Traveling petting zoo of rescued farm animals delights north Alabama families

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HARVEST, Ala. — When your party gets a visit from the Tiny Hiney’s Traveling Farm, be ready for well, a zoo that comes to you. But the animals also have reason to celebrate.

Since the onset of the pandemic, Susan and Kevin Gibson have looked to bring smiles and licks to Tennessee Valley events with rescued farm animals that otherwise would have been slaughtered or used for dairy.

“Yeah this is absolutely a fun service,” co-owner Susan Beauvais-Gibson says.

It’s a natural hobby for the Gibsons, even if the years of 2020 and 2021 haven’t always proven ideal for establishing the business.

“It’s been a challenge, but we kind of just do it on the weekends and kind of part-time,” Gibson says. “We both kind of work full-time, and then the animals keep us busy.”

But it’s worth all the trouble, she says.

“When you rescue them and give them love, and you see what they give in return, absolutely (it’s worth it).”

And it makes for an almost-unforgettable experience for little Lane for his first birthday.

“It’s amazing,” grandmother Kim Norwood says. “We want to see the kids love on these, because with our animals, we’ve got cows and horses, but they’re bigger. So these small ones are great.”

Tiny Hiney’s says that they’re also the only insured petting zoo in north Alabama, and one of only a few licensed and regulated traveling farms in all of Alabama.

The downside is that Susan Gibson adds even though they have a tortoise and a rabbit, there just isn’t enough space at parties to let them race.

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