People keep hopping to Arlington kangaroo farm (slide show)

ARLINGTON – If you like soft kisses go to the Outback Kangaroo Farm.

No, silly, don’t kiss a kangaroo. Kiss an alpaca.

Michelle Adams, a daughter of farm owner Raymond Strom and a guide, encourages visitors to put a food pellet in their mouth to get a kiss. It tickles. It certainly was a highlight on a recent trip to the farm just past Arlington on Highway 530.

One had to wonder when Strom’s wife Joey died two years ago if he’d want to continue the business, especially since they had thought of selling it the year before because she was burned out.

But Strom told his family, including daughter Angie Richards, who runs the gift shop, “I want to keep going.”

He’s glad he did. Thanks to a change to accept credit cards and also social media “going crazy” sharing information about the place, business is hopping.

“There’s a lot of new people,” he said. “We’ve had more numbers the last couple of years.”

During summer, different types of camps and senior citizen facilities like to go on group tours, and school tours have always been popular.

Strom and Joey lived in Edmonds when they first started collecting exotic pets. Strom wanted to raise ostriches, but Joey fell in love with a joey, which is a baby kangaroo or wallaby.

After they collected too many for their place they moved to the current Arlington farm and sold Christmas trees. Customers enjoyed their pets so much they encouraged them to open the farm up to the public.

“We didn’t plan on the tours,” Strom said. “But so many people wanted to see them.”

As Adams started a tour, she tells the visitors the job’s not glamorous. “You clean up a lotta poop,” she said, adding some of the animals actually poop in the same place all the time even though there aren’t any restrooms.

She asks the visitors not to run or chase the animals. “You’re in their home today. Be gentle,” she said.

She gave particular instructions on how not to act around kangaroos. “Don’t hop like a kangaroo. It freaks them out,” she said.

When petting Lola the Llama she advised to only pet her only from the front. “If you pet her back she’ll spit. She’s the boss,” Adams said.

She then told another bad joke, telling a story that ended with the punch line “Alpaca (I’ll pack a) lunch.”

When talking about 21-year-old Oreo, a mini horse, she said it was given to them. “Don’t know why someone would give a biter to a petting zoo,” she said.

As Oreo kept shaking its head yes when Adams asked questions, she said they are smart animals. She said many mini horses make great service animals visiting hospitals and prisons – just not Oreo.

When visiting emus 1-Eyed Bill and Mark (former called Monica), Adams said once the female lays the egg the male sits on it until it hatches and then raises it.

Strom took over the tour in the visit to the kangaroos. He introduced visitors to Jelly and her offspring Peanut Butter, along with Jackson, who is as tall as Strom when he stands on his hind legs.

The farm shuts down from November through February. What does Strom do?

“Rest,” he said, adding that he’s remarried.

Strom, who also sells kangaroos and wallabies as pets or to zoos, loves the animals.

“They’re soft and furry, endearing,” he said, adding the vibe they give off is a “magical feeling. I can’t imagine being without them. The hardest part is losing one.”

The Basics

40-minute tours: Thursday – Sunday, 10 a.m., noon, 2 p.m., and 4 p.m., Closed Monday through Wednesday.

Animals: Kangaroos, wallabies, wallaroos, tortoises, llamas, lemurs, alpacas, Nigerian dwarf goats, peacocks, mini donkeys, parrots, chickens, dogs and emus.

Cost: Children under 2 free, $11 ages 2-12 and seniors, $13 everyone else. Group rates for parties of 15 or more $9 a person.

More in Life

Marysville Food Bank volunteers unload donated items from the Tulalip Tribes. (Courtesy Photo)
Marysville, Arlington receive food donations from restaurants

The Tulalip Tribes closing their gaming facilities due to the coronavirus has… Continue reading

Briefly

Red Curtain cancels play MARYSVILLE – Red Curtain has canceled its May… Continue reading

Katelyn Leary, Jimena Yanez and Grace Kyser.
Marysville Strawberry Festival court named

MARYSVILLE – Katelyn Leary, Jimena Yanez and Grace Kyser were named senior… Continue reading

Both Students of the Month from MG want to be doctors

Marysville Getchell seniors Divine Grace Bayya and Colton Lindstrand are the March… Continue reading

Hoops for Hope a fun fundraiser for special needs students

MARYSVILLE – We are still working on the story for the Hoops… Continue reading

Selena Tedford and her design for one of the banners. (Courtesy Photo)
AHS students make metal banners for city light poles

ARLINGTON - Students in Arlington High School’s Advanced Manufacturing class are teaming… Continue reading

Maleia Kicking Woman receives a blanket from tribal members Tuesday. (Courtesy Photo)
4 Native American students in Marysville receive awards

MARYSVILLE – Four students won Indigenous Education awards at the quarterly breakfast… Continue reading

8 local students win Arlington Rotary Club awards

ARLINGTON - Eight middle and high school students from the Arlington, Lakewood… Continue reading

Cecily (Karli Reinbold) falls for the dashing Algernon (Kennan Miller) in Oscar Wilde’s “The Importance of Being Earnest.” (Courtesy Photo)
It’s important to be Earnest in Wilde’s Victorian satire

MARYSVILLE – Oscar Wilde’s ”The Importance of Being Earnest: A Trivial Comedy… Continue reading

Bennett, Severn of M-P February Students of the Month

MARYSVILLE – Alexis Bennett and T.J. Severn of Marysville-Pilchuck High School are… Continue reading

Krista Longspaugh
Briefly

MARYSVILLE - Marysville Fire District’s first career woman firefighter will retire Friday… Continue reading

Folks check out the Miracle House for homeless families. (Steve Powell/Staff Photo)
Help for homeless families available in Marysville

MARYSVILLE – About 508 students in the Marysville School District were homeless… Continue reading