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Zoo Milieu

D’s Windy Cottage Specialty Gift Items and Home Decor 745 Lloyd Avenue Extention (Behind Auto Zone)


Tues-Wed-Fri-Sat, 10am - 5pm Thurs, 10am - 7pm; Closed Sun & Mon

Framed Art, Heirloom Dolls, Gund Bears, Soy Candles & Warmers Kites, Spinners & Flags We have a year-round Christmas Room! Gift Certificates Available

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28 -July/August 2009

Donegal’s Living Treasures Animal Park Have you noticed lately how often news broadcasts end with segments about animals or babies? Producers must figure that if you leave ‘em laughing (or at least smiling) it might bump up the ratings and with any luck brighten an otherwise dismayingly dismal time slot. And what lights up a face, young or old, faster than an endearing creature or tot? (Hold that thought.) During my youth there were quite a few animals in evidence. Special favorites were Sly Fox and his aptly-named Animal Rummy pals. Among my book buddies were Beatrix Potter’s nattily-dressed woodland creatures and the tigers of Little Black Sambo. Animated mice thrived with Mickey & Minnie, Cinderella’s helpmates, Jerry (of cat & mouse fame) and Mighty Mouse setting the pace. (An episode featuring that last muscle-bound superhero and a bevy of hula-skirted mini-mouse babes is forever trapped in my memory.) Others like Rin Tin Tin, Lassie, and the uniquelytalented Mr. Ed and Arnold Ziffel qualified as animal-action celebrities. But, an obvious pattern does persist. Since live animals were much harder to come by at our home, occasional excursions to the Pittsburgh Zoo were anticipated for months. Thanks to my Father’s

meticulous planning and mapreading skills (and my Mother’s never-ending patience and vigilance) my family did observe feathered, furry and scaly exotics on summer vacations throughout North America. But, not every child was so lucky in that less-worldly era. Happily, times have changed. For the last 11 years Living Treasures Animal Park in Donegal has given its visitors an opportunity to get up close and personal with over 300 animals in an outdoor environment.* Feeding (with grain and snacks supplied by the park) and petting of some creatures is permitted and horse, pony and newly-added camel rides are offered. During a one-on-one tour this May given by Resident Curator and Park Manager Fawn Dumbauld, I could not have been more impressed with the facility. The park’s catchphrase “Where animals are loved!” is obviously not an exaggeration. The quality of care and commitment is evident in everything from the nutrition and health care programs to the animal

sanctuaries. Additionally, more than double the space required by the Department of Agriculture is provided for the animals. The park is much larger than I expected at 9 acres and is extremely attractive and well-kept by the staff. It isn’t any wonder the Living Treasures residents seem so content with their habitat accommoda-tions! Always a peoplewatcher, my trip may very well have converted me to an animalgazer, since fascinating behavior can be witnessed at every turn. The animals found at Living Treasures are as entertaining to watch frolicking with their friends as they are enjoying a solitary lounge in the mud to cool off. Fawn told a comical story of a resident chicken that sat on a duck egg last year and after it hatched proceeded to raise the resulting infant as her own – a dual case of mistaken identity that led to hilarious behavior by both “mother” and “child.” Since spring is a prime birthing time for animals, I was able to see many of the park’s newborns and young including baby lemurs, goats, wolf puppies and a llama that had arrived the day before my visit. (Animals are born at one of the Living Treasures parks throughout the year or acquired from other American zoos.) Too cute for words were a group of sibling baby ducks – 1 yellow, 1 spotted, 1 black and 1 that will eventually look like a mallard; not an ugly duckling in the bunch. It’s a one-stop stay and play experience at Donegal’s Living Treasures. With a picnic area and refreshments available, it is the perfect venue for a day trip, field trip or birthday party. The wellstocked gift shop holds more fun than a barrel of monkeys; souvenirs of all sorts are available including stuffed animals, toys, artwork, clothing, jewelry and postcards. Onsite Mountain Horse Saddlery

offers top quality products for all the needs of horse and rider. The adjacent Log Cabin Motel provides a unique haven for travelers and many area attractions are within easy driving distance. As previously mentioned, babies and animals do score points, but baby animals are an unbeatable combination. I would like to suggest to the park management a set of marketing concepts sure to hit the jackpot. Why not create a Living Treasures Baby Animal Rummy and a companion Lotto Game – Pick of the Litter – featuring the winning baby photos of the annual photo contests held by the park? This would make for take-home treats sure to bring a smile to faces of all ages. Muffin, the miniature cow with a tongue anything but tiny, is a sure winner. Watch out Wooly Lamb and Slick Click – Adorable Aoudad and Perky Parrot may be replacing you as player picks sometime soon! – Story & Photos by Barbara M. Neill *An affiliated Living Treasures Animal Park is to be found in Moraine, PA near New Castle.Visit www.ltanimal or call 724-593-8300 (Donegal) or 724-924-9571 (Moraine) for more information.


Laurel Mountain Post July-August 2009  

A Magazine from the Heart of Western Pennsylvania

Laurel Mountain Post July-August 2009  

A Magazine from the Heart of Western Pennsylvania