When Connor Scheumann was a 4-H’er living in Hoagland, he joined in a visit to Park Hill Learning Center in New Haven.
“We brought some animals for the kids to see, and most of the kids had never seen these animals before,” he said. “And the parents were saying that was such a great experience for the kids, to teach them about agriculture. When I was in 4-H and growing up on the family farm, I just assumed everyone had animals.”
The experience planted an idea that grew as Scheumann became a Heritage High School FFA member. Scheumann began bringing his petting zoo and farm-themed bounce house to festivals and parties. He graduated from Purdue University this year, and now has a permanent home for his agritourism business.
Scheumann Farm & Petting Zoo will be open from noon-7 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays through Oct. 29 at 23368 Kammeyer Road, Woodburn. Admission is $5 for ages 3 and older. Pony rides are $3.
Kids can buy a pumpkin for as little as $1 or no more than $7.
“You ride the hayride out to the pumpkins and pick your pumpkin and paint your pumpkin, and that’s all included [in the pumpkin price],” he said.
His business partner is his fiancee, Hannah Smith, who is from Lebanon, Ind., and who also graduated from Purdue this year.
The plan to build a home on the property within two years, Scheumann said. For now, they have a barn and seven acres of pumpkins, small animals and pony rides.
He said such operations are becoming more common.
“It’s kind of hard to get into the game,” he said.
The petting zoo opened Oct. 7.
“A lot of people appreciated how calm and peaceful it was and that there wasn’t a million people there,” he said.
“You love doing this, who why not bring it to other people?” he said. The farm houses miniature horses, one pony, calves, goats, sheep, pigs, rabbits and chickens. He might add small donkeys, he said.
Anyone wanting more information about the farm or directions, or who wants to book a private party, may contact Scheumann at (260) 494-8691 or email@example.com. Check out photos at scheumannfarm.com or on Facebook.
The farm is about 30 minutes northeast of downtown Fort Wayne. Take Indiana 101 north from Woodburn, past Old U.S. 24, to Kammeyer Road, and turn east.
Heritage FFA adviser Mike Shirey said Scheumann’s agritourism business started with a Supervised Agricultural Experience program. Scheumann’s project won honors at the National FFA convention that year. He recently earned his degree in agribusiness.
“This past weekend, he opened his farm for visitors to see animals, pony rides, inflatable slide, decorate pumpkins, hayride and other activities,” Shirey said in an email. “I know that I am biased, however, it is rewarding to see a young person pursue their dream.”