Instead of either a) celebrating the fact that school starts soon or b) bemoaning the fact that school starts soon (for Harper), I thought I would take this stormy day to share a piece of our Wisconsin vacation.
Harper is a pretty big animal lover, so I thought we'd check out the Wisconsin Deer Park - which has been a fixture of the Wisconsin Dells since I was a child.
One thing I always, ALWAYS think about with a place like this (any animal interaction experience) is whether the animals are fed anything that might contain peanuts or peanut traces. Not surprisingly the regulations for animal food are different that those for our food, making it much, MUCH more difficult to obtain accurate information, in most cases.
I was delighted when the people I spoke with at the deer park were knowledgeable, kind, and helpful. And we determined that it was safe for Harper.
I have to say the grounds of the deer park aren't exactly impressive to look at, but the experience is pretty cool.
We purchased food, crackers made specifically not to upset the animals' stomachs, and entered the deer enclosure. Immediately several deer approached us, which Harper loved but Michael did not. Despite the signs asking us to avoid loud noises his first reaction was to shriek at top volume. After that we kept the deer a little further away from the stroller until Michael got used to the seemingly giant creatures walking around him.
The deer were pretty calm and mostly avoided us unless we were holding out food. When we did have food they walked over and kind of snuffled it right out of our hands, I was impressed with how gently they ate.
I was not nervous about having the children so near the animals at all, it was such a different experience than those frenzied goats you normally see at zoos...
Please note Michael is in his defensive position - thumb in mouth, but he did stop shrieking.
We were probably there for about an hour. I don't think it is something we'll necessarily do every time we visit the area, but I can imagine going back in a few years if Michael expresses an interest. I don't think Harper will forget feeding the deer any time soon.