MACCLESFIELD, N.C. (WNCT) – Many people have a dog or a cat. maybe two or three. And then there’s the Abrams family.
“We have just about everything you could imagine except for a lion, a tiger, and a bear,” said Hali Pavelka, whose parents are the owners of It’s A Zoo Life.
For this family, it’s a zoo life.
“It’s like about 80 animals,” said Bobbie Jo Abrams, owner of It’s A Zoo Life.
“Even since I was a little girl, my mom never had less than 10 dogs,” added Pavelka. “I mean we’ve always had a lot of animals.”
What started as a mobile petting zoo has grown.
“The tours always start down at the miniature bulls,” explained Abrams.
“About 8 years ago, I borrowed a lot of animals,” said Abrams. “We had ducks in the bathtub. We had crates all over the kitchen. And so that was the first time we didn’t sub out the petting zoo as that grew, we would buy more animals.”
One of the things that makes It’s A Zoo Life a little bit different than most zoos, is the fact that you can actually come inside the enclosures and interact with the animals.
“Most everyone starts out in the house as a baby on a bottle,” said Abrams. “That’s the whole concept is encounters with exotics. Like a regular zoo, you’ll see them at a distance and so when you come here, we go in with the kangaroos and they can rub the zebra and rub the camel.”
“Usually by the end the kids love it even the ones that are scared,” said Pavelka. “The adults always have a fit. They are hilarious. Sometimes they’re worse than the children. They’re like oh my gosh look at this.”
“They are like wow. It’s the wow factor,” added Abrams.
So what’s it like growing up with a zoo in your backyard?
“We’re just kind of like eh they’re out there and we’re cleaning up poop and stuff, it’s just our routine,” said Pavelka. “Everybody else is like holy crap this is your life!?!”
“The zebra is always a big hit,” said Abrams. “People love the zebra.”
“Every day is different,” added Abrams. “The animals are like kids; they have a lot of needs. That’s the most important part of what we do is their needs being accommodated because when they’re comfortable, they’re kind and then that makes it a better experience for people.”
“I completely plan on helping her ten-fold until she’s ready to kind of retire, which probably won’t be until she’s like 85,” said Pavelka. “Yeah she’ll be out here with the silver hair up in a bun and rolling.”
As long as Joey, Leo, and Zoomey are around, people will no doubt keep filing in.