Early in the year, my mother mentioned she had always wanted to see alpacas.  I filed that away in my memory for a gift idea. When Mother’s Day rolled around, I wrote in her card that her gift would be an outing to an alpaca farm. “How did you know I wanted to see alpacas?” she asked.

Here in Geauga County, there seems to be an alpaca farm (or two or three) on every main road. How hard would it be to set up an appointment for a tour? I chose a date in July to visit a farm and after I drove past what looked like a promising place, I searched their website. “Call ahead and we will be happy to show you around,” it said. I called and left a message. The next day I called and left another message.  Things weren’t looking too good. So for back up, I looked for a farm a little further out. “We invite you to plan a visit,” said their website. I called and the number was disconnected. There was no answer at two other farms. When a lady answered at the fifth farm, I was so excited! A real live person! “You can come the third weekend in September for our open house,” she informed me. Another lady hemmed and hawed, then hesitantly told me I could come by (“even though there isn’t much to see,” she explained), but when I told her the day I wanted to visit, she said, “Nope. That’s a bad day for us.” Similarly disappointing results came from a few other phone calls.

I was lamenting my problem to my co-workers at the Bainbridge Library, and it seemed the places they knew about I had already tried. Then someone said, “What about Lake Farm Park?” (Aren’t librarians a wealth of knowledge?) Their website advertised alpacas among all the other animals. I called the park and after the lady put me on hold for a few minutes, she did confirm they had alpacas.

We not only saw alpacas, we also saw sheep, cows, and pigs. It was a fine day, taking my mother down memory lane (she grew up on a farm), even if it wasn’t exactly as I had planned.

I think we’d still like to see a working alpaca farm. If anyone knows of a place that is open to the public and gives short tours, I would love to know about it!

Have kids interested in alpacas? Check out Alpacas by Michelle Hasselius
Interested in keeping alpacas? Check out Alpaca Keeping
by Harry Fields

Gail Ruester is a circulation clerk at the Bainbridge Branch. She is currently reading The Summer Before the War by Helen Simonson.
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