I’ve been volunteering for a couple of months now at Horsepower for Kids, a local nonprofit horse barn and so much more.

It’s great, in that I get my animal fix there. And there are so many animals! I also get to work outdoors, which I like. I have always been an outdoor person. It feels good to volunteer, and especially to take care of animals. It really helps me to de-stress.

And the other volunteers are so great, too. There are so many nice people who work hard to make Horsepower a great place to visit.

Horsepower For Kids is a 501 C(3) nonprofit organization that is part horse barn, part petting zoo and home to all kinds of animals.

A lot of the animals at Horsepower have been rescues. There are many animals there that people have tried to keep as pets, then realized they couldn’t keep them. For example, there are a couple of wolf dogs. Their owners had bred them, wanting pets. But they couldn’t keep them, so they found Horsepower. The wolf dogs howl a lot.

A lot of the rescues are exotic animals, like lemurs, snakes, iguanas and parrots. They have a lot of parrots.

The parrots were some of the first animals Kyle ever met there at Horsepower. He likes parrots. Actually, he likes animals of all kinds. Which comes in handy when we go to Horsepower as a family!

Lots of different families would enjoy visiting the farm.

It’s even disability-friendly, so the enjoyment of seeing farm animals would not be hampered by non-access. First, there’s a new, handicapped-only parking spot, all proper.

Then, there are lots of boardwalks located around the farm, so there is access to the Nursery, where there are chicks, rabbits, and other cute fuzzy animals, the birds and parrots, turtles, and ducks. Oh, and there’s a pig named Chi Chi near there who loves attention.

Plus, there is a boardwalk that leads to the lake, so that someone with mobility problems could have access to watch the swans and ducks that call that lake home.

The volunteers are always improving the boardwalks.

Armando Gort, the farm’s founder, told me recently they plan on adding more boardwalks so that there will be some in the back of the lake as well. There will be boardwalk circling the lake. Gort also said the reason they put the boardwalks in is to make the facility more accessible to those with disabilities. They have had kids come from Paul B. Stephens, a Pinellas County public school for kids with disabilities, for field trips for years.

They are selling memorial boards for $50 each to fund the building of the boardwalks.

Here’s another interesting disability-related bit of information: Horsepower also hosts an annual Summer Camp for kids with autism. The local nonprofit Warriors for Autism holds this camp in June, July and August.

Those who are animal lovers know how expensive taking care of animals can be. So Horsepower holds fundraising events to help fund the care and feeding of the animals. They host two fundraisers during the year.

Horsepower For Kids’ Fifth Annual Spring Fest takes place this weekend, March 28th and 29th, and Saturday April 4th from 12 p.m. to 5 p.m. There will be pony rides, hay rides, a bounce house, and baby bunnies, chicks and ducks to pet. There will also be face painting, outdoor games and an egg hunt. The Easter Bunny will also make an appearance for photos.

Cost is $6 for adults and $10 for children. Concessions available at a reasonable rate. Located at 8005 S. Racetrack Rd., Tampa. For more information or directions to the farm you can visit http://www.horsepowerforkids.com or call 813-855-8992.

We can’t wait!

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About Heather Dewey Pettet, Writer/Crafter

I am a writer, editor, artist and crafter, as well as a mom. I have done community journalism as well as written on my personal experiences. I have been writing professionally since 2000. I have covered community events and news, been a freelance copyeditor, and written on my experiences as a breast cancer survivor. I am also a mom to a great boy who happens to have autism.
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