BRIGHTON — Some families collect toys, others cars, but the Lynn family, of Brighton, collects animals. Now that they have a nearly 300, they have decided to open a petting farm, Elevated Animals, to show them off.
The farm has 15 different kinds of animals from ducks to ferrets to a bearded dragon. The past year has been spent building pens and barns to house all the animals in preparation for their grand opening on Thursday, July 4.
The idea had been on the family’s mind for about a year, said Wendy Lynn, matriarch of the family. Their family raises myotonic goats, commonly known as fainting goats and had encouragement from the public to open the farm.
“We’ve had people stop by buying animals and they’re always like, ‘You guys ought to really just open a petting farm,’” she said. “At least a year we’ve been working on this because it involved a whole remodel of a barn.”
Once the idea was planted, plans for building began and cages were built and specially designed to hold all the smaller animals. The building is climate-controlled and includes hand-washing stations for visitors.
After the building blueprints were established, it was time to begin researching what animals would work best on the farm. They have settled on 15 different kinds of animals: three breeds of goats, hair sheep and lambs, miniature donkeys, alpacas, Zebu cattle and a bucket bottle calf, miniature cattle, two breeds of pasture pigs, ducks, a rabbit, chickens, ferrets, degus, skinny pigs, a bearded dragon and a Mississippi Map Turtle.
They decided to expand the farm to include small, exotic animals, because they wanted to appeal to all ages and comfort levels. They made a long list and slowly dwindled it down to animals that would be both friendly to the public and manageable for the family to take care of.
The Lynn family is no stranger to exotic animals, as Wendy and her husband Dave have previously owned emus, yaks and even a pet skunk. Because of their experience with these animals, they felt confident about their abilities to care for others because of the knowledge they have gathered over the years.
Once the farm begins to take off, the family has plans to expand and bring in more animals and add in a station for visitors to purchase souvenir cups of animal food for feeding, and a corn maze is in the works for this fall. According to Lynn, there are fewer than half a dozen petting farms in the state of Iowa. She hopes that when people stop by theirs, they leave entertained and informed.
“Every little kid likes pets and most of the time if you’re renting, you can’t have pets,” she said. “They can come here and they can learn a little bit about animals, they can interact with animals and even if you don’t have kids, it is amazingly relaxing and calming just to pet them.”
The Elevated Animals Petting Farm will hold their grand opening on Thursday, July 4. They are located at 2050 Highway 78, in Brighton and will be open Fridays and Saturdays from 10 a.m. until 6 p.m. and Sundays from 1-5 p.m.