WILLIAMS, AZ (ARIZONA HIGHWAYS TV) - A trip to the Grand Canyon was supposed to be a scenic and romantic first date. But Patricia and Randy never made it. Instead, the young couple stopped at the Grand Canyon Deer Farm about 60 miles south and spent the entire day.

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Albino wallaby at the Deer Farm & Petting Zoo (Source: Arizona Highways TV)

They got married and in 1987, came back and bought the farm, so to speak. Since then, Pat and Randy George have raised their family here. But the long days and sleepless nights haven’t just been dedicated to their kids. They’ve also hand-raised many of the hundreds and hundreds of animals that have since made up this petting zoo. Deer, goats, mini-donkeys, llamas, coatimundi, even an albino wallaby are all housed here for you to get up close and personal.

Since this is a petting zoo, that means it’s always feeding time. And that means every resident will follow you diligently until you give up the goods.

I probably hadn’t been to a petting zoo since I was a kid. I’d forgotten how happy the simple interaction of these gentle creatures eating out of your hand can make you feel. It really is a simple joy.

I was lucky enough to be able to play with the coatimundi on my visit. They look like a raccoon, but with a longer tail and snout, more friendly and even more curious. I’m not sure if it was Lucy or Desi who tried to snuggle down into my parka before retreating and climbing on top of my head.

As I’ve found out over the years, my head seems to be a popular perch for the many carnivore creatures we’ve come across. Pat says she actually bottle fed and cared for them the first couple of months inside her house! That was more like a circus.

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Gracie the camel at the Deer Farm & Petting Zoo (Source: Arizona Highways TV)

But let’s not overlook another star here at Deer Farm. Gracie the camel. While I never did ask Pat if she let Randy give her a kiss after that first date, I did find out first hand that you can’t leave the zoo without getting a wet one from Gracie. All you have to do is hold a carrot in your teeth and she’ll do the rest. I’d already gotten a few kisses from the coatimundis, so why not a camel? Don’t let her whiskers surprise you.

Arizona's Highways TV with Robin Sewell airs Saturdays on 3TV at 8:30 pm and Sundays on CBS 5 at 4:30 pm.

Host | Arizona Highways TV

In her weekly segment, Arizona Highways TV, Robin explores people and places that make Arizona extraordinary.

Producer, Arizona Highways TV

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