Shear Perfection

Off 16842 Metro Ave. in Bonner Springs, Kan., Manna Meadows is home to 50 alpacas which offers alpaca wool goods and tours allowing visitors to pet and meet the animals.

Manna Meadows farm is off of 16842 Metro Ave. in Bonner Springs, Kan., and is home to 50 alpacas. Visitors can take a tour of the farm as well as meet and pet the alpacas. Alpacas have three stomachs they use to digest food.

Ethan Knauth, Online Copy Editor

Imagine being given an hour or two alone with alpacas. A thick coat of wool covers their bodies, in which you can just sink your face into. They’re curious. They come and nudge up to you, trying to figure out what you’re all about. You pet them, letting your hand sink down into their warm, soft wool. You watch them, marveling at the sight of being able to be so up close and personal. Just when you think you’re in the animal’s good graces, the alpaca does the unthinkable
and produces a mouthful of spit, promptly covering you head-to-toe.

Not these alpacas though. Against contrary belief, alpacas are friendly, often shy animals, which only spit when provoked. This common misconception people associate with the South American native is often confused with the llama, a close relative of the alpaca, but with many noticeable differences. The first difference being the aggression level of the two animals as well as their sizes, where llamas are more aggressive and are double the size of the alpaca.

Off the beaten path, Manna Meadows includes at least a 10 minute drive on the back roads of Kansas, no matter the direction one comes from. Once inside, the land is laid out like a picturesque farm with tours starting at a rustic farmhouse.

Tours start at around five dollars a person, a favorable price for high school students. As advised by Sharon Heimes, owner and tour guide, the summer to fall months are favorable for tours because the alpacas are sheared in April.

Guests usually spend one to one and a half hours at Manna Meadows, where they can meet and pet alpacas while also having the perfect location for taking lots of fun selfies. While on the meet-and-greet, visitors get their own personal Discovery Channel walk-through featuring all there is to know about alpacas, leaving the farm as an alpaca expert. After the tour, they’re introduced to the on-site store of alpaca wool goods, given the chance to see all that alpaca wool can be used for. These goods include shirts, socks, yarn and even soap. Don’t fret though, as mentioned earlier, Manna Meadows is a no-kill farm and shears their alpacas in order produce wool materials.

Although the drive is around 40 minutes from Overland Park, touring Manna Meadows is a life-changing experience. Being
at the Manna Meadows farm can conjure up similar happy childhood memories of petting the goats at Deanna Rose or taking a trip to the Overland Park Arboretum. By visiting this farm, guests can rekindle some of that child-like curiosity of playing with animals like these gentle alpacas. Not only are they just like us in their nature of curiosity, they also love a good back rub.