HorsePower for Kids is a nonprofit organization that provides a safe and family-friendly petting zoo for people of all ages to enjoy. Not only is the farm family-friendly, but it also provides educational opportunities for children and adults to interact and care for the animals. Many of the animals at the farm have been rescued from a variety of situations, but according to Founder Armando Gort, the animals now have their forever home.
Gort established HorsePower for Kids in 1994, realizing his dream since his childhood while living in Cuba. Since then, he has been welcoming families from all over the world to the 13.5-acre farm in Tampa to learn, enjoy and have fun.
Each year, HorsePower for Kids hosts its annual fall festival, where families can come and enjoy the day for a good cause. The festival takes place every Saturday and Sunday in October from 11 a.m.-5 p.m.
“Our farm comes alive with pony rides, petting zoo, hayrides, train rides, bounce houses, live music, vendors and a pumpkin patch,” said Gort. “I would have to say the unicorn pony is very popular too.”
Some of the animals visitors can expect to see include horses, ponies, a cow, sloths, a llama, a zorse (the offspring of a zebra stallion and a horse mare), a camel, a wolfdog, a fox, deer, lemurs, pigs, rabbits, goats, guinea pigs, ferrets, sheep, donkeys, reptiles, birds and more.
“It brings us lots of joy as we watch people (especially children) interact with the animals and the smiles that it brings to their faces,” said Gort.
The fall festival raises nearly $70,000, which helps pays the yearly bills needed to maintain the farm, including animal feed, care, vet fees, liability insurance, taxes and more.
“We are in need of volunteers for our fall festival,” said Gort. “Volunteers are the backbone of HorsePower for Kids.”
The cost of the fall festival is $12 per person (babies under 12 months are free) and includes all the farm activities. The food vendors and pumpkin purchases are not included with the entrance fee. The event is also alcohol-free and wheelchair accessible. No reservations are needed; however, the gate will close when at capacity. Financial scholarships are available to families who need assistance. The financial application can be found on the website along with the volunteer application.
The fall festival typically sees 1,000-1,500 people each day. For the remainder of the year, the farm is open to visitors and events, including birthday parties, corporate events and weddings, field trips, horseback riding and children camps.
HorsePower for Kids is located at 8005 Racetrack Rd. in Tampa. For more information, call 855-8992 or visit www.horsepowerforkids.com.