GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — If you want to surprise your co-workers at your next digital meeting and support a local business at the same time, you now can.
Lewis Adventure Farm and Zoo is offering up everything from peacocks to wallabies as special guests at your next Google Hangout, Zoom, or Skype video call.
Jenny Ferels is the Brand Ambassador for the farm and says it all started with a fun Facebook post she shared of other farms doing something similar. When she started getting requests, she knew she had just the "star" in the farm's camel, Jeffrey. The camel had already become somewhat famous for a video of him visiting a pet store in West Michigan last year.
"One of the places we went to (with Jeffrey) was the PetSmart in Muskegon," Ferels said. "He went in the store, made his rounds, did a little shopping. That was a very fun video and Jeffrey became a bit of a celebrity."
Ferels added that she's been contacted by numerous educators looking to put some fun into their online courses. So she added a virtual field trip to the farm's offerings.
"It's been especially popular with teachers," Ferels added. "I didn't realize how many teachers are having virtual meetings with their students."
If you'd like to book an animal, the process is simple. Visit the farm's website and give them some basic information and the date and time of your meeting. Then, for a donation to the farm, they'll take their smartphone out on the farm and let one of their critters sit in on your digital meeting, class, or party.
"Any type of income helps to feed the animals," Ferels said. "They keep eating and there's a lot of expenses to keep up with."
Ferels added that although they aren't sure if the entire farm will be open on its scheduled May 8th date, the farm's Market Store will be up and open for businesses offering freshly baked bread and other baked goods.