Sunday, November 25, 2007

I Bite

I took the kids to Santa's Christmas Tree Forest in Eustis this weekend for some serious redneck fun. The owners do everything they can to make the children of Florida feel a little better about being in a tropical environment during the holiday season, but is it just me, or is there is something insincere about roasting marshmallows in 80 degree weather with "Winter Wonderland" playing in the background? Will this be the stuff my kids hate me for someday? "Because of my mother's desire for a year-round tan, we never got to experience snow..."

If not for that reason alone, the youngest will definitely have some longstanding issues about the petting zoo that wasn't. The concept seemed great: There was an adorable little pony, a couple goats, a pig, a machine that dispensed 25 cent feed, and even a sink for clean-up.

See, here's a picture. Take in the beauty.

Oh, wait, now let's zoom in a little on that shot. What does the sign say?

Yeah, that sign there - on the left near the pretty pony - it says "I BITE." All caps, apparently, to indicate he bites hard and often. Not to be outdone, the sign near the goat area says "Please don't touch us."

I hate to be a scrooge because I realize this place is all about good cheer, but seriously, it's a PETTING ZOO. There would seem to be nothing else required of the animal than to just be open to the touch of a human. The thing doesn't have to be cute, clean or know any fancy tricks. Just sit there, Wilbur, and realize that, in turn for being mauled by a runny-nosed-two-year old, you will never have to forage for food again.

But that's not how it went down in Santa's forest ,because that runn-nosed-two-year-old belonged to me and he wanted to buy those 25 cent pellets. And without the benefit of actually being able to feed the goats, our only option was to THROW FOOD AT THEM and hope these biting creatures weren't so crazed as to actually bust out of their fences and unleash their fury on us. The whole thing felt wrong.

But since I like the place and I want to be a "problem solver" not a "troublemaker," here's my suggestion: if those particular animals aren't up for the cause, there must be some others that are. And if not, let's just call it a "furry friends observation area" and forget the whole "petting" option.

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