Ambling With Alpacas

Not to be hipster here, but my sister was in love with llamas and alpacas long before they were plastered on, oh, everything, so a few years back I bought her a llama walk, and for my birthday she returned the favour and gifted me an alpaca walk experience.

a girl with auburn hair holds a dark brown alpaca on a lead

The alpacas live in the children's zoo at Walton Hall and Gardens in Warrington, Cheshire, and from the moment we arrived we were taken aback by how lovely a setting it is. The children's playground is immaculate, with varied and inclusive equipment, and the zoo is home to all kinds of animals, many of them rescues.

stroking a brown and white goat
left: a male peacock sits on the roof, right: a black and white rabbit in his hutch
3 alpacas in their stable

The animals we were there to see were Topaz, Jim, and Malbec, a trio of adorable alpacas. With temperatures in the 30s lately, I was worried that it would be too hot for them to walk, but we soon saw that they had been sheared and even given paddling pools to chill out. They're only taken out a maximum of 3 times a week, and always at quiet times to keep it as fun for them as it is for the visitors. We gave them leaves as a peace offering, slipped their harnesses on, and set out with keeper, Peter, alongside us.

Peter was really friendly and laidback, telling us all about the alpacas and their friends, the grounds, and the hall itself. It was given to the people of Warrington to enjoy and it totally fulfils its purpose. Not only is the hall a stunning wedding venue (and alpaca photo backdrop), there are formal gardens, crazy golf, and a huge pond filled with turtles and koi carp. It's a shame I don't live closer because it's such a relaxing, well kept place to visit.

The alpacas were so fun to walk, as they generally stayed calm and gentle but showed us their personalities as they grew used to us. Jim, the multicolour one, was the cheekiest of the trio and even had a quick bite of the flowers on my sleeves! They certainly enjoyed seeing the sights and nibbling at everything in reach, treating their walk as one big buffet. They loved throwing themselves into bushes to scratch their backs, and quite a few dog owners and visitors loved spotting us strolling down the paths.

Both of us loved the experience, and it's definitely one we won't forget in a hurry.

What would you name an alpaca?



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