You too can bottle-feed a baby calf at the 'Petting Zoobilee' this Saturday. / Submitted photo courtesy Brigette Tenney

This weekend’s ‘Petting Zoo-bilee’ at Upshur County Rec Park to offer encounters with B-U Zoo members — plus some special guests

BUCKHANNON – The B-U Zoo will feature new arrivals and several animal guests this Saturday at the Petting Zoobilee – their biggest fundraising event yet.

The Petting Zoobilee will take place Nov. 11 from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. at the Buckhannon-Upshur High School’s Livestock Pavilion, over the hill and behind the B-UHS pool.

The B-U Zoo is a class students can take at Buckhannon-Upshur High School as a zoology course. Bridgette Tenney, zoology and biology teacher at Buckhannon-Upshur High School, said the course teaches students about different species of animals, characteristics of animals, animal husbandry and different careers that involve animals.

The students involved with the zoo have organized different fundraisers to help cover the expenses of operating the zoo, such as the cost of food, vet bills and purchasing materials for the crafts they bring to different elementary schools.

“We take the animals and some of the students to the elementary schools and teach them about the animals and do a craft with them, but one of our biggest expenses is the crafts, especially if we are going to bigger schools, even if the craft is less than $1 per kid,” Tenney said.

“If there’s 500 kids in the school, it becomes an expensive endeavor,” she added. “We are fundraising for to keep our animals healthy, happy and enriched and to buy supplies to educate youngsters in the county.”

Tenney said her students were tired of typical fundraisers where they would have to sell a product and wanted to offer an experience with the animals instead.

“They wanted to do some fundraising that was enjoyable to them and in the community, so they spearheaded this idea to have a petting zoo, but they wanted exotic animals of ours as well as farm animals that are in a traditional petting zoo, so they’ve combined those two ideas,” Tenney said.

“They’ve also included games and activities, crafts for the kids, as well as a concession stand and they’re pretty excited about their concession stand because it has traditional things as well, but it also they wanted something a little bit different,” she continued.

One of the unique concession offers will be a hot beef “sundae” with mashed potatoes, gravy, roast beef, shredded cheese on top and cherry tomato, which makes it look like a hot fudge sundae.

Tenney said the students also wanted to have a fall-themed food item and came up with caramel apple nachos, which will be served on a tray like nachos topped with apple slices, caramel, chocolate and various toppings like M&Ms and other candies.

The animals in attendance will include the regular residents of the B-U Zoo – the rex rabbits, crested geckos, a sulcata tortoise, a chinchilla, poison dart frogs, a ball python and axolotls.

New members of the zoo also include Annie and Anastasia, two bottle-fed calves, as well as piglets. Some of the non-zoo residents will include sheep, pigs, chickens, goats, horses for horseback rides and Kaya the wolfdog.

“She’s 46 percent wolf, and she actually lives in my sister’s house,” Tenney said. “She’s very sweet, and she has been with us for some of our other events as well.”

“People can buy a petting pass for their child, which lets all my students know if they’re wearing that neon green bracelet, they paid for petting pass,” she said. “They’re allowed to pet anything they want to pet except for the wolf dog and the horses because the horses will be walking in circles doing rides for a separate fee, and there will be a separate fee to meet and greet the wolf dog.”

The petting pass is $10, horseback rides cost $5 and a meet-and-greet with the wolf dog is also $5. More information and event updates about the B-U Zoo can be found on their Facebook page.

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