When you are new to town, don’t know a soul, are a stay at home mother to two toddlers and your husband is focused on getting up to speed in his new job, you explore random parks, often. And you give them the names you think they should have, not the names bestowed upon them by some donor or local historical hero. When you happen upon one you like you just don’t know: have you found a hidden gem? Or does every parent who ever changed a diaper in this town know about this place?
In the 15 months we have called CoMo home, there are three parks that have become our favorites; Shady Park (aka Stephens Lake), Sunny Park (aka Cosmo-Bethel) and The Pigs (aka Nifong Park.) I plan to discuss both Sunny and Shady Parks in future posts, but for now I want to talk about The Pigs.
We hadn’t lived here long before my husband, who was on Daddy Duty at the time, came home and told me he discovered a park where there were pigs, sheep and cows. Prior to becoming a stay-at-home-mother I worked in animal welfare, so he knew he must describe the situation to me in detail or I would assume the animals were not being taken care of properly. Turns out he was talking about the Cosmopolitan Breakfast Club Farm Animals at Nifong Park. Since the day he accidentally stumbled upon this well-kept secret, it has been one of our favorite places to visit.
Best of all, we are always, and I mean ALWAYS the only people there.
Because this awesome attraction doesn’t draw a crowd, I take some liberties that I would not otherwise consider. For example, my kids and I have been known to help the pigs retrieve walnuts that fall outside of the fence. And, occasionally, have even brought them a healthy treat from our refrigerator.
I am confident that if there were any rules posted, they would include keeping your hands outside the fence. We always use common sense. Which means if we do feed the pigs treats; we wash our hands thoroughly with soap and water after and then give them a double whammy with anti-bacterial waterless soap. As a mother (and a citizen) I consider myself responsible for my, and my children’s, actions. Unfortunately, that is not true of many others in our litigious society.
Rumor has it that this is the last year for farm animals at Nifong Park. Apparently the “liability” is just too high. I hope the rumor is wrong. While these animals aren’t dancing through giant meadows of clover, their lives are certainly much richer than the average animal living in a factory farm. And, my kids and I love watching the babies grow throughout the summer.
The farm animals only stick around until October and then they are shipped off to… well, I assume… to market. But last year when my two-year-old daughter guessed that they went to live on “another farm,” I didn’t argue with her.
In addition to the farm animals, which are surrounded by plenty of trees to keep the area cool, there is also a lake to explore and numerous historical buildings.
If you do decide to check out The Pigs and there is a minivan in the parking lot, be sure to say “Hi,” because the chances are good that the other family in the park is probably us.