- $20 for petting-zoo admission for four with two gemstone-mining experiences ($56 value)
The towering sluice of Miner’s Gulch oversees junior prospectors, each equipped with a discovery bag and sifting tray. The mining team assists prospectors with dunking their baskets to uncover gemstones such as rose quartz, peacock ore, or amethyst root, arrowheads, and fossils like shark’s teeth and dinosaur bones. Each prospector takes all their discoveries home, along with a vibrant piece of Fool’s Gold tucked away in each bag.
A rustic Spanish-style farm in the heart of San Juan Capistrano that's been standing since 1890 promises more creatures than just the area's famous swallows. The picturesque estate is part of Zoomars—an all-ages petting zoo that's USDA-approved for cleanliness and the place where more than 200 animals call home. Residents range from gregarious goats, sweet sheep and potbellied pigs to an exotic emu, humpbacked zebu cows and curious llamas who mingle with visitors for pets and feeding. One of the zoo's most popular areas is the guinea-pig patch, where some of the farm's fuzziest and friendliest creatures reside. Zoomars also features family-friendly attractions ranging from a miniature train and pony rides to the Little Tikes Playground to the rustic Miner's Gulch where panning the water reveals rare treasures like fool's gold and gemstones.
Meet the Owner
Owner Carolyn Franks started down the path to animal care in college when she created her own line of dog toys. She soon moved from New Jersey to California where her passion snowballed: developing a full line of pet products, hosting an animal show for kids, running a chain of exotic bird stores, and even traveling to South America to help save endangered species. In 2005, she used her knowledge to take over the Jones Farm, expanding its pens and transforming its brand to Zoomars Petting Zoo.
Franks is joined by a well-trained staff of zookeepers and wranglers who share her vision for teaching kids about animals through hands-on interactions—and the shepherding of mammals and birds.