Darby Acres Farm - Petting Farm, Interactive, Parties, Horseback Lessons

Please be advised that we bring
LIVE, LIVING ANIMALS -Grazing makes them Happy!
They will most likely eat some of your grass!
Some of the animals do like to "root" around in the grass too.
In case of inclement weather, we will do everything we can to bring you animals
but you will have the option to pick another available date. 
There are no refunds issued.


NOTE: *All Educational Field Trips, will require a signed "FIELD TRIP TRAVELING ZOO RELEASE FORM"  liability waiver to be signed by every participant's legal guardian.
*NO Exceptions*

NOTE:  *When a child under the age of 18 years old will be unaccompanied by their parent/legal guardian at ANY TRAVELING EVENT/BIRTHDAY PARTY, etc., a signed “PETTING FARM WAIVER” is REQUIRED from the child’s parent/legal guardian, and must be given to Darby Acres Farm, upon their arrival to the event.
*NO Exceptions*

**A signed waiver is required, by every participant, regardless if a parent is present at your event.
*NO Exceptions*

Attn: Host
Please print and have your signed waivers
together and ready to turn in to our handlers upon their arrival.
Thank you!

Please see "Liability Waivers" Link to the left.


How do I schedule a traveling petting zoo to come to our event?
To request Darby Acres Farm for an event, we require that you complete and submit the scheduling request form, located on our "Scheduling-Contact Us" page.  We work on the requests received on a “First-come, First-served" basis.  We work our hardest to respond to all requests as quickly as possible. Currently, we are receiving a very high number of requests.  We are working on requests in the order they are received and will be in touch with you as soon as possible.

No dates are held or confirmed until a 50%, non-refundable, deposit is received, cleared, and approved by our scheduling department.  We recommend you make your down payment as soon as you have decided your date to reserve and hold it.  Your event is not booked until your 50% deposit has cleared. 

*If the remaining balance is not paid, you will forfeit the event and deposit.
We require your deposit to be mailed in by check or money order.  Three (3) days will be given for deposits to reach our office.  If we do not receive your down payment in the 3 days, we will open the date up for another event to be scheduled.  As a convenience, we will accept credit card payments by phone; a convenience charge will be added to credit card payments if you choose to pay with this method.

*All remaining balances are due as follows:
     -A minimum of 5 business days prior to the scheduled event time for payments, by check or money order, being mailed to our business office.



*It is your responsibility to mail in your final payment to arrive in our office 5 business days prior to your event. 

As a courtesy, our scheduling department will always call you 24 hours prior to your scheduled event, if they have not received your final payment.
*Events scheduled within 10 days of their event time, must be paid in full by credit card and will be charged a Short Notice Booking Fee.
*A $25 fee will be charged for all returned checks.

**PLEASE NOTE– Our schedule allows us a start time for most events beginning at 10:30am (arrival time 10:00am).  ALL animals must have their breakfast and be full and happy before they can get in their ride and leave the farm!  We have an ending time for most events at 4:00pm.  (The animals want their dinner too!) We will take requests for earlier and later times, and will consider on a case by case basis.  If we are able to accommodate your request, there will be an additional Over-Time fee charged that may range anywhere from $20-$55 per 1/2 hour for every 30 minutes after 4:00pm and before 10:30am, depending on the traveling package you are requesting and the location distance of the event.
Example:  You have requested a 6:00pm start time for 1 hour.  This would have a end time of 7:00pm.  This would be 3 hours after our closing time.  The minimum charge for a small package would be $120 overtime charge to be added to the base package price and travel fee.  A small package with a 9:00am start time would have an additional overtime fee of $60.  Larger Packages will have a higher overtime charge.

Rain is expected…Now what?  How do I reschedule?
We do not issue refunds.  Darby Acres Farm will arrive to your event, rain or shine! There are no refunds.  We give you the option to reschedule for another date or choose another package that would comfortably fit in your garage, carport or even inside your home! Many people decide to rent tents for their event in case of rain.  (We DO NOT offer tent rental)

If you do decide to reschedule, because of inclement weather, we require a written notice to be submitted by completing our "Change Request Form" located at the bottom of our "Scheduling-Contact Us" page a minimum of 24 hours prior to your scheduled event or your deposit will be lost.  If the proper notice is given, for inclement weather, we will put your deposit towards another event within 12 months. (*If you noted on your initial request that an indoor space is available for set-up in the case of rain, and you choose to reschedule due to inclement weather, the $20 reschedule/cancellation fee will apply.)

To reschedule for any other reason,
there is a non-refundable $20 reschedule/cancellation fee.
A new date will be based on availability. 
*Any cancellation of a rescheduled date,
will forfeit the event and the deposit. 

(*If you noted on your initial request that an indoor space is available for set-up in the case of rain, and you choose to reschedule due to inclement weather, the $20 reschedule/cancellation fee will apply.)

If the party has begun and rain has started…The Party goes on!
(see facebook link for an^^^^^^ example of us in the rain!)

