Did you know a baby alpaca is called a cria, and that the animals are closely related to llamas? If you’re a fan of the little crias, it’ll be exciting to know that you’re not very far from the friendly, woolly llama cousins. Meet them, feed them, and fall head-over-heels in love with them at these three alpaca farms near Cincinnati.
WHERE: 2126 State Route 28, Goshen, OH (45122)
DRIVE: A little over half an hour northeast
Owner Anne Owens (say that five times fast) is so passionate about her alpacas, she offers farm tours completely free of charge. You can stop by to share a few carrots with over a dozen of the fuzzy, cuddly creatures, then shop for yarn, blankets, and other ultra-soft alpaca products from the gift shop before you go. The operational hours change seasonally, but you can find Anne at the Loveland, Blue Ash, and Madeira farmers' markets, too.
Oh, and did I mention Alpaca Paradise also provides alpacas for events and professional photoshoots? Whether you need a pair for your wedding (you do) or just a fun engagement, birthday, or anniversary shoot—this unique opportunity will create some spectacular photos to cherish for years to come.
WHERE: 9265 Mt Tabor Road, Aurora, IN (47001)
DRIVE: Less than an hour west
Mt. Tabor Alpaca Farm welcomes visitors to their 90-acre “former Hoosier Homestead” in Aurora, Indiana. Tours showcase their alpacas and a barn that dates back to 1895. Schedule your visit in advance and pay $7 for adults and $4 for kids. The farm also rents out alpacas for special events and photoshoots, too.
Owners Jenny and Tim give back to their community by leading a local club called the Camelid Crew. “We lease our alpacas to the kids in exchange for a certain amount of 'work' hours where they can come and perform chores on the farm in exchange for leasing their alpaca,” Jenny explains. This lets kids from urban neighborhoods gain experience with animals and farming—something they might not have access to otherwise.
WHERE: 7812 East Bend Road, Burlington, KY (41005)
DRIVE: About a half an hour southwest
Eagle Bend Alpaca Farm is a working farm and one of the few full-service yarn stores in Northern Kentucky. The shop sells alpaca yarn, organizes regular knitting and crochet classes, and even hosts ‘open knitting’ where you can pop in with your current project to chat, relax, and maybe even get some work done on the store’s cozy front porch.
Tours are by appointment only and cost $50 for groups of five or less. They cover the history of alpacas, what they eat, the work they do, and much more. You can also pet the alpacas, but Linda, the farm’s owner, makes sure to caution visitors.
“These are not dogs; they’re a herd animal and have their boundaries, too,” she says.