Arts & Culture Community Maplewood

PHOTOS: Maplewood Rec Hosts a Heartthrob — Alfalfa the Alpaca — for Valentine’s Day

From the Maplewood Department of Recreation and Cultural Affairs:

Some people go out to dinner on Valentine’s Day. Others prefer a quiet evening home. The Maplewood Recreation Department chose a mid-day date with an alpaca for the Maplewood Senior Center guests. You read that correctly – Maplewood Recreation hosted the first of their “creature comfort” series on February 14 at the Maplewood Senior Center, featuring the very dapper Alfalfa the Alpaca.

The morning kicked off with a Senior Club Meeting and healthy breakfast bar, and by 11 a.m. anticipation grew, and sooner than later an alpaca came to share the rest of the morning with the group. Alfalfa took one look at our friendly seniors and knew he spent his Valentine’s Day in the right place. His handler Jacqueline spoke to everyone about the therapeutic effect of petting and caring for animals, and anyone interested got to pet the ultra-soft coat and offer a snack to the alpaca. Everyone learned a lot about both therapy animals and alpacas in general.  After the presentation was over, the floor was open for questions and they flooded in. Everyone needed to know more about Alfalfa, and we learned they originate in Peru and their teeth never stop growing so they see a dentist, amongst other fun facts.

Missi Mancusa, Maplewood Department of Recreation, and Mayor Vic DeLuca

Mayor Vic DeLuca then took the reins and did a Valentine’s Day promenade of sorts as Alfalfa strutted through the senior center, posing for pictures and getting many snacks and pets. Overall, it made for a lot of smiles and the title “creature comforts” rang true for the opener of the series.

If you missed the fun, plan ahead and reserve a space for our next session on March 5 at 11 a.m. where we focus on dogs, and meet therapy pooches and learn how they help heal humans of all ages. Stay for lunch and a movie: we are showing “Must Love Dogs” starring Diane Lane and John Cusack.

This is a FREE event, but you must reserve a space so we know to expect you. Call us at 973.763.0750 or register online at

You May Also Like

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *