Happy Rolph’s is now accepting animal care donations

Fans of Happy Rolph’s Animal Farm in St. Catharines can now donate to the park if they wish using a new online support page created by the city.

City works manager Darrell Smith said so many visitors to the park have stopped staff over the years and asked if they could help the animals, that the city is offering people a way to donate.

“We were actually bringing people up to us and saying, ‘Can we contribute? Can we donate? They kept bringing it to our staff, so that’s where it all started,” he said.

Smith said all money raised will go directly to Happy Rolph’s animal care.

The city-owned and operated site at 650 Read Road remains free to visit and opens for the season this Saturday.

Animals from Grey’s Haven Farm Sanctuary, Whispering Hearts Horse Rescue and the Welland and District Humane Society will live on the farm until the fall.

Residents include horses, cows, chickens, turkeys, pigs, llamas, alpacas, and donkeys. The park also includes a farm-themed accessible playground that was fully completed in October, a pavilion, and walking trails.

Dan Cooper, acting director of parks, cemeteries, forestry and horticulture, said Happy Rolph’s overall budget for 2022 is $262,279, including staff salaries and animal care. This includes approximately $10,500 for animal feed.

Smith said the city has no idea how much it might receive in donations and isn’t counting on the extra money to run the park. City staff are already working on next year’s budget and are not including any donation estimates.

“We’ve had enough people approaching us that we’ve put the process in place, but how much it will bring in, no idea,” Smith said.

“If we get donations, great, we’ll dedicate them to animals, but if we don’t, we’ll continue to do so.”

The city does not put a donation box on site because it does not want to put park employees in the position of having to handle cash or empty a till in the remote area.

Instead, people can go to stcatharines.ca/happyrolphsdonation and donate on the town page. Signs will be placed throughout the park to advertise the website.

Other city-owned sites like the Museum of St. Catharines and the Welland Canals Center and Morningstar Mill on DeCew Road do not change admission, but donations are welcome.

Happy Rolph’s will be open seven days a week from dawn to dusk with the animal area open from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. daily until October 19.

Benjamin M. Yerger