Petting zoo

Petting zoo

A petting zoo (often called, and/or part of, a "children's zoo") features a combination of domestic animals and some wild species that are docile enough to touch and feed. In addition to independent petting zoos, also called children's farms, many general zoos contain a petting zoo. Some petting zoos are also mobile and will come to your home for a children's party or event. Many areas have a qualified mobile petting zoo. All petting zoos should be licensed, insured, and USDA certified in the United States.


In 1938, the London Zoo was the first children's zoo in Europe and the Philadelphia Zoo was the first in North America to open a special zoo just for children.

Animals and food

Petting zoos feature a variety of domestic animals. Common animals include sheep, goats, rabbits, miniature horses, camels, llamas, pigs, miniature donkeys, and other domestic animals.

Petting zoos are extremely popular with small children, who will often feed the animals. In order to ensure the animals' health, the food is supplied by the zoo, either from vending machines or a kiosk nearby. Animals are fed by purchased grass the people buy to feed them, and also in selected feeding areas (hay is a common food).

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