Check out some the many ways to celebrate World Animal Day across Illinois.
Namaste the day away with a with a herd of friendly female alpacas in Southern Illinois. After the class wraps up, tour the alpaca farm and browse the gift shop that features products like hats, socks and scarves made with alpaca fiber. Weekly sessions every Wednesday through end of October. Classes are $15.
On October 19th, Rolling Oak Alpaca Farm will also offer an “Afternoon Alpaca Painting” class where visitors can paint the roaming alpaca that surround them on the farm. Cost for the class is $45.
Experience the pure joy of frolicking goats while walking through native prairie and forest as the kids (baby goats) follow along and play. Hoof It Goat Treks offers an evening walk, bottle feeding of the kids (when applicable), and a bonfire under the stars. S’mores provided. Pizza delivery can be ordered, or pack a cooler and utilize the on-site grill. Goats and some humans don’t like walking in the rain or poor weather. If weather prohibits trekking, the large covered porch offers a fun place to play and interact with the goats.
Du Quoin's W Restaurant puts the "neigh" in neighborhood favorite. The ranch setting reflects the owners passion for horses. If you are lucky you may see horseback riding, team roping, barrel racing or riders while the outdoor fire pit flickers through the windows as you enjoy your dinner.
Wildlife Prairie Park is only home to animals who are native to the Midwest region. They can be found along its 1.5 mile trail that takes visitors all through the woods to see these creatures in their natural environment. Animals that can be spotted include: Bison, Elk, Cougars, Black Bears, Fox, Bobcats, Crane, Eagles, Otters, Owls, Snakes, Turtles, domesticated farm animals, and much more! Wildlife Prairie Park is adding 7 new log cabins to be completed by end of 2019 – all able to accommodate various group sizes such as multi-family stays, wedding parties and larger groups.
You can meet a sea otter and/or a penguin at the Shedd Aquarium. Get up-close and personal with Shedd’s sea otter program and assist a playful training session alongside Shedd’s animal trainers. Opportunities in this participatory experience include handing the otter a favorite fish treat, feeling their dense fur and even touching a paw, all while safely behind an acrylic partition. Cost is $130 for adults and $115 for children.
You can also meet a Magellanic penguin as it moves around the room, perching on the trainer's lap, exploring, preening, playing with toys and gulping fish. You'll learn about the bird's personal history as well as penguin anatomy. With the trainer's guidance, you'll have a chance to touch the bird's dense, waterproof feathers. And you'll learn about their penguin conservation work in South Africa with the Magellanics' close relatives, African penguins. Cost is $95 for adults, $80 for children.
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