Kinderplaats delights families

Carnival rides and a petting zoo are popular attractions at Tulip Time’s Kinderplaats in Kollen Park.
Part park, part petting zoo, part carnival — Kinderplaats was definitely the place for kids this weekend.
The kick-off weekend for Tulip Time also included fireworks, the annual Tulip Time Arts and Crafts Show, vintage base ball, fireworks and, of course, Dutch dance.
Events across town continue through Saturday.
At Kollen Park on Saturday and Sunday, crafts, games and inflatables amused families. Music and shows also entertained kids and parents, and carnival rides and a petting zoo were big hits.
Saturday afternoon, 6-year-old Abby Barrera bowled with a plastic ball and pins, but she had another activity in mind as her favorite — the petting zoo and “touching the animals.” Her favorite is the horse. “I like how they sound,” she said with a smile.
“Our kids really like it. It’s a fun thing to do,” her mother, Veronica Barrera, said as she looked on.
The animals have long been the stars of Kinderplaats.
“This is about our 20th year here,” said “Farmer John” Forshee with Barnyard Express, a mobile educational farm center based in Ypsilanti.
He combines humor and education, traveling to school assemblies, fairs and festivals.
“There’s so few kids that even go to a farm any more, it’s important they experience the farm, learn where the food we eat comes from,” Barrera said.
Most kids think potato chips come from the store, he said.
Of his Frisbee-catching, hide-and-seek-playing dog, Smudge, Barrera said, “He’s really the star of the show, not me.”

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