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The Stagecoach petting zoo seems like a terrible idea

This goat is approving his selfie
This goat is approving his selfie

Across from the Ferris wheel at Stagecoach is an area of games and amusements designated for kids called the Half-Pint Hootenanny, which is adorable. It's a great idea, judging from how many families we've seen—aside from the fact that the majority of folks enjoying this area are drunk adults. Twister mats spray-painted on the grass become arenas for mostly-naked cowgirls to show off their flexibility; the giant chicken photo booth is straddled by grown men simulating lewd avian sex acts.

 

 

 

Perhaps the most bewildering and alarming of all, however, is the Petting Zoo. In a dark, chain-link fenced area near the lockers sits a harried group of docile farm animals, including donkeys, pygmy goats, silkie chickens and ducks, some terrified rabbits and two perpetually snoozing pigs. Again, the idea here is sweet, but the execution is much less so—the area combines farm animals, drunk adults and a few rogue, unaccompanied children in 90-degree heat. We didn't see any staff members overseeing the petting at this little zoo, aside from a handsome cowboy standing outside the gate with his eyes on the Twister babes. (There was also no hand sanitizer in sight, which, ew.) A painted sign outside the fence outlines rules, including "no picking up the animals" and "no food or drinks inside," which are pretty much completely ignored.

 

 

 

The smaller animals are snatched up for selfies and flung aside if they squirm, which is a thing animals do. Goat and donkey tails are pulled by small children and sleeping pigs are adorned with wigs (why?). There may or may not be spilled beer in the splashing pools provided for the ducks. We get it—petting zoos are time-honored tradition and Stagecoach is a setting that makes sense for one. But, maybe in addition to "save a horse, ride a cowboy," we save a rabbit and send more staff out to the petting zoo.

RECOMMENDED: Our 50 best photos from Stagecoach 2015, 10 things we learned at the festival, 5 Stagecoach artists you should know, even if country ain't your thing and the hottest Stagecoach cowboys (and girls)

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