The Alpaca Hacienda, Temecula

They were very cute and fuzzy.  They have the strangest feet and no top front teeth.  The Alpaca Hacienda offers a meet-and-greet program with over twenty of these South American relatives of the camel.  (They are much smaller and infinitely cuter than camels!).  A visit is $12 and includes a brief introduction to the Hacienda and the alpacas.  Then, you can go into the pen and feed them.  They are pleasant creatures - not so tall as to be intimidating.  They were eager to be fed, but not overly pushy.  They didn't try to eat your clothes, like some animals.  (looking at you, goats!).  The children in our group were completely delighted!

Alpacas are very interesting animals.  They have bottom front incisors, but on top is just a hard palate.  It gives them an odd underbite look, like they might benefit from a trip to an orthodontist.  They have soft two-toed feet, but with a pronounced nail on each toe, so it looks almost hoof-like.  They enjoy sitting on the ground and they neatly fold their legs under themselves.  This suggests that they have been domesticated for a long time or they don't have many natural predators.  Alpacas are an entirely domesticated species.  Their wild relatives are the vicuna.  They are also related to the much larger llama.

There was a woman demonstrating spinning with alpaca yarn.  They are sheared once a year.  The colors were beautiful and they come in twenty natural colors.  Some individuals are multi-colored with blonde, gray, medium brown and dark brown.

There is a small boutique with alpaca fur items.  We bought socks and dryer balls.

After the visit, we drove to the vineyards area of Temecula, about 10 minutes away.  We had lunch at Ponte Vinyard Inn.  It is so pretty, I want to come back for an overnight stay.


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