Sitting just off of Burmester Road down Higley Lane lives Grantsville’s strangest attraction — the farm that has it all.
As you drive up to Ivie Acres Farm and Petting Zoo, located at 5605 W. Higley Lane, the farm might look typical, except for the giant emu that wanders just beyond the gate, of course.
But traveling further into the farm will leave you speechless as you observe dozens of different types of animals, both the typical farm animal and those usually only seen in a zoo or on the Discovery Channel.
Ivie Acres Farm, as it is today, officially began in 2013.
“We moved out here, because we loved the idea of the Clark Historic Farm,” said Sherrie Ivie, part owner of Ivie Acres Farm. “They called us to do a nativity there.”
Prior to moving to Grantsville, the Ivie’s owned a small farm in West Valley where they provided farm animals for nativity scenes. They also provided horses for events.
After they moved to Grantsville, they knew they wanted to open up a petting zoo and acquire exotic animals, so they began collecting.
“There was no one around that really had exotics, like you see at the zoo where you could get up close and personal,” Ivie said. “Back east, they have a lot of these types of farms but I am the only one in Utah that does this with the exotics with a mobile petting zoo.”
Ivie Acres Farm provides a traveling petting zoo, brings animals to birthday parties, and services work parties and county fairs.
Each year, the farm provides the baby animals for the Clark Historic Farm’s Baby Animals event around April and May.
“The sky’s the limit for what we can do with the animals now,” Ivie said, speaking about the farm’s progress. “Our main objective is just to go out and do community events.”
The Ivie Acres animals have even been in several Latter-day Saint films.
Along with all of their events and activities, individuals are able to visit the farm to take a tour, pet and hold some of the animals.
Prices to visit the farm vary from $11 to $15.
The farm has camels, kangaroos, foxes, a zebra, an alligator, capybaras, hedgehogs, donkeys, tortoises, kinkajou, a porcupine, and just about any farm animal you can think of.
Each day, the Ivie’s spend over six hours caring for all of their animals and depending on the time of year, it can take even longer.
“There’s so much to do during each season,” Ivie said. “Right now, it’s time to shear sheep. We also have to go through every six weeks and trim the hooves on the sheep and goats. You have the horse shoer coming out every other month to trim hooves. There’s constant deworming, at least three times a year. It’s more than feeding and making sure the animals are healthy. You have a constant rotation on a regular basis of things like the immunizations, skin care, and a lot more.”
They also have to order special food for the exotic animals, which is shipped to the farm on a regular basis.
Just on hay alone, they spend over $30,000 a year.
Other expenses are vet bills and paying their workers.
“Everything costs,” Ivie said. “People think we just make all of this money but it’s expensive and the animals are expensive. It’s not a cheap thing but I don’t think we do it to make money. We do it as a service.”
The animal that takes the least amount of care are the camels, according to Ivie
“They get their winter coat and they peel it off and they take care of themselves,” she said.
The animal that takes the most care is the capybara, the largest living rodent.
“They need water to swim and mate in,” Ivie explained. “It’s hard with the water with the winter weather.”
The winter poses an issue with some of the animals that are used to warmer weather, according to Ivie.
“We have to give them what they need,” she said. “One year you can have a mild winter and think nothing of it and like last winter, it got really cold, so you have to make sure they are in their shelter with a light on.”
Ivie’s favorite animals are the kangaroos. Her husband Steven likes the zebra.
The Ivie’s want to transition to doing more at their own farm in the future, instead of traveling.
“We want people to eventually come here and do their parties,” Ivie said.
Recently, the farm was given a grant from the Tooele County Tourism Fund for $4,500 to install a parking lot at their farm.
The farm is USDA licensed.
“To exhibit exotic animals, you have to have this permit,” Ivie said. “Once we got the permit, it opened up a whole new world for us, as far as what we could do.”
The farm will also be obtaining a nonprofit designation soon, because they are taking care of animals that have been surrendered to them.
To make an appointment for Ivie Acres to service your event or to visit the farm, please call 801-508-0011, visit Utahpettingzoo.com, or email firstname.lastname@example.org