How To Survive Your Summer As A Petting Farm Tour Guide

How To Survive Your Summer As A Petting Farm Tour Guide

Your 22-step plan to make it through the best and most chaotic job you could ever have.
9
views

Background information: Growing up, my wonderful grandpa was a man of many odd jobs. Most notably he was a mystery shopper, a St. Nick impersonator, a school bus driver, and a petting farm tour guide. (Yeah, he was the greatest.)

For quite a few years he worked at Green Meadows Farm, near where I grew up in Waterford, WI. He passed away several years ago, but shortly thereafter I was invited by Mavis, the owner and a wonderful family friend I'd known since childhood, to work at the farm for a summer during college. I agreed happily, and for the summer between my freshman and sophomore years, I carried on my grandpa's legacy and worked at the farm. My main responsibility for the first half of the summer was as a tour guide for school field trips, day camps, church groups, YMCA groups and so on. And man, what a crazy, fun, nerve-wracking experience it was.

Obviously most people can't probably relate to this on a personal level, (if you can, hit me up. We have so much to talk about) but if you've ever thought about being a tour guide at a petting zoo infiltrated daily by hundreds of school children, here's what to expect and how to survive. If this article makes you consider it, good call. It may sound crazy, but it's definitely the good kind of crazy.

(P.S. Shout out to Green Meadows Farm, the best petting farm in existence.)

1. Read the employee manual in the days prior to your first tour.

Recite farm animal trivia to your family at all hours of the day. Ignore their pleas for silence. You have to be ready.

2. Do not get too confident when, on the first day, you are given a well-behaved 30-kid church group.

They are easing you in. This will not last.

3. Do not quit when, on the second day, you are given an unruly 65-kid group and you realize that yesterday was a scam.

4. Revel in your skills as you spout off facts about chickens as though you grew up on this very farm.

(You did not, you grew up in the suburbs.) [Also, it should be noted that chickens lay eggs the same color as their earlobes. Yep. #truthbomb]

5. When your group’s teacher decides that they know more than you because they’ve “been here before":

Resist the strong urge to yell, “Well this is my job! How about you focus on not losing Jimmy for a fifth time??”

6. In the case of post-hayride pandemonium, use chaperones to corral children into a smaller space.

Under no circumstances should you let them discover the rubber duck racing station past the chicken coop. You will not make that mistake twice.

7. Ignore the desire to yell at the overly concerned parents who stop to use hand sanitizer every time a child touches a wood chip or blade of grass.

Do, however, request that children refrain from shoving their entire hands into bowls of pig feed from which pigs are currently eating.

8. Play it cool when the goats escape.

Even when one pulls out a clump of your hair, maintain your composure and causally force or lure the reluctant goats back home. Do not let the goats get the best of you. Never let them see the fear in your eyes.

9. Never cut across the hill to the pony ring if any other group is heading that way too.

Pony ring breaches of etiquette can burn coworker bridges in an instant.

10. Get very comfortable with milking cows.

You will have to assist 50 children milk the cow each day for 2 months. Be aware that half of the kids will think it's amazing and will want to squirt you and anyone else in the vicinity. The other half will look at you with extreme suspicion and disgust in their eyes and make you do all of the milking work.

11. Don’t go directly into the kitten barn without first traveling through the goat family area and the silo room.

You will irrevocably damage the delicate balance of the farm should you stray from the expected path. Additionally, remember that most kids lose their damn minds in the presence of kittens and no longer remember how to act like humans.

12. Do not climb into the calf enclosure without being able to easily and gracefully remove yourself once you’ve done what you needed to.

13. The small animal building is a time vortex and the loudest, most echo-y place in the known universe.

Set a strict 7-minute policy and keep to it. Get in and get out.

14. When the llamas are feeling especially saucy:

(Which is basically always, llamas are crazy horny.) During your tour, casually point to a cloud or a goat or a bug or anything to keep kids’ questions and parents’ jokes under control.

15. When a child from a visiting family (not associated with your group in any way, it's important to add) slides under a fence and begins to admire the enormous draft horse from 5 inches away, quickly (and with an air of fake calm) get the kid the hell out of there.

Lawsuits are frowned upon at the farm.

16. When taking your group to the hand washing trough before lunch, forgo paper towels altogether.

Convince the children that air drying is another magical part of “farm life."

17. Do not cry when your group of 60 people requests their third twenty-minute bathroom stop in the span of 2 hours.

Be strong.

