A golden celebration gives thousands of children a free day of learning and fun.
Story by Kimiko Martinez
Pictures by Elaine Cromie
As one of the most-visited attractions in the city, the Children’s Animal Farm of Sarnia, Ontario — founded and partially supported by The Seaway, Sarnia Kiwanis Club — is accustomed to hosting busloads of children. Schools and families bring kids of all ages to learn about the farm and a menagerie of animals from goats to geese to guinea pigs. But July 8 was a different beast.
That Saturday belatedly celebrated Canada’s 150th anniversary, along with the farm’s 50th. Three shuttles brought in families from all over the city. And the kids — from toddlers to teens — were everywhere, along with a bevy of parents. Thousands spread out on the property, climbing inflatable walls, jumping in bounce houses, riding the mini-train, checking out the flying drones — oh, and of course, visiting the animals.
“I was standing in the middle of the parking lots looking both ways, and there were piles of kids to the left and piles of kids to the right,” says Ken Stothers, Seaway Kiwanis Club member and the event chair. “It was just fantastic.”
All told, the club estimates that between 4,000 and 5,000 people attended.
“It was just a constant stream of people,” says Donna Kelso, Seaway Kiwanis Club president. “There was so much going on and so many activities organized throughout the park.”
The festivities included free hot dogs, ice cream and beverages for visitors, a Best Buy tent with electronic games, a Play It Again Sports tent, a full day of activities at the Kiwanis BMX Track, safety displays from local police and firefighters, musical performances, face painting and more.
“It was a good thing for the public, for the community and for our own club as well,” Kelso says. “We’ve had a lot of new members in the past two years, so this was a bonding experience for them. It was a full day of working side by side and getting to know each other.”
This story originally appeared in the January/February issue of Kiwanis magazine.