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Posted on Mon, Jul 1, 2013 : 2:59 p.m.

Changes coming to Domino's Petting Farm after departure of longtime manager

By Kyle Feldscher

Changes are coming to the Domino’s Petting Farm in Ann Arbor Township after longtime manager Don Strobel left his position last week.

After 16 years, Strobel left his position as manager of the petting farm on Friday. When Strobel left, he took a number of the animals he owned, said John Petz, director of real estate and public affairs at Domino’s Farms.

The petting farm contained more than 250 animals and Petz said Strobel owned many of the non-native farm animals such as yaks. Domino’s Farms is working with Stroble to potentially purchase some of the animals to keep them at the farm, Petz said.

“We are in the process of acquiring a good number of those animals from Don,” Petz said. “Obviously, we are going to continue the petting farm activities.”

The Domino’s Petting Farm has been in operation since 1984 at 3001 Earhart Road. It is a 501(3)c organization and is not subsidized by Domino’s Farms or Domino’s Pizza

Strobel started working at the petting farm in 1997. could not reach him by phone for comment on this story Monday.

In a statement posted on the Domino’s Petting Farm website, Strobel said he was leaving to spend more time with his family.

“The last 16 years have been some of the most rewarding and enjoyable of my life,” he wrote in the statement. “I’ve been fortunate enough to see families bring their children to the farm and then their children grow and bring their children to the farm.”

The major change coming to the petting farm’s operation will be the switch from a year-round model to a seasonal model, Petz said. The farm will close after Labor Day, on Sept. 2.

“We’re going to be moving to a seasonal model from year-round,” Petz said. “That’ll first be implemented by closing after Labor Day and reopening next spring, when we’re going to be hiring an activities coordinator to run a lot of the programs families have typically come to expect.”

Hours will continue to be the same as usual until Sept. 2, Petz said. The farm is open from 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday and 10:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday.

Petz did not have a full inventory of the animals owned by Strobel that were no longer at the petting farm as of Monday. He said Strobel’s animals included yaks and pot-bellied pigs, which Domino’s Farms is looking to purchase from him. Many of the goats, sheep and other traditional Midwest farm animals are owned by the petting farm and are still there.

Rumors that most of the animals were taken from the petting zoo were simply not true, Petz said.

“He (Strobel) didn’t load his pickup truck and take the animals with him,” Petz said with a laugh.

Petz said the organization will miss Strobel’s in-depth knowledge of the petting farm and the rare breeds of animals he allowed visitors to interact with.

“He was very dedicated, he put all of his effort and time into this during the past 16 years,” he said, adding, “We wish Don success in the new roles he’s going to be pursuing.”

Kyle Feldscher covers cops and courts for He can be reached at or you can follow him on Twitter.



Wed, Jul 3, 2013 : 3:45 p.m.

We enjoyed taking our daughter there YEAR ROUND -- it's a great place for little kids! It's safe, it was always clean, and the people were ALWAYS nice! We were members & we enjoyed the Easter Egg Hunt every year just for the members & families. Many great memory's for our now 6 yr. old daughter. Now, they will only be open in the summer?! What about the fall hay rides?! We enjoyed each season at this farm and it was close by. Get him back. It WORKED with him, and it was open year round. Our membership for the year was 75.00 --- if you pulled it up to 85.00 a year would that bring him back, and keep this place open? You might be surprised on how many would pay it, to keep it as it is.


Wed, Jul 3, 2013 : 12:33 a.m.

I was out there on saturday and the Galloway cows and longhorns were covered with flys, poor things looked so miserable.


Tue, Jul 2, 2013 : 12:07 p.m.

Pet 'em and Eat 'em is all the rage in Boulder!


Tue, Jul 2, 2013 : 7:36 a.m.

Sounds like they are going to cheapen it. It won't be open year around and they will have an "activities coordinator" rather than Mr. Strobel. There are a lot of warm days after Labor Day that the zoo could be open. I wonder if Mr. Strobel got the bum's rush in an effort to cut costs.


Tue, Jul 2, 2013 : 3:44 a.m.

Change #1: Extend the hours and don't close in September...


Tue, Jul 2, 2013 : 2:56 a.m.

Our family has loved visiting Domino's Farms over the years. The staff have always been friendly, and helped us hold and pet the animals. We visited this weekend and the baby goats running around were absolutely adorable. We were worried because *all* of the cows and calves were gone. Here's hoping the baby goats stay, and some cows come back....


Tue, Jul 2, 2013 : 2:30 a.m.

Well whatever happened can only be for the best. The prices at the farm were crazy high. I won't be going back, especially after reading this, if a bunch of the animals are missing. Like I said, it was already pricey enough.

Ypsi-Arbor Girl

Wed, Jul 3, 2013 : 4:14 a.m.

Action Jackson: last time I was there it was $7.00 for adults and $5.50 for kids. But that was awhile ago.


Tue, Jul 2, 2013 : 12:11 p.m.

Dave, Seriously I have never been out there. How much is it to go in to the petting zoo?


Mon, Jul 1, 2013 : 11:58 p.m.

I can't remember the last time I was out there. Maybe I took DD to this during an easter fest? But nope, we did not return year after year. Just once and done. Good luck to the retirement.


Mon, Jul 1, 2013 : 9:12 p.m.

Don was a great guy who knew what he was doing, with both the farm and the public. I, too, worry about what really happened to prompt Don's exit. It definitely sounds like a Paul Harvey "Rest of the Story" thing. "Spending more time with the family" in final statements often times is PR speak to distract from shenanigans on one side or the other. Whatever happened, I'd like to thank Don for his years and wisdom at the farm and wish him luck in what the future holds for him.

Kyle Feldscher

Mon, Jul 1, 2013 : 8:02 p.m.

I just want to call attention to Melanie's photo of Ian Brown and the goat. I honestly melted when I saw that photo, great work Mel!


Mon, Jul 1, 2013 : 8:01 p.m.

I hope they make it better and more fun. Kind of like a very average farm. Comon Domino's, spend some money and make it a bigger farm, with more animals and interactions with kids. Until they spruce it up and make it worthwhile, I won't be going back. Too expensive.


Tue, Jul 2, 2013 : 5:14 a.m.

Townspeak, how much is expensive? I have never gone out there.


Tue, Jul 2, 2013 : 12:08 a.m.

Except it clearly states in the article it's not funded by Domino's. So...yeah.


Mon, Jul 1, 2013 : 7:49 p.m.

Don invested so much in the Petting Farm over the past sixteen years. The farm won't be the same without him! I was lucky enough to volunteer at the farm for many years, and got to know him and the staff well. I hope the remaining leadership chooses to value and invest in this community resource. Don, thank you fo all you gave to the Farm, and to Ann Arbor!


Mon, Jul 1, 2013 : 7:26 p.m.

Why do I get the feeling this is only part of the story? If the departure were truly amicable, it seems like a plan would have been in place to maintain the animals that the petting zoo wanted before he left. Seems kind of stressful on whatever animals he did take with him to be relocated twice.

Bertha Venation

Tue, Jul 2, 2013 : 4:26 p.m.

I was thinking the same thing... i.e., "Leave... and take your Yak with you." Not very nice.


Mon, Jul 1, 2013 : 7:25 p.m.

circular logic and too much PR gobbledygook that begs the question: what really happened? 'cause this article, clearly written more by the PR guy then anyone else doesn't make sense.