Petting zoos generate revenue and create educational opportunities for both children and adults. Animals such as goats, sheep and alpacas are important ones to consider as they are both kid-friendly and produce viable products. Sheep and goats are particularly kid-friendly and can be raised well together. For sheep, the process of sheering their fur can take up to 30 minutes, which would allow people to view the process. Once done, the fur can be sold or made into clothing.
As for alpacas, the potential to generate money from shearing their wool is high. Alpacas are shorn, without harm, every twelve to eighteen months. Their fiber is sometimes compared to cashmere. The fiber can be woven into yarn and sold for anywhere between $30-40 or sewn into clothing and sold for $70+. Additionally, alpaca manure can be enriching for plants. One acre of land can house six to 10 alpacas.
In addition to the revenue generating portion of the petting zoo, kids and adults alike would have the opportunity to learn animal husbandry and shearing techniques through classes. These classes would help kids see where their clothing is coming from and the importance of understanding the sources of fibers. Other potential activities could include animal feeding or “Goat Yoga”, which has become a popular pastime and photo op.
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