*(Please note, because of additional time and supplies, a In-Door Set-Up will have an additional charge, ranging from $7 to $50,  depending on the type of package.)  Please let us know your plans for rain so we are able to prepare in advance.

NOTE: We are unable to drive or take our animals in the trailer in storms producing lighting OR any icy conditions. 
It is not safe for anyone to drive on the ice!

If ice OR lighting is in the forecast for the day of your event,
please contact us, no less than 24 hours prior to your event,
for a alternate package; (based on availability)
A Reschedule date.

How does set-up work?  Does my party start when you arrive?
Depending on the traveling package you have reserved, our handlers will arrive approximately 5-25 minutes prior to the scheduled event time to begin set-up. (*Please note: We do not charge you for the set-up time.  The set-up time is a "range", and not an exact time.  Each traveling package takes a different amount of set-up time that is based on the animal(s) that are coming to your event, your event location, and the set-up area, among other factors.*If there is an unforeseen reason that causes a delay (traffic, construction, flat tire, a animal not feeling well, etc.) and we arrive late to your events start time, we will be at your event for the scheduled amount of time that you have reserved.)
Please make sure our handlers are uninterrupted during set-up.  Please make sure that children are not near the animals until setup is complete. Our handlers need to pay full attention to setting up to make sure all safety measures are completed and finished appropriately.  Our handlers will let you know when they are set up and ready for the children to join the animals.  Please have a water hose where we can have easy access to it for watering the ponies and animals, in a shaded area if possible.  Please make sure the grass has not been treated with any pesticides or chemicals 2 weeks prior to your scheduled event.  For the safety of all guests at your event, please keep balloons and loud games away from the ponies & farm animals.  Please make sure there is ample parking in front of your home for our truck and trailer to park and unload the animals. 
*If there is an unforeseen reason that causes a delay (traffic, construction, flat tire, a animal not feeling well, etc.) and we arrive late to your events start time, we will be at your event for the scheduled amount of time that you have reserved.

*Note: Event Host/Church/Group must provide adequate area for petting zoo and for parking of our truck and trailer.  Our truck and trailer must be parked within 25 feet of the petting zoo set-up area in a lighted area.  Exceptions are granted, only with approval from our management team after a visit to the property.  There will be a additional charge for additional set-up time required if the request is approved.

The handlers will end the petting zoo at the exact agreed end time that has been paid for.  They must break-down the petting zoo and depart your event with the animals as quickly as possible to make certain they do not arrive late to the next scheduled event.  If you are interested in adding additional time, it must be done in advance and not the day of your event.

*You may want to include the petting zoo start time & end time in any promotional items you send out so that your guests/attendees  know in advance what time the petting zoo will be opened/closed.  When setting-up or breaking-down of the animals begin, we will not stop to show anyone the animals for safety reasons and precautions.

How big does my yard need to be for you to bring animals to our event?
It depends on the traveling package you choose.  Our Traveling Packages can fit almost anywhere! The fencing for our pens is flexible and can fit in almost any yard.  A level, grassy area is best for our traveling packages.  A 12x12 grassy area is the minimum required for pony rides.  Parties may not be set up with ½ in front yard and ½ in back yard.  All animals must be, in one location, in direct view of all of our handlers at all times. There must be ample space for our truck and trailer to park and unload the animals. If you are planning on being at a park or public venue, please check with them to make sure animals are allowed!  You are responsible for all permits and licenses that may be required for your event. Most venues need anywhere from 30-90 days, advance notice, to process a permit for an event.

*Please note. Both Large Groups and Large Events (Festivals, HOA, Community events, etc.) with 75 - 500 guests, will be charged an additional fee of ($40 PER/HR.) that will be added to the package price you have chosen.

*Festival Pricing will be given for events of 500 or more guests.  We will contact you with festival pricing after we received your online scheduling request form.

Is grass required for the animals to come to our event?
A level grassy area is required for any Traveling Pony Packages coming to your event.  We do not give any pony rides on concrete, blacktop, gravel, rocks, sand or any grassy area on an incline.  This is for the safety of the children and the animals.  While grass is preferred, it is not necessary for our Bunnies & Buddies packages, our Barnyard packages, or our exotic packages.  For these packages, if grass is not available, we can offer a set-up with wood shavings. We take care of all clean-up of the shavings at the end of the event.  *(Please note, because of additional time and supplies, a set-up with shavings will have an additional charge, depending on the type of package.) 

*If your setup is on grass, our animals will be eating your grass.
Please make certain that the grass has not been treated with any pesticides or chemicals a minimum of 2 weeks prior to your scheduled event.

