By Don Lowe

There always seems to be so much to see and do when visiting the Zena Suri Alpacas ranch in Northeastern Oklahoma. 

Over the past several months, there has been more excitement than ever for visitors as they get the thrill of interacting with a couple of youthful alpacas known as crias when they are born, with their lineage traced to the Andes Mountains in South America. 

“There are two relatively new babies,” says Tom Callan, who is co-owner of the facility with his wife, Kathleen. “A little boy, his name is Luke Harold, was born on September 14, 2023. He needed someone to play with during the daytime. So, in February (2024), we purchased another alpaca, his name is Patriot Sky. He was born last July 4, 2023.” 

It’s vital for the youngsters to be together and Tom assures, “These are herd animals, and they need another alpaca to be with them or they will die. They can’t be isolated.” 

Along with the new youngsters that call this place home, there’s also a renovated guest cottage, which is known as Thursday’s House and named after a popular alpaca. Tom notes the cottage “has been completely remodeled. It’s a perfect romantic getaway for couples who want a place to stay overnight.” 

 While simply spending time with the alpacas is sure to make the visit fun, another engaging and hands-on activity for visitors is available in an annex of the Zena Suri Alpacas retail store where Kathleen teaches weaving, spinning and felting. 

It has now been a little more than a decade and a half since they started this amazing adventure. There’s a true sense this couple’s passion is as strong as ever and Tom affirms, “We love sharing our knowledge with visitors.” 

They’ve built something from the ground up, and Tom says, “We purchased our first three animals on July 20, 2008. Now we have a total of 44 alpacas. There are 16 boys, and the rest are girls. Plus, we have one llama.” 

The alpacas enjoy a spacious 78 acres of land in Zena, Oklahoma, they call home and are all handled as carefully by the couple as if these animals were their own flesh and blood. 

Tom says with firm conviction, “We develop a lot of feelings for the alpacas, and it’s no different than if we had 44 adopted children of our own.” 

This former pair of broadcast journalists, who gave up those careers for a different way of life, understand the importance of ensuring their alpacas are healthy and happy. As an example of one vital aspect, Tom says, “We have to make certain there’s enough water and food for our alpacas.” 

Of course, there’s always plenty to do when making sure the alpacas have everything needed for them, and Tom also notes another all-important task is cleaning their barns. 

Visitors come from the Four-State Region on a regular basis as well as quite a few other places across the country, including several travelers from Texas. Tom says they’ve even had guests from as far away as China, Peru, Russia and South Africa. 

The Callans graciously share all aspects of their Zena Suri Alpacas venture, and Tom states, “While I do one of our tours, I explain the science of it all. And I think they love that. We combine our knowledge about the Zena Suri Alpacas and allow our guests to touch and feel their fleece.” 

While touring the ranch and enjoying plenty of time with the alpacas, visitors are allowed to hand feed these adorable animals. 

The Callans are hopeful everyone gets to browse through their shop and see what is available. Some of what customers will find include, “The best socks you’ll find anywhere around, as well as blankets, finger puppets, purses, rugs, shawls, sweaters, toys, yarn and lots of fashion items. There is an ever-changing array of products.” 

This incredible adventure of a lifetime has come a long way in a relatively short amount of time and Tom points out, “We built everything from scratch.” 

The Callans had no idea how this would all go for them at the outset and Tom says, “It’s been more successful than we ever imagined.” 

Zena Suri Alpacas 

Fast Facts 

Where: Near the shores of Grand Lake O’ the Cherokees, in far Northeastern Oklahoma. 

About Us: Tom and Kathleen Callan met and married in Washington, D.C., where they both were broadcast journalists. They founded Zena Suri Alpacas in 2008, while living in Utah, and learned how to care for their animals. 


Address: Zena Suri Alpacas, Tom and Kathleen Callan, 35401 S. 580 Road, Jay, OK 74346 

Phone Numbers: 804.389.2579 or 801.828.8581