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Shell Factory gets three alpacas for Nature Park

December 12, 2018
By CHUCK BALLARO ( , North Fort Myers Neighbor

The Shell Factory & Nature Park will have some new animals calling the legendary attraction home.

Three alpacas were added to its Nature Park and Botanical Trail exhibit last month, and children will have the opportunity to feed and pet these friendly animals.

Karen Schneider, who runs the Nature Park, said they acquired the alpacas from Star Ranch in Alva, which called the Shell Factory to see if they were interested in taking them.

Article Photos

Three alpacas were added to the Shell Factory’s Nature Park.


"They were looking to shut down the ranch and they thought we would be a perfect fit for the alpacas," Schneider said. "They gave us a real good discount to take these alpacas for the petting farm."

The three female alpacas, called hembras, consist of two adults, the mother, Halo and the aunt, and one baby named Irma, who was born as a result of Hurricane Irma. Originating from South America, alpacas are very social and intelligent, and are among the most ancient of the world's domestic animals.

The alpacas are among the new animals brought in to the nature park since Hurricane Irma last year. A few months ago, Wild Florida brought them a serval cat named Princess, which is on display now.

The Nature Park is home to about 400 animals.

"The alpacas are a real fun animal to have in the petting farm. It's something for the kids to see. They have a nice temperament and there's a baby and everyone loves her," Schneider said. "The animals have acclimated very well."

"We are excited about the new exhibit and introducing the alpacas to the community," said Pam Cronin, owner of The Shell Factory & Nature Park in a statement. "In continuing to carry out my late husband, Tom's and my vision, this is one of the many enhancements we are making to provide an overall great experience for our customers."

Through funding from the Nature Park Environmental Education Foundation, a 501(c)3, the Nature Park is able to provide a permanent home, nutritious meals and veterinary care for the animals, reptiles, birds and aquatic inhabitants.

The foundation also funds the transportation for the field trip program with Lee County Schools, allowing classes to visit and enjoy an environmental learning experience.

The Shell Factory is at 2787 N. Tamiami Trail. For more information, call 995-2141 or go online and visit



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