What to do when your compliments are the same as your complaints?
We have set up the farm to be a completely self-guided, go-at-your-own-pace, come-and-go experience. Lots of our customers love this kind of relaxed atmosphere.
It suits really young kids well, since you don’t have to drag them away when they are just warming up to one of the animals.
It suits older kids well, too, because they might want to have a dozen pony rides or just sit and hold a kitten.
We know it doesn’t suit some of our visitors as well, though. Some folks don’t feel comfortable going up to animals or wandering around someone’s yard. They may not even be at ease coming up and asking us questions. I think I can think of a couple of ways to address this without taking away from the relaxed environment.
“Information stations” with maps, explanatory signs, proposed activity guides and ‘rules’ listed like:
“Yes, you can touch all the animals.
Yes, you can pick up the animals.
You must stay on this side of all the fences.
You can open the gates to the 3 walk-in pens, but no other gates.”
This would suit some people who like guidance and like to read.
It’s a thought.
How about an “info booth” with a greeter at a central location? We are not always able to answer all the questions at the gate, since it is often busy at check-in time. So maybe people with questions would like to come talk to someone who is just there for that purpose.
Or maybe not. Maybe it’s okay to be somewhere and have to ask yourself some questions about what you want out of your time. I’m not sure, but we’ll be thinking about it. We always are thinking about what we do and why we do it and how to do it better.