Petting zoo coming to Prospect

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PROSPECT — Kelly Cronin’s farm has been on the road for 21 years. Now, animal lovers will be able to come to her for a farm experience.

The Prospect Planning and Zoning Commission recently approved Cronin’s special permit application for a petting zoo and farm stand on her property at 18 Spring Road.

Cronin, who works as executive director of Waterbury Youth Services during the week, is in the preliminary stages of preparing her property as a site for customers to enjoy farm life—an excavator is coming this weekend to prepare land for pens.

“We have a beautiful piece of property,” Cronin said.

When Cronin opens her petting zoo, hopefully sometime in early fall, the property will have animal stations, with a path to each station winding through the farm and around the back to a brook that goes down the whole perimeter of the property. She will also have a picnic area for people to sit and enjoy the day.

As she opened the gate to a pen Monday morning, sheep, goats, miniature horses, and a calf came running up to her. She scooped up a baby goat in her arms, and it promptly planted a kiss on her face. Cronin also has cats, dogs, llamas, ducks, rabbits, pigs, and a calf.

Cronin said she’s always had farm animals. However, the idea to become an entrepreneur was born at a field day at Algonquin School.

When the oldest of her five children was five, Cronin was on a field day committee at the school. She suggested having a farm day as part of the theme. Cronin brought a couple of animals, some goats and sheep, and made a make-shift pen at the school. The children loved it. Some, Cronin said, had never seen farm animals before.

From there, Cronin had the idea to develop a business. She already had the animals and a trailer. She made a fence and got insurance and a license from the U. S. Department of Agriculture.

She put together a program to take her “Farm on Wheels” to birthday parties, nursery schools, county fairs, and convalescent homes.

“It’s been very successful,” Cronin said.

She said a lot of people at the convalescent homes grew up on farms and are really excited to see the animals.

“A lot of the residents that come out for that event aren’t involved in recreational time. …

They have a lot of stories to tell,” Cronin said.

She said a lot of residents like to see the strong farm work ethic passed on in the younger generations.

When the petting zoo opens this fall, it will only be open on weekends. Along with the petting zoo, Cronin also hopes to have a farm stand on the property to sell the produce of local farmers. She’s seeking local farmers to be a part of the farm stand.

Anyone local farmers interested can call Cronin at (203) 758-4203.

Kelly Cronin of Prospect pets her calf. The Prospect Planning and Zoning Commission recently approved a special permit for Cronin to have a petting zoo and farm stand on her Spring Road property.