Mall becomes cuddle central

FEEDING TIME: Tiffany Perkins bottle feeds a lamb in the mobile animal farm in Hargeaves Mall. Picture: DARREN HOWE

FEEDING TIME: Tiffany Perkins bottle feeds a lamb in the mobile animal farm in Hargeaves Mall. Picture: DARREN HOWE

Families desperate for boredom-busting holiday activities have flocked to Hargreaves Mall for face-painting and to make some new furry friends.

Animals2U set up its menagerie of farmyard critters in the Mall today as part of the City of Greater Bendigo’s holiday program.

Owner Susan Pintos said her mobile petting farm was popular in part because people’s backyards were getting smaller.

“A lot of people are unable to have pets. And also for some children this is only interaction they will have with a lamb or a duck,” she said.

“It teaches them about compassion for animals. Kids are learning that animals have feelings and that you need to be gentle when you pat them. These are important skills to have.”

Ms Pintos said adults often had more fun than kids.

“I think being around animals is very calming. That’s what people are attracted to.”

Parent Kathlyn Crisp had come to the Mall to get her children Aurora and Tripp out of the house.

She said she often noticed her children were calmer after playing with animals.

“Especially Aurora, she is so full-on … although I think right now they are stirring Tripp up a bit. All he wants to do is chase those chickens,” she said.

Ms Crisp said most of her holiday boredom-busting activities were designed to get her children outside.

“(I look for) anything that can burn off a bit of their energy,” she said.

Today’s farm visit was the first of two free anthropological adventures the council had organised in Hargreaves Mall these school holidays.

The fun is set to continue next Tuesday when Tooko Wildlife Displays will introduce children to Australian native animals.

Their display will take place from 10.30am to 1.30pm, with a 20 minute presentation at noon. There will also be free face painting.

The council’s public spaces activation officer Karen Cresswell said the council was committed to providing free family events for the community.

“These events are designed to provide families with a fun, interactive way to entertain the kids during the school holidays,” she said.

“Hargreaves Mall is a great space for families to gather during the school holidays and is close to shopping and restaurants and cafes.”

For more information on next week’s native animal display contact the council on 5434 6000.

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