Cute, Furry, and Funny… Feet?

Callie H.
December 1, 2022

Welcome to the Funny Foot Farm, where the only feet you will be seeing are those of some adorable – and exotic – animals! 

Upon entering the farm, I was greeted by a stoic donkey on the left that had huge pen to herself. My heart immediately melted when she stuck her white nose through the wood fence for me to scratch her. The way she nodded her head slightly when I rubbed her snout made me want to keep petting her for hours, but realized I still needed to pay so I could share my love with all the other animals. The Funny Foot Farm and Tucson Petting Zoo is crawling with farm animals you commonly see at a petting zoo and many other unique animals that visitors get the opportunity to pet and feed! It’s located at 2405 W Wetmore Rd and is more isolated from the city, but a great hidden gem. Petting my dogs at home in Phoenix always lifts my spirits when I’ve had a tough day and this was just the cure I needed for feeling a little homesick.

Once I was able to drag myself away from the donkey, I walked down the wide, dirt road that led me to a perimeter of haystacks making a square and shaded by a canopy. A colorful playset was at the center and little kids were laughing and climbing while the parents sat and chatted on the hay. Across the road, there was the clucking of chickens and screaming ducks waddling as fast as they could to the wire fence of their giant enclosure. I couldn’t tell if they were excited to see me or if they wanted the pellets of food that people had. Goats were sticking their heads over the fence and crammed together, bonking heads as they fought for food from people’s hands.

I skipped to the little building and I’m bouncing up and down as I pass them my money – only $15 to see all these animals – and am handed a cup of green and brown pellets to feed the birds and goats. While I waited for my friends to pay, I admired the gift shop items: stickers of the animals and wooden boxes with capybara engravings, water bottles, and more! I was curious about how the farm came to exist, and the owner, Kenneth MacNeil, told me that he and his wife “started mobile petting zoos, after school programs, and libraries from our house till we had enough money to build the farm.” 

Flocking With the Birds

My first activity was feeding the chickens and ducks. I carefully drew back the gate door so none of the animals running towards me escaped. The first thing I notice is the variety of color, size, and features among the animals. There were brown, white, orange, multicolored, some so small I thought I might accidentally step on one, ones with large feathers and others with wattles. My favorites were the tiny pom-pom ball looking chickens and the white ducks that look a little different than a standard duck you may be thinking of because these have fluffy feathers. I watched my friend grab her cup with brown pellets with a smile and kneel down to a wide eyed, orange colored chicken and it gobbled the food right out of her hand aggressively. 

Next up on the list was the goats. Some of the larger, persistent goats stayed on their hind legs for a long time as each of my friends and I took turns feeding them, punching the air with their hooves for more. The petite goats were squeezed between the wooden-planked fence, baaing to make sure they weren’t excluded. Georgi, the co-owner, said her favorite part of working at the farm is “the animal therapy, if you’re ever having a bad day.” At this point, I was feeling the animal therapy kicking in… and it was coming in strong because I felt like I NEEDED to see more animals. 

Giant Rodents: Capybaras! 

As I was petting the goats, the tour guide called everyone over to begin our experience with the capybaras. I was not expecting what I saw. Capybaras are the world’s largest rodents, and according to the owner, Kenneth MacNeil, a common thing visitors say when they see the animals for the first time is that “they are bigger than they thought.” Along the cinderblock wall, they had a vat of water to cool off in and lots of space to roam. I was given some small pieces of lettuce to feed them and went over to one that was walking around in the shade, unlike most of them that were sunbathing. With its long front teeth, it nibbled on the lettuce … and my hand a little bit.

The capybaras reminded me of elephants in the way they walked around their enclosure. Their webbed feet stomped intentionally in the dirt, like they knew what they did and didn’t want and their constant composure made them very welcoming to hugs. MacNeil loves “everything” about the capybaras, “each one has its own personality and they are very gentle and loving animals.” My friends and I couldn’t agree more. My friend called this “a once in a lifetime experience”… and it was because there are not many other places in the U.S where you can do this! Georgi said that their first capybara was an “impulse purchase.” Alongside the capybaras were other exotic animals such as tortoises, patagonian mara, and kangaroos!

I left the capybara space and went to the next room with darker lighting containing four porcupines that were gated off. We fed them potato slices, but unfortunately did not get to pet them. The last stop was a nursery for baby capybaras that are between 4 and 6 months old! The babies were feisty compared to the adults, so keep an eye on your sweater or they may chew on it! There were also baby chickens that were only a smidge larger than my hand and colorful birds perched above us on hanging sticks. This enclosure made me feel like I was in a jungle with all the green paint and unique graffiti style art and the squawking of the birds.  

A Happy Place

The goats, chickens, and capybaras are only a few of the animals I had the opportunity to see and pet. To hear about more of the exotic animals, definitely take a trip to the farm! If you would like updates on the animals or just simply want to see these funny animals more often, check out the Funny Foot Farm Instagram page!


Callie H. is from Phoenix and is currently studying psychology at the U of A. She is a major lover of animals.