In Search Of …

A Sunday afternoon near the end of summer, and we set off once again in search of the elusive petting zoo.

Clay’s love of farm animals—horses, goats, sheep—cropped up a few summers back and has led to us checking out the local Grange Fair, a nearby farm, horseback riding lessons. We are always on the look out for a chance for the little guy to interact with animals. Rumor had it they operate a petting zoo at one of the local nurseries, so we hopped into the bat mobile to investigate.

The big barn and extensive grounds seemed promising as we drove to the parking lot in the rear. While Clay and I went searching, my silly wife went inside to ask. Women. So, it turns out the petting zoo is more of a rental. The animals are shipped from a farm for special events at the nursery. No special events today.

Clay, who had been squawking like a wounded crow all morning, was suddenly quiet, investigating the fountains for sale. A sign pointing to the “Pond Building Area” seemed promising. It was a sunny afternoon. Why not look around?

We moved gradually past the St. Francis of Assisi fountains and the palm trees toward the back of the displays, and were not disappointed.

The little fellow found a spacious gazebo overlooking a pond filled with whale-size koi.

Clay was content to sit for awhile. (We never take it lightly when he sits down.) He even did some typing on the keyboard he uses to communicate.

“What do you think of this place?” my wife asked.

“so nice”

“What do you like about it?”


“What do you think of the fish?”

“so cool”

“You sure seem to love the sound of water.”

“so true”

“Any more thoughts on the fish?”

“they are so awesome”

On the way back to our car, Clay discovered spools of tubing hung on a wall. Good squeezability. That was worth a 10-minute visit before we coaxed him away.

It’s not quite fall here, yet, but we’re gradually moving to sweatshirt weather and you can smell the apple crop on the wind. We decided to make one more stop at a farm stand down the road. It’s too early for my favorite apples, winesaps, but the homemade apple cider did the trick for now.

Clay enjoyed the feel of the pumpkins.

No petting zoo at that farm, either. The search continues.


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  1. #1 by autismmommytherapist on September 19, 2011 - 11:00 am

    It’s so wonderful to see how many places you can take Clay, and how much he enjoys those outings!

  2. #2 by Larry Blumenthal on September 20, 2011 - 8:43 am

    We try. Would like to do more, but it’s tough to find trips that work for all of us. Still hoping to take him camping, but haven’t quite figured that one out, yet.

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