Changes at Old MacDonald's Farm - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Changes at Old MacDonald's Farm

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CEDAR RAPIDS (KWWL) -

A children's petting zoo opened for the season in Cedar Rapids this week. Old MacDonald's Farm in Bever Park has struggled to revamp their image in recent years.

That's after Zachary Kanellis and Shayne Smalling, from Cedar Rapids, admitted to throwing stones that killed 50 ducks back in June 2008.

But if you haven't been through Bever Park lately, you're in for quite a treat.

Changes in security protect the animals, and volunteers have revamped this one of a kind farm in the heart of Cedar Rapids.

Rose Pfeifle bundled up her granddaughter to spend the day outdoors. She appreciates the free admission.

"Five dollars in gas is worth it to see the joy on their face and how much fun they have," said Pfeifle.

Park supervisor Charlie Romines loves to see the public taking advantage of the display.

"Its a great amenity for the city to enjoy!" said Romines.

The Cedar Rapids Parks & Recreation Department says visitors should feel safe and protected in the park.

"We've installed video surveillance and there's also an electric fence along the top to keep anyone from going in from over the top. We've done everything we can reasonably do to prevent something like that from happening again," said Romines.

Some of the animals at Old MacDonald's Farm have already mooo-ved in for the season, like baby calves.

"Several of our animals are wintered at their homes if you will, and this is their summer vacation home if you will, with us, entertaining the children," said Romines.

The future of the farm depends on community support and allows people like Rose Pfeifle to teach her granddaughter a hands on lesson.

"Ohh! Look at the baby one! Look!"

Park staff say they're always asked about the monkeys.  They relocated the monkeys nine years ago because they didn't have the funds to properly care for them.

There won't be prairie dogs this year either because of restrictions by the state.

But you can count on seeing all kinds of birds, farm animals, a donkey, and as early as the fall, a floppy eared fox.

Old McDonald's Farm in Bever Park is maintained and operated by the Cedar Rapids Parks & Recreation Department. Admission is free to the public until October 2, 2011.

Hours are from 10:00 AM - 7:00 PM.

Some exhibits may close 15-20 minutes early due to variations in feeding schedules. (The Schuknecht Waterfowl Exhibit closes at 6:30 PM).

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