Local family opens farm with hayrides, petting zoo
By BRITTANY FHOLER
Located off F.M. 116 just south of Copperas Cove, Reyna’s Ark offers an affordable option for families to have some fall-themed fun with hayrides and a petting zoo.
Reyna’s Ark is owned and operated by Reni and Brooklyn Reyna. Reni is a 14-year Navy veteran and Brooklyn is a former veterinarian technician. They have three children, ages 11, 13 and 16, and over a dozen animals, many of which are free roaming at their property on Mimosa Drive.
The couple first opened their farm to the public on October 10, with $3 hayrides and $3 admission plus free face painting and free admission for kids two years old and under. With the admission price, guests get a cup of food to feed the free-roaming goats, donkey, chickens and turkeys.
Other animals at the farm include a Flemish Giant rabbit, three pigs, two intact male goats, two Sulcata tortoises, miniature pony and two peacocks. Occasionally, the Reynas also bring out their three ferrets. The family also owns six dogs and a show rabbit who stays inside.
Brooklyn said that the family has always had a joy and passion for animals.
“It kind of started from puppies,” Brooklyn said. “We found some puppies that had been abandoned on the side of the road.”
They managed to find homes for four of the puppies and kept the other four. Then came the goats.
“From there, it just kind of started growing,” Brooklyn said.
Next came the malnourished donkey and the three pigs with mites and overgrown hooves.
“I love to make them well again- that’s me,” Brooklyn said. “My husband likes to build and make the things.”
One of the enclosures Reni built was to house his daughter’s pony and provide shelter from the weather, and he built it using pallets from HomeBase Lumber and Supply, he said.
After being told by friends to open their farm to the public, and after praying and brainstorming as a family, Reyna’s Ark was born. The main part was envisioning the farm as if Brooklyn and her family were visiting themselves, she said.
Reyna’s Ark will only be open for two more Saturdays this month, including Halloween.
“We didn’t really expect such an awesome turnout, or we would have extended it,” Brooklyn said. “If it goes well, I think we’re leaning towards maybe opening up in the spring for Easter.”
Brooklyn said that the family has had fun opening their farm to the public.
“We enjoy it,” Brooklyn said. “It’s a lot of work, the maintenance, the upkeep, and it can be costly, but we’ve had so many generous donations.”
People have dropped off feed buckets, scoops, monetary donations and even hay for the animals.
“That really helps because if we’ve got people helping and supporting us that way, then we can take in more and help treat more, if it needs to be done,” Brooklyn said.
For both Brooklyn and Reni, the best part is seeing how people react to the different animals.
“It’s really exciting seeing the smiles and seeing others take pictures,” Brooklyn said.
One family returned for a second visit this past Saturday. Karola Runyan brought her daughters Scarlett, 10, and Kingsley, 3, back to the farm.
“She just loves it,” Runyan said about Kingsley. “She told all of her friends, her cousins, everybody. She loves the turtles, she loves the chickens, she just loves it, and she’s not afraid of any of it. She would not shut up; I had no choice. We had to come back.”
Kingsley said her favorite animals were the goats. She also spent time hugging on the donkey.
Reyna’s Ark is located at 2811 Mimosa Dr., and is open Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. On Halloween, the Reynas plan to decorate the farm for Halloween and possibly dress up some of the animals and hand out candy to trick or treaters. For more information, people can visit the Reyna’s Ark website: https://reynasark.wixsite.com/website or call 757-478-5468.