Wanderlight Alpaca Experience: Starter Company Plus Success Story
Nestled in the Lakefield community, the Wanderlight Alpaca Experience brings visitors along a majestic tour of the countryside with the best tour guide you could find – a friendly alpaca! Built on her family’s farm, owner and operator Katie Jackson, has created an experience that allows guests to enjoy the wonderful outdoor landscape that is her family farm, while also allowing for flexibility in her life as a single mom. As a mother of two children, this farmland sanctuary has been her livelihood for over a decade.
“I’ve been farming on this property for ten years. I started with a market garden and community support agriculture (CSA) where families would come once a week to pick up a supply of vegetables,” explains Jackson. “From there I began raising animals, I farmed sheep etc. I love that this place is my home base and where I continue to grow my children’s community roots.” Two years ago, after some transitional time and various agriculture adventures, a friend broached the idea of alpaca tours as a form of agri-tourism. “I did the research and started looking into it and it seemed like I already had a lot of the infrastructure in place. From there I participated in the Starter Company Plus Program, and got the plan in place to invest in some alpacas and get this business off the ground,” says Jackson.
And so the Wanderlight Alpaca Experience was born!
The Wanderlight Alpaca Experience is a private, guided tour through a beautiful set of trails created on the family farm in Lakefield. Guests are able to book private or small group tours on Wanderlight Alpaca’s Facebook, and Instagram page (website to come). The tours are a safe, COVID-19 friendly experience that is perfect for little ones, families, couples or small groups. Many visitors praise the therapeutic experience of getting in touch with nature and learning more about these beautiful creatures.
Katie was born and raised locally to the area and cherishes the beautiful farmland that she calls home. She credits her guests as the primary motivator behind the work she does as an agri-tourism business, highlighting the unique experiences with nature she has witnessed her guests experience. “I am thrilled to be able to share a love of agriculture and a love of nature with people. In a time where there seems to be so much bad news in the world, this place is a little bit of light.”
When asked what her favourite part of the day is, Katie’s answer is simple “the silliness of the alpacas and the joy on people’s faces when they see them”. While alpacas are not generally considered to be an easily trusting animal, they warm up to guests easily. Guests have described the experience with the alpaca tours as “soul-filling”, “magical” and “therapeutic”, with some pint-sized visitors even exclaiming that alpacas are their new favourite animal!
Having only been in operation since September 2020, the Wanderlight Alpaca Experience is committed to providing a fulfilling and safe experience during these uncertain times. Tours on the farm are completely private and entirely outdoors with all supplies, leashes and food containers sanitized in between each group of guests. Katie is proud to offer flexible scheduling so guests can visit the farm safely. All tours follow current COVID-19 precautions and guidelines recommended by health officials.
Katie points to her strong community connection and love of the natural space around us as some of her primary drivers in building the Wanderlight Alpaca Experience. The Wanderlight Alpaca Experience is proud to host community groups and their clients for small group tours, client experiences and community building.
“I am so thankful for the Peterborough community and their unwavering support for all small businesses, especially during this time. I grew up here, and after some time away I realized the uniqueness of this community. I love the dynamics elements of the area, – the mix of natural beauty and arts and culture and fun and music. It’s an area that just has everything.”
The Wanderlight Alpaca Experience is open for bookings into December and the new year. Join Oberon, Q, Cassidy, Briar and all the other alpaca tour guides as you enjoy your very own nature walk through the Wanderlight Alpaca Experience farm. Bookings can be made by contacting Katie and her team on Facebook and Instagram. Keep an eye out for their new website (with online booking coming soon) at https://wanderlightalpaca.ca/.