Fair’s petting zoo features a variety of exotic animals

By GREATER GARDEN CITY

A trio of boys poked their faces close to the fence and chattered in excitement on Thursday while waiting for a chance to pet a zebra at Hedrick’s Around the World in One Display petting zoo at the Finney County Fair.

The petting zoo came to the fair from Hedrick’s Exotic Animal Farm located near Nickerson. For over 40 years, Hedrick’s has provided exotic animal entertainment including educational petting zoos, pig races, camel and pony rides, animal actors, zebra races and camel and ostrich races.

At the Finney County Fair, Hedrick’s offers a petting zoo featuring a variety of animals from around the world. The zoo is open from 11 a.m. to 9 or 10 p.m., depending on the crowd, every day through Saturday night.  

“We have about 20 different species,” A.J. Augusto, zoo manager, said. “We travel from coast to coast, border to border. We do petting zoos at a lot of state fairs. Like we have one in Springfield, Mo., right now. We do the Nebraska State Fair, the Kansas State Fair, Texas State Fair.”

The petting zoo is free to enter. People can feed the animals for a small fee. Augusto said small cups of feed are available for $1, or large cups of feed for $5. He said different groups of animals to various events.

“Most of these guys will be out for a couple of months during the year, and then they’ll go home and go into our breeding program or different things. When not out they go to our farm and bed and breakfast,” Augusto said. “We have a zebra, we have a camel, we have a kangaroo. A lot of different species.”