Can we pick up and hold the animals?
None of the animals are to be picked up or handled by anyone other than our handlers.  Children may pet the animals.  Please help to make certain that the children are being kind and gentle to all the animals while petting them and are not trying to pick them up. 
What animals can we ride?
The only animals that can be ridden are from our Traveling Pony Packages. Our Pony has a maximum weight limit of 120lbs. All Traveling Pony Packages required a helmet to be worn by EVERY rider (we provide helmet) and a signed waiver by a legal guardian.  Only one child is allowed to be on a pony at a time.
*(Please note, our Exotic Animals packages do not go out with Traveling Pony Packages.)

How many rides can the "Pony Party" Packages give?
Each pony ride is approximately 2 minutes (plus the additional time to change riders = est. 5-7 minutes total time required per rider and every pony is given a break to rest depending on the number of riders!).  We recommend one of our Traveling Pony & Friends packages for larger parties with 20 riders, with additional children, so that they may be entertained with the other animals while they wait their turn for their ride. 
For more than 20 children, we require our Large Event/Festival Package to be reserved.  Please see Packages for pricing. 
Mini-Horse is not for Riding
Pony Packages #8 & #9  are for a
Maximum of 2 Hours / 20 Riders -
Not for Large Festivals or Events

Our Recommendation:
Up to 10 Children:            Minimum of 1 Hour
Up to 15 Children:            Minimum of 1.5 Hours
MAXIMUM OF 20 Children:  Minimum of 2 Hours

Can we feed the animals?
For a fee of $20, we will provide food that may be fed to the animals.
We will bring healthy food that is easy for children to handle and feed our animals like lettuce & carrots. For the health and safety of our animals, we can not allow them to eat any food that is not supplied by us.  (Only available for small events) *Not available for the exotic animals
Are my dogs/animals allowed to be near the animals you bring to the event?
Please keep all dogs, and any of your other animals, locked up and away from the animals while we are at your event.  Dogs may startle ponies and other animals.
(**Please note: We are unable to bring our equine/horses to any event that has other equine/horses on the property.)
Should we tip the Handlers?
Tips are not required but always appreciated.  If you tip, the tip is shared by the Handlers that were at your Party.

How far do you travel with the animals and how much will the Travel Fee be?

**NOTE - our BARNYARD PACKAGES & our PONY PACKAGES Travel a MAXIMUM DISTANCE OF 40 Miles from Zip Code 28216.

ALL of our traveling packages, regardless of distance,
(From .1 mile +) will have a travel fee added to the base price of the package you are requesting for Every Mile we travel and will vary depending on your location and the size of the traveling package you are requesting among other factors. We will let you know the travel fee after we have received your fully completed scheduling request form.

Many different factors will affect how far we are able to travel for a party including our current scheduled events on the day you are requesting, the time of year, the time of day, and the animal package you are requesting, among other factors. For most occasions, we are able to travel up to 40 miles, one way, from zip code 28216.  We consider each request and try to accommodate, if all factors allow for us to attend the requested event. 

The travel fee calculation is based on many different factors including: your exact location, the total mileage, the estimated travel time, the size of the traveling package you are requesting, the trailer size required for your requested package, the day of the week, the time of day among other factors. We will let you know the travel fee after we have received your fully completed scheduling request form.,

We understand you would like an estimate in advance, so we give the following simple calculation, so there are no "surprises" on the travel fee.

 The following calculation will give you a "rough estimate" and the final fee could be more or less depending on your exact location and the traveling package you are requesting, etc.

Multiply the round trip mileage from area code 28216
to your event location by $1

Example for ESTIMATE on Travel Fee: 
Your event location is 80 miles from area code 28216. 
Multiply 80 by 2 for round trip mileage
and then multiply by $1. (80x2=160miles).
This would be an estimate of $160
added to the traveling package you are requesting.
  Again this is ONLY A ESTIMATE
and the final fee could be more or less depending on
your exact location and the traveling package you are requesting, ETC.

Please understand, there is a travel fee, for Every Mile Traveled, for every package that travels from the farm.
We will let you know the travel fee after we have received your fully completed scheduling request form.

*A additional $25 charge will be added to the travel fee for any event that crosses North Carolina State Line.)

Click here for additional Facility Rental FAQ's.
Are you open to the general public? 
No, we are no longer open to the general public.  Yes, things have changed a bit since your last visit.  We would like to be able to share our animals with everyone, however, a prearranged appointment is now necessary and required to visit our private property.

**We kindly ask that you do not show up to our private property without a prepaid appointment. 
We could be caring for an animal in need, entertaining a scheduled event, working with an already scheduled pony ride or tour, etc. We regret that we will have to turn away anyone that arrives without a prearranged-prepaid,
scheduled appointment.

Thank you in advance for your understanding!

We now offer instant online appointment scheduling of farm tours for groups of 20 people of less !!



Do you have a question that was not answered on this page?
Please go to our "Scheduling-Contact Us" page and complete your contact information and complete the "Additional comments, requests or questions" field and we will get back with you.
**Please note: The health and safety of our animals is VERY IMPORTANT to us.  It is at our discretion to replace an animal in your package with another awesome animal friend if they are not up to the party event.  If an animal is not feeling well, they get to call in sick too!