Petting zoo to open in Houston

By Lisa Voyles/Chickasaw Journal

HOUSTON – A new business is opening in Houston that is just a little off the beaten path – in more ways than one.

Madi-Bell Farms is located just outside of Houston on Okolona Cut-off Road and offers products that bleat, neigh and cluck.

Andrea Brister said the idea to open the petting zoo was the result of a trip to a similar facility in Tupelo.

“I took the grandkids to the Pumpkin Patch and Parker kept talking about it all the way home,” Brister said. “He said it was the best day of his life.”

Brister started thinking of a way to allow more children access to animals and brainstormed the idea of the petting zoo.

“We have nothing like this around here for our kids,” Brister said. “I grew up in the country and those are some of the best memories of my life. We want this to be a community thing for all kids to be able to come here and learn about animals.”

The farm currently houses goats, two donkeys, two mini-horses, turkeys, pigeons, Chinese silky chickens and several rabbits and Brister plans to add more animal attractions as the farm progresses. Each animal is named, although some of the names are rather unique.

“Elli-Bob is one of our mini-horses,” Brister laughed. “We had already named her Elli when we realized she was a Bob. Fred is our Hilltopper goat. We think he would be perfect as a mascot this fall.”

Future plans also include a fall pumpkin patch, hayrides and maze. A play area and picnic area, along with shady porch areas for resting are also being developed. The farm will open June 15 and will probably be open three days a week to begin. Brister said she’s playing things by ear until she can determine what times and days will better serve her guests.

A $4 admission will be charged and concessions will be available.