Church hosts drive-through Noah’s Ark for Madison kids
MADISON – The summer break from school kicked off last week, but many of the usual camps and VBS programs area children normally transition into are either on hold or canceled this year. Families with kids who have been at home since the middle of March can easily get frustrated with the current need to limit group activities.
Pastors Mike and Janah Williams at New Life Chapel in Madison can relate. With three children, ages 5-10, they understand the need for parents to find something fun for their kids to enjoy while observing social distancing guidelines.
On Sunday evening, the church’s middle school youth group, the Way Walkers, hosted a drive-through Noah’s Ark petting zoo. The event was held to give children in the Madison area a fun way to experience and learn about some of God’s creations while maintaining social distancing.
Families, who stayed in their cars, could drive through the attraction while volunteers from the church displayed animals ranging from alpacas, ponies, sheep, goats, rabbits, parakeets, and a very sweet Irish Wolfhound dog. There were even a few ferocious critters, like a stuffed animal crocodile, tiger and rubber snakes.
“With COVID-19 things have changed so much,” said Pastor Mike Williams. “We wanted to do something out in the community to give the kids something to get excited about and families something to do together.”
Williams said the youth group made posters and signs for each group of animals explaining what they were and interesting facts about them.
“Our leadership team came up with the idea, which I thought was an idea community outreach opportunity for us, and something fun for families to enjoy,” said Williams. “Our youth does a lot of ministry outreach and this was their first big event this summer.”
Sherrie Bull who leads the middle school group hosted the event at her house, which has a turn-around driveway that is perfect for cars driving through the exhibit. “We had a lot of fun and the kids thoroughly enjoyed themselves,” she said.
Youth members were positioned at various stations along the drive while cars slowly made their way through the exhibit, stopping briefly for their children to reach out and have a chance to pet one of the animals.
The church partnered with Shady Acres Farm in Arab, who donated many of the animals for the event. Photographer Melanie Kolowski was on hand donating her services to capture the special moment.
“We had various birds on exhibit from a family in the church,” Williams said. “They raise birds and have them from all over the country and world.”
The many smiles and bright eyes from children as they passed through the Noah’s Ark exhibit testified to the success of the event.
“A lot of people on the way out told me they loved it and asked me about the church too,” Williams said. “It was a cool thing the team put together and we hope to do it again sometime soon.”
New Life Chapel meets every Sunday morning at Rainbow Elementary in Madison. For more information, go to their Facebook page @newlifechapelmadison.
For more photos from the event, click here.