By Skylerr Patterson
Staff writer 

Trippin' Again: Camels, kangaroos, and lemurs, oh my!


Last updated 5/15/2021 at 5:30pm

Skylerr Patterson

Tammy Raines, with her albino wallaby, said Little Eden's started with just a few exotic animals. The farm has grown since 2016 to include an ostrich, lemurs and more.

Editor's note: As we begin to see COVID-19 in our rear-view mirrors, travelers are cautiously returning to the roads. This series offers destination options for eastern New Mexico-area residents looking to get away for a few days.

HARROLD, Texas - Right off U.S. 287, in a family's back yard, animals big and small roam about. Little Eden Farm & Exotics offers personal wildlife experiences for people of all ages.

Little Eden's is a small farm near Vernon, Texas, owned and operated by Tammy and Mitch Raines. The couple started the farm with a simple love of animals, and had no intention of turning it into something bigger.

"I've always had a love for animals," Tammy Raines said. "We went to Springtown, Texas, to buy peacocks, and the guy had ringtail lemurs, and I kept on him until he let me buy a couple of them. So, we started out with the lemurs. Then a couple years later I got a kangaroo."

... And it grew from there.

Visitors would often leave donations and food, as well as encouraged the couple to pursue a bigger vision. In 2016, the Raines decided to make something more of their little farm. Today it's home to more than 100 animals - kangaroos, lemurs, peacocks, antelope, a camel, South American coati, tortoises, pigs, and many more.

"I like being able to share the animals with people because you cannot go to the zoo and have a one-on-one experience with the animals. We are close and personal," Tammy Raines said.

Where is it:

Little Eden Farm & Exotics is about 260 miles east of Clovis, right off U.S. 287 in Harrold, Texas.

Hours and admissions:

You have to make reservations in advance. Admission fees, which go to caring for the animals, average between $8 and $15 per person. Call 940-733-5250 to plan your visit and receive more information.

How does it work:

Little Eden's offers private tours, unguided tours and birthday parties a little different from most. The private tours include opportunities to bottle feed any babies that might be roaming around.

Little Eden's also hosts Vacation Bible Schools, church camps, and active members of retirement homes.

Meet the baby:

On April 15, Little Eden's welcomed its newest family member. Lasgaire is a Scottish Highlander calf who is being bottle fed. He spent his first night inside the Raines' home so they could keep him warm from the rain.

Fan favorites:

Many visitors enjoy hanging out with the lemurs the most, Tammy Raines said. The lemurs enjoy giving kisses and even climbing up on people's shoulders.

But Tammy Raines said the kangaroos are her favorite.

"They're just more calm and I started out with them," she said. "They say the difference between a kangaroo and a ringtail lemur is that a kangaroo is like an old lady; the ringtail lemur is a teenager that never grows up."

The hardest part:

"A lot of people say, 'Oh you're living the dream life,'" Tammy Raines said. "... Behind the scenes, you know, it can get very overwhelming at times where you have quite a few animals.

"The hardest part is (when) you lose them - and it does happen - but you have to keep going because you have so many others."

More information:

Check them out on Facebook - Little Eden Farm & Exotics.


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