18. When twelve kids ask to hold your hands at once, let them.

Even when half of them have to cling to your arms and start stepping on your heels. If they love you, they are slightly more likely to listen to your facts about turkeys and stop throwing stuff at each other.

19. If you care about your sanity, stay away from the Music Machine.

Yes, the kids love it, but is it worth the temporary deafness and the overwhelming stress that naturally accompany 50 kids banging on pots, barrels and cans at the same time?

20. When children and adults alike start complaining of the 90-degree heat, calmly remind them that you and the animals are hot as well, and that you will all survive.

[And that no, the one drinking fountain on the opposite side of the farm is not a convenient detour.]

21. And at the end of the tour, when you’ve passed the pigs and the geese and the peacocks and have finally arrived back at the exit, wait patiently as they take another half hour to load up the bus and drive away.

Wave jovially as the bus pulls out of the gravel parking lot. You’ve done it.

22. Go home and sleep.

Tomorrow might not be so easy.

Cover Image Credit: Green Meadows Farm

Popular Right Now

8 Reasons Why My Dad Is the Most Important Man In My Life

Forever my number one guy.
72964
views

Growing up, there's been one consistent man I can always count on, my father. In any aspect of my life, my dad has always been there, showing me unconditional love and respect every day. No matter what, I know that my dad will always be the most important man in my life for many reasons.

1. He has always been there.

Literally. From the day I was born until today, I have never not been able to count on my dad to be there for me, uplift me and be the best dad he can be.

2. He learned to adapt and suffer through girly trends to make me happy.

I'm sure when my dad was younger and pictured his future, he didn't think about the Barbie pretend pageants, dressing up as a princess, perfecting my pigtails and enduring other countless girly events. My dad never turned me down when I wanted to play a game, no matter what and was always willing to help me pick out cute outfits and do my hair before preschool.

3. He sends the cutest texts.

Random text messages since I have gotten my own cell phone have always come my way from my dad. Those randoms "I love you so much" and "I am so proud of you" never fail to make me smile, and I can always count on my dad for an adorable text message when I'm feeling down.

4. He taught me how to be brave.

When I needed to learn how to swim, he threw me in the pool. When I needed to learn how to ride a bike, he went alongside me and made sure I didn't fall too badly. When I needed to learn how to drive, he was there next to me, making sure I didn't crash.

5. He encourages me to best the best I can be.

My dad sees the best in me, no matter how much I fail. He's always there to support me and turn my failures into successes. He can sit on the phone with me for hours, talking future career stuff and listening to me lay out my future plans and goals. He wants the absolute best for me, and no is never an option, he is always willing to do whatever it takes to get me where I need to be.

6. He gets sentimental way too often, but it's cute.

Whether you're sitting down at the kitchen table, reminiscing about your childhood, or that one song comes on that your dad insists you will dance to together on your wedding day, your dad's emotions often come out in the cutest possible way, forever reminding you how loved you are.


7. He supports you, emotionally and financially.

Need to vent about a guy in your life that isn't treating you well? My dad is there. Need some extra cash to help fund spring break? He's there for that, too.

8. He shows me how I should be treated.

Yes, my dad treats me like a princess, and I don't expect every guy I meet to wait on me hand and foot, but I do expect respect, and that's exactly what my dad showed I deserve. From the way he loves, admires, and respects me, he shows me that there are guys out there who will one day come along and treat me like that. My dad always advises me to not put up with less than I deserve and assures me that the right guy will come along one day.

For these reasons and more, my dad will forever be my No. 1 man. I love you!

Related Content

Connect with a generation
of new voices.

We are students, thinkers, influencers, and communities sharing our ideas with the world. Join our platform to create and discover content that actually matters to you.

Learn more Start Creating

Poetry On Odyssey: Head In The Trees

I escape beneath green canopies to find rest from this world

193
views

I think there's a reason why I like trees so much
they're always reaching for the sky
they'll do whatever it takes to find the sun
why God allowed mere humans to witness such beauty, I'll never understand why

trees are strong and solid
their roots anchored securely in the earth
their heights leave me astounded
it's beyond me that anyone could place a number to their worth

I feel God most when I experience nature's gentle breeze
I'll find the most peace beneath a lush green pine
I'll pray with my head in the trees
gazing up into the branches, I'll lose track of time

I escape beneath green canopies to find rest from this world

I'm eager as Spring draws near, eager to watch God's green artwork sprout and unfurl


Check out my poetry blog: rithimuspoeta.blogspot.com

Instagram, Facebook: @rithimuspoeta

Related Content

Facebook Comments