All Ages and Abilities Welcome at This Inclusive Holland Animal Farm
Who doesn't love a good petting zoo? Unfortunately obstacles like rough terrain, fences, and lack of shade can make what should be a fun and memorable farm experience completely inaccessible to those with disabilities who may need extra accommodations.
Thankfully, there is an animal farm in Holland, MI which offers a hands-on, immersive, and accommodating experience for all! Fellinlove Farm is located on over 11 acres of woodland near Lake Michigan and is welcoming of all ages and abilities.
Owner Cheryl Heidema Kaletka and her husband designed and developed the farm to support the unique needs of their daughters, one with a serious seizure disorder and another who lives with Down syndrome and severe heart defects. What started as a project to support the Kaletka girls has developed over the last seven years into a, "fun approach to farm and nature education."
The Kaletkas want everyone to be able to experience the joy and healing effects of animals and nature with the mission of Fellinlove Farm being,
To improve our guests' quality of life through: Hands on interactions with our diverse animals, socialization and educational opportunities, and outdoor discoveries of nature in a serene setting.
Fellinlove Farm is able to welcome individualized field trips for early childhood special education and severe multiple impairments students, adult care center residents, and assisted living residents thanks to their ADA accommodations like accessible bathrooms and wheelchair-friendly trails.
Cherl Kaletka says, "I noticed many classrooms were in need of a high quality, nature-based, farm field trips that were cost free and accommodating to a variety of needs. Some children from urban poverty to very low income backgrounds had never seen farm animals. Some children with severe needs were not accommodated at typical farm facilities." Because the Kaletkas believe so strongly that everyone should be able to experience the healing nature of animals it is completely free to visit Fellinlove Farms, though donations are greatly appreciated.
When at the farm visitors can interact with their rare Fell ponies, rabbits, mini pigs, dogs, goats, chinchillas, mini horses, llamas, donkeys, and so much more! They even offer special events like goat yoga, Easter egg hunts, and a "not so spooky" trail in the fall.
The next time I'm feeling blue I'm definitely heading to Fellinlove Farm to cuddle some adorable animals and experience the healing effects of nature firsthand! Check out their Facebook page here.