Get Up Close and Personal with Alpacas at Open Ranch Day
Is it a llama? Is it a camel? Is it a mountain goat? What exactly is that furry little guy? Get the answers to these questions and more at the Alpaca Hacienda Open Ranch Day this Saturday in Temecula.
“An alpaca is a herd animal, native to South America, and they are small camels, in fact,” Beth Osborne, co-owner of the Alpaca Hacienda said during a recent interview. “They are close relatives to the wild vicuna and prized for their soft fleece, which is shorn once per year. They are curious animals, but shy and somewhat aloof and each has their own personality. They keep me laughing all the time.”
This Saturday is National Alpaca Farms Day and Osborne and her staff will be opening their doors to share their knowledge about the unusual animal.
“Many people don’t know what alpacas are, so it’s our opportunity to share these wonderful creatures and why we raise them,” she said.
Much like sheep, Alpaca fleece is just as useful as it is soft and fuzzy.
“Not only are alpacas hardy and easy to raise, but they produce the most wonderful fleece you can imagine,” Osborne said. “It’s an exquisite fiber, much like cashmere, but warmer and lighter and comes in 22 natural shades. Once you’ve worn a garment made with alpaca, you’ll never go back to wool.”
From 10:00 am to 4:00 pm, visitors to the Alpaca Hacienda can feed the animals, take pictures with them, and learn about their lifestyle and care. Children will also have the chance to do an arts and crafts project with real alpaca fleece.
In addition to the interactive and fun elements, Open Ranch Day will also be an educational opportunity for the whole family.
“We will be hosting mini seminars throughout the day on how we spin alpaca fiber into yarn as well as how alpaca fiber is felted into cloth-like fabric,” Osborne said. “We will also host a short seminar called, ‘So, What’s An Alpaca?’ where we’ll talk about where these animals come from, how we care for them and some of the quirky things they do. If you’ve ever wanted to know what orgling is, come on out to the ranch and find out.”
Items made of alpaca fleece, including scarves, gloves, hats, socks and stuffed animals will be available to purchase, for those looking to take a part of Alpaca Hacienda’s Open Ranch Day home with them.
After a full afternoon of Alpaca fun, the little camels will no longer be a mystery.
“We love to share our alpacas with our community and to teach people not only about our alpacas and their history and care, but about the wonderful things that can be done with their fleece,” Osborne said. “We look forward to meeting you and your family and friends and introducing you to our alpacas. We hope we see you at the ranch!”