Nearly 500 students gathered in the commons Oct. 14 to enjoy the petting zoo hosted annually by The Crew.
For the last five years Down on the Farm has brought a petting zoo, complete with a wide range of animals, into the commons for TCU students.
Founder of Down on the Farm Rachel Smith decided to start a petting zoo 10 years ago. She said she wanted to raise animals and have a flexible schedule.
She and her family live on a farm in Mansfield where they raise more than 150 animals that make up the petting zoo. Smith said she travels with around 30 animals at a time, with the exception of Christmas at TCU when she usually brings two reindeer.
Smith said that one of the most rewarding parts of her job is watching college students interact with the animals.
“They’re so much easier than kids because they know how to handle the animals pretty well,” Smith said.
In addition, Smith said that she loves when students ask questions when they are unfamiliar with an animal or have never seen it before.
“Sometimes students don’t recognize the Zebu,” Smith said, referencing the miniature cow that prompted questions from many students throughout the evening.
Brinton Munoz, a senior team leader of The Crew, said that the petting zoo is an event that usually attracts a lot of students. This is the fifth year in a row that it has been a success.
“The students really love the environment that the petting zoo creates,” Munoz said.
Sophomore business major Russell Carpenter said he appreciated the atmosphere The Crew created with the petting zoo.
“I just got done with studying and just decided to check out what was going on over here,” Carpenter said. “I saw the animals and I grew up in Tennessee, so it kind of felt homey.”
While some students like Carpenter happened upon the event by chance, others planned to go ahead of time.
First-year student Abbey Widick said she did not want to miss the event.
“I have missed every other animal that has been in the commons so I literally ran here,” Widick said. “I think this made my day a lot better, I bragged to my friends at other schools.”
Widick was not the only one sharing her TCU petting zoo experience with people. There were several students taking pictures to put on social media to remember the moment.
Music education major Adriana Medina said she wanted to share the moment with friends through Snapchat.
“I thought about it actually before I Snapchatted because I didn’t want it to ruin the moment, but I kind of wanted to show this moment to people that aren’t here so they could feel good,” Medina said. “It’s just positive energy.”
Baby goats entertained college students and even some kids throughout the event.
Assistant Director for Student Activities Brad Thompson brought his kids so they could enjoy the petting zoo.
“I think it’s great, it’s really fun for students to interact with animals. It’s just fun, obviously people love it, ” Thompson said. “It’s just a great event to help students de-stress.”
Aside from the animals, The Crew also had a balloon animal maker and a spray-paint tattoo artist to keep students engaged. Munoz said he hoped that students were able to relive a little bit of their childhood and enjoy building community together.
“We love affecting as many people as we can and the petting zoo really does that,” Munoz said.