Neighborhood Create Social Distancing Petting Zoo With Stuffed Toys For Kids

An entire neighborhood came together to make a child’s wish come true – by creating a zoo experience on their driveways and lawns. Jaime Taylor and Kelsey DePompei, from Oregon, Ohio, have been friends for 15 years, and each summer, Kelsey would take her eldest daughter, Emilia, 4, to the zoo to help stoke her passion for animals. This year, however, with the zoo closed, the pair of friends wanted to come up with a plan for their kids to still have the zoo experience – as well as adhering to the state’s stay-at-home order. Having created a neighborhood Facebook group to help families during the COVID-19 pandemic, Jaime, 33, and Kelsey, 32, pitched the idea of a neighborhood zoo made from stuffed animals, while still following the regular zoo rules of “look but don’t touch.” And with 20 houses agreeing to help, they got to work creating the makeshift zoo. They hung toy monkeys and lemurs from trees and grouped other animal sets into sections making sure the kids walked between each exhibit in a safe, distanced manner. The surprise took place on April 4, 2020, with Kelsey taking her kids, Emilia and Luciana, 2, and Jaime also taking hers, Adeline and Cora, both 2. The zoo ran from noon until 6pm, and the sense of working together really brought the neighborhood together, Kelsey said.