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Story of starting the first Petting Zoo and Farm Museum in Nepal: Tiger Lily Petting Farm and Museum

After studying and working manufacturing of biomedical equipment in the USA for about 21 years, Rajendra Upreti decided to return back to Nepal five years ago with a hope of pursuing his career in biomedical field here itself. He returned back leaving the respected and handsomely paying job.

Unfortunately, he did not get approval to work in that field in Nepal. “There is no system of making machines for cardiovascular diseases in Nepal. We always import machines from foreign countries,” he shared with sadness.

During his staye in America, his children were fond of visiting zoos. So, he came up with the business idea of establishing a mini zoo with a museum where the present generation would be made aware about traditional farming methods and importance of agriculture.

Petting farm and museum was a totally new concept in the case of Nepal. So, he conducted research going to more than 200 schools inside the valley, and after finding such a place necessary for Kathmandu kids, he thought of executing the idea.

Finally, the mini-zoo and museum opened its doors in February 2016. Spread over 10 ropanis of land, the petting zoo and museum was started with an initial investment of around 1 crore rupees.

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What is the zoo all about?

Children learn by observing rather than merely being in their classrooms.

Tiger Lily is simply a petting zoo for school age kids and family, which is designed to give a one on one learning experience to city raised kids and adults about farm land role of farmer, seed, old country tools, machines and domestic animals.

When the children first visit farm, they are shown the new born babies of animals which are kept in the middle of the playground in the big bucket. The children are made to touch them and are orally explained about methods of breeding and how farm takes care of them.

The farm teaches children about the traditional village lifestyle. The ambiance and the environment show the traditional country life.

It teaches the school-children where the foods and meats, butter, milk, eggs, we consume come from.

The place often gets flooded by the visit of school children.

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Trip around the farm

Children are first taken to Seed Bank where they are taught about the different kinds of seeds found in Nepal. They are orally explained about importance of agriculture. Then, they go to measurements section where they are taught about different traditional and modern measurement tools.

They are made to play games of Janto, Dhikki, Manapathi, Theki Madani, Halo Juwa, etc. Children also are taught to use archery and arrows. Children are practically taught to use dry animal dung fuel.

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The museum visit ends after practically showing how hydroelectricity can be generated from water.

Children are then taken to scarecrow. They are told stories of traditional farming and are made to feed chokers to horse. Children also feed grasses to horse and enjoy horse riding. And petting farm trip starts from bee farming portion. Different species of domestic animals such as turtles, local hens, cows, horse, turkeys, sheep, rabbits, white mouse, hamsters, dogs, ducks, and so on are shown. Children are taken to tracker ride around the field of farm. Similarly, small kids enjoy mini gulf, sand play, haze play, etc.

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Our mission is to inspire everyone to do some kind of farming and farm animals awareness. While most of the discussions in the pet world center around dogs and cats or maybe bunnies and gold fish. There are other animals that love to be scratched and petted just as much from lamb, goats, cows, chickens, turkey, ducks and horses, they need care and attention too. As we can see there’s a lot to learn about all different types of farm animals and a lot to get to know them better. – Upreti

“We commit to creating experiences that invite people to learn through play, evoke emotions of wonder and joy,” shares Upreti.

The zoo has received wonderful feedbacks from its visitors, as the key thing in business is customer satisfaction. It is the customer satisfaction that has made farm enjoyable place for children.

“Till now, I have always closely monitored the service of our farm. We make sure that the foods that are cooked in kitchen of farm do not contain chemicals materials. Everything that is served in our canteen comes directly from the farm,” shares Upreti.

Future plans

I had started it as a project where we went to different schools for the opening mini zoo. After getting a fantastic response in the research process, we decided with the launching of mini zoo. After more than 6 months of endless effort mini zoo was finally prepared. The journey to this position has not been that smooth. Started from a very rare visit of school children, now more than 300 schools’ children have been here for field trip. Our homely made pizzas have become one of the popular foods of the farm. Similarly, tractor ride, mini gulf play has become popular among small kids. I can positively expect Tiger Lilly part 2 within 5 years. – Upreti

He wants to add varieties of other features in the near future and make the zoo a must visit place for school children.

Upreti wants to develop the Tiger Lily Petting Farm as a must-visit excursion place in Kathmandu for school kids.

To aspiring entrepreneurs:

To be one of the best entrepreneurs, you need to imagine, have big vision and idea. We should never be a frog inside the lake. We should travel around and explore more. The one thing that made me this dedicated is because I learned that the cells of our body get old and die if it does not come into operation. If we play ideas in our mind, we become more young and energetic. It’s us who we make our self not the surrounding. – Upreti
Do you also want to take your school-kids in an excursion to such a place? Do you want to see light of joy and excitement in their face? Don’t miss taking them to the Tiger Lily and Petting Farm. The mini zoo and museum is open 7 days a week (10 AM-6:30 PM).

Admission fee: Rs. 300

For further details, visit https://www.facebook.com/Tigerlilypettingfarm/ or www.pettingfarmnepal.com

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Startups for a better Nepal!

Photographs: Tiger Lily Petting Farm

Presentation: Batsala Rajdhami