JUPITER FARMS, Fla. — An animal farm in Palm Beach County is helping those with developmental differences and at-risk youth. It's not open to the public but sells memberships to fuel its philanthropic efforts.
If Noah needed to build a modern-day arc, he'd start at Mandalay Farms.
"I grew up in Orlando. I used to dance for Disney World in the electric light parade Cinderella unit," Karin Taylor, who owns Mandalay Farms, said.
Nowadays, Taylor is practically the Snow White of Jupiter Farms.
"My kids hate when I talk about it, but I loved it," admitted Taylor. "I have three passions in life: children, animals and philanthropy."
Her farm lets her combine all three, starting with her college-aged son.
"When I was in seventh grade. It started with just horses and chickens," said Taylor's son Garrett Wiseman.
Emus snub WPTV NewsChannel 5
"We have armadillos, goats, pigs, an owl monkey, bush baby, Patagonian mara, emus, kangaroos, wallabies, two species of armadillos, two species of porcupines, horses, many donkeys, many horses," Taylor listed off the list of animals. "I know we have more ferrets, chinchillas, hairless guinea pigs."
"I came home from school one day and my mom has a wallaby in a big purse with her," laughed Wiseman.
"And then if you have anything over two acres, everyone wants you to rescue an animal so that we ended up with goats. And then someone said, 'Oh my gosh, you need a mini donkey,'" Taylor said. "Well, you can't just have one so I ended up with three."
Wiseman said his friends are curious when they come to visit.
"They are very surprised like, 'Oh my God, you have monkeys and kangaroos. What are these? I've never even seen this one!'" Wiseman said.
The family uses animals to enlighten.
"We use them (Coati) as educational ambassadors, so we can teach children about conservation and education and just really having an appreciation for nature," Taylor said.
Mandalay Farms is not open to the public. But people can buy lavish memberships, which help run the farm and funds their philanthropic efforts for people with developmental differences and at-risk youth.
"Because we're so private, they're literally the only ones here and they can spend time with the chickens or the donkey or whatever they're interested in," Taylor said.
Mandalay Farms Helps People with Developmental Differences
Taylor remembers several profound magical moments for people with challenging lives.
"I mean, there wasn't a dry eye. Everyone was crying. It was such an emotional moment that it just made her see her daughter smile," Taylor said. "It just made her whole day and other parents have talked about their children seem calmer after they leave here."
"All the smiles are just evidence of something right here," Wiseman said supportively.