Acquainted sounds and sights are returning to Licon Dairy in San Elizario.

The laughter of youngsters. The birds chirping within the timber. And the enjoyment of households discovering new additions to the petting zoo since their final visits, in all probability greater than a 12 months in the past.

“We’ve got a one-year-old male kangaroo, Kenny. He is very tiny. We introduced him every week after we opened. He comes from East Texas. There are some enormous farms which have them,” mentioned Angel Licon, a third-generation Licon who owns the Outlaw Saloon & Grill behind the shop.

Licon mentioned the enterprise felt bleak throughout COVID-19, with the zoo closed for a couple of 12 months. He closed his restaurant proper earlier than it might mark its first anniversary. The enterprise continued to provide its well-known asadero cheese merchandise and promote primarily to shops throughout that point.

“It was unnatural to see (the zoo so quiet),” he mentioned. “For us, it was form of miserable. However we took benefit of the time and did work on the zoo. For just a few years, the zoo was wanting form of tough, however I feel throughout the subsequent 5 years, we’re making an attempt to make it extra of an attraction.”

With the vaccine’s availability in opposition to COVID-19 enhancing, the Licon household felt it was time to re-open the zoo just a few weeks in the past. And households have began streaming again in, utilizing their quarters to purchase feed for the animals and assembly the 1-year-old calves of the Watusi cattle, large beings with lengthy and symmetrical horns.

On Thursday, Licon plans to open the restaurant with restricted open hours, Thursday by Sunday.

“We felt just a little snug however are nonetheless imposing face masks and social distancing for the peace of thoughts for patrons and staff,” he mentioned.

The household used GoFundMe funds final 12 months to re-do about half of the animal pens. In January 2019, 10 animals, together with all 5 deer, 4 sheep and a beloved swan that was greater than 20 years outdated, have been attacked and killed by some stray canine.

Licon mentioned the kangaroo is changing the deer they have been initially going to buy to exchange those misplaced.

“We have been capable of tear down the outdated pens and have all these new pens, playgrounds and automated water feeders,” Licon mentioned. “That is the place the deer have been going to, however that is the place we put Kenny.”

The household is beginning to make plans for the remainder of the 12 months. This summer time, they wish to add some bison and deer. They’d additionally wish to construct the zoo across the lake.

“We’re including new pens and a few are empty. We nonetheless have lots of development going,” Licon mentioned.

Licon is worked up about his plans for the restaurant. The out of doors patio with a bar has been added, and he plans to lastly add an outside stage for occasions that includes each native and touring teams.

“Hopefully, by summer time, we’ll have that going with all types of music. We’re engaged on bringing bands from out of city,” he mentioned.

María Cortés González could also be reached at 915-546-6150; mcortes@elpasotimes.com; @EPTMaria on Twitter.

Make plans

What: Licon Dairy

The place: 11951 Glorietta Street, San Elizario,

Particulars: The shop and petting zoo are open. The Outlaw Saloon & Grill, behind the shop, will open Thursday, April 8. Hours will likely be 11 a.m. to eight p.m. Thursday-Friday, 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Saturday, and 11 a.m. to six p.m. Sunday. Closed Monday-Wednesday.

Data: 915-851-2705.

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