FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) – The Hooley family ponies that gave children rides at the Fort Wayne Children’s Zoo for decades have a new home for the summer.
WANE 15 learned they’ll offer pony rides at the YLNI Farmers Market in downtown Fort Wayne. The rides will be right in front of the History Center, located at the corner of Berry and Barr Streets.
The first Farmers Market for the summer is May 6. Exact dates for when the pony rides will be at the market are still being finalized, but the plan is to be there at least two Saturdays a month. Ponies Jimmy, Falcon, Cindy and all the fan-favorites will be there.
In October 2021, the zoo said the pony rides, which had been at the zoo for 40 years, would not be back for the 2022 season.
The zoo cited construction access for the new Red Panda exhibit as the reason and would not clarify if the ponies would be back in the future.
Despite community efforts to petition for the pony rides to come back, in November 2022, the zoo said the pony rides would not return.
Since leaving the zoo, the pony rides have gone a few different places including Blackstone Ranch for a winter season and the Johnny Appleseed Festival last fall.
The Hooley family also does a summer horse camp at their farm. Two of the four sessions this summer are already full.
In a statement the Hooley family said, “The Hooley family has been honored to serve the Fort Wayne community for over 40 years. We are delighted to be partnering with the YLNI Farmers Market on Barr Street to continue connecting kids with animals and strengthening families!”