We recently found ourselves in a little bit of a pickle- the venue we had booked for my sons Naming Day told us 6 days before the event that they had double booked us, not only that but they told us on a Sunday night!
No problem, we have a pretty big backyard that is excellent for hosting parties but the biggest issue? How do I fulfil the promise I made to my daughter of having farm animals at the party?
So began a morning of panicked re-planning, text messages informing our guests of the location change and phone calls trying to achieve what I thought was the unachievable- a petting zoo in the back yard!
Thankfully, whilst searching the web we found Sandy from Brisbane Pony Parties. I don’t know whether she could hear the desperation in my voice or sense my terror at the thought of letting my 2.5 year old down but Sandy very calmly discussed the options that were available to us. Yes, she thought she would be able to help us out but she would have to juggle a few things around and call me back to confirm.
That was it I thought, the brush off, she probably had hung up the phone and laughed at my situation. Wrong, a few short minutes later Sandy was back on the phone with the news I didn’t think I would hear- she could help me out!
Given the short notice, I had resigned myself to the fact that we would probably get the ‘leftovers’, something I could only liken to the kids picked last at school sports. Boy, was I wrong! Sandy asked me the ages of the children attending Finn’s party, “6 months to about 8 years old but of course we won’t have the 6 month olds in with the animals”, I replied. This was after all, about keeping Millie, my daughter happy, Finn wouldn’t remember if I had been able to procure a petting zoo in the end- come to think of it Millie probably wouldn't either but I would forever remember the look on her face the first time her Mum had gone back on her promise.
Sandy informed me that it would absolutely be possible to have our little ones in the enclosure, she would be able to make some changes to the bookings already arranged to make sure we would have animals that would be appropriate for all the children attending, no matter what age.
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Remember, this is now five days away from Finns party.
The morning of the party, Sandy arrived (yes, Sandy herself manned our petting zoo) and started unloading the animals. Chickens, lambs, piglets, goats and even a calf were unloaded with no disruption to the partygoers who had begun to amass in the backyard. Every animal that was brought looked clean and extremely well looked after.
Sandy and Brisbane Pony Parties bring everything from portable fencing to milk for the baby animals. Our kids were allowed the wonderful experience of feeding many of the animals and at the end of the party, Sandy packs everything up (she did have a helper in my children's Uncle who saw it as his last chance to get cuddle from the gorgeous creatures) and she even rakes and sweeps the grass so no stray feathers are left behind!
Sandy was absolutely lovely to all the guests, young and old who wanted to enter the petting zoo. She showed amazing patience with the kids as she kindly reminded them when entering not to open both gates at once and when they did, deftly scooped up the escapee without as much as an eye roll.
Now the hard part, Brisbane Pony Parties set the bar so high, planning future parties is going to be no easy task!