoes and the bottle for me, and I ran as fast as I could from those goats! I was so relieved to get us out!

So we fed the goats from OUTSIDE the pen. The goats were greedily sticking their heads out, waiting for a bottle. Evie wasn't too sure of what to do. She would put the bottle by their mouths, but as soon as one began drinking, she would pull it away. I ended up "helping" her, as she whined because she wanted to do it herself. Guess what she said when the bottle was empty? Yep, "More!" We fed one more bottle to those tiny, ferocious goats. I swear those things are going to show up in my nightmares soon. They are THAT scary. Funny, I don't seem to remember that from my childhood visits. But Evie didn't seem to notice they were man-eating wild animals either, and really enjoyed feeding them breakfast.

There was much more to see after the goats. We got an up-close look at guinea pigs in their pen and tried to feed a few ducks. They were apathetic to the dried corn we threw towards them, like "Really? That's the best you can do? Been there, done that, no thanks." The ducks didn't move an inch. We spent a long time looking at giant tortoises that had to be at least 100 years old. We saw elephants and a parrot who talked and whistled.

AND THEN THERE IT WAS... A row of sprinklers mounted on poles, spraying a fine mist like a tunnel. Nicki, Sabrina, and Carter were far in front of us, since Evie insisted on walking by herself, no hand-holding, thank you very much. Evie and I walked through once. She came out with little drops of water clinging to her hair, like dew on a spider web. She ran squealing back to the other side. She ran through again, back to me. I tried to grab her, but she was off again, back through the mist. I called her. She dropped her sippy cup and ran to me. Argh! A nice man ran across and brought me the cup. As I tucked it into the diaper bag, Evie ran to the other side again. This time I went after her. I grabbed her and crossed again. When we made it to the other side, I noticed she had lost a shoe halfway across. I yelled "You have got to be kidding!" I think the nice man who had brought me the cup knew I was at my breaking point. He ran across, and tossed the shoe back at me. THANK YOU, NICE MAN! Evie and I were both soaking wet by now, although it felt good in the heat. I zipped away from those sprinklers, carrying a protesting Evie.

We eventually made it to the Clydesdale Stables and the beautiful Bauernhof courtyard for lunch. Lunch was nice, but I was so tired I didn't even try a complimentary Anheuser-Busch beer. It was hot and it was naptime, so we caught the next tram to the exit. We made a quick stop in the gift shop for a plush baby goat and yet another turtle. (The baby goat has made it into the bedtime entourage, too.)

Evie had a great time. For at least ten minutes, she waved "buh-buh" to the farm and her new animal friends. And I drove her far away from the man-eating pygmy goats.


Martha said...

I seem to remember a story about those goats eating Eli's shirt on a trip once. They're awfully cute, but terribly vicious. Beware the man-eating billy-goats! :)

Rachel said...


SarahHub said...

Rachel, you scare me.