For the past five years, Ivey Almond and her crew at Rockin A Ranch in Midford – licensed by the U.S. Department of Agriculture – have transported her mix of gentle exotic and domestic animals to festivals, carnivals, exhibits and petting zoos in several states.Almond said they are the “cleanest, most sanitized animal exhibit company around.” A veterinarian’s daughter, Almond has always loved and respected animals. Her hobby has blossomed into a business, educating children about animals and allowing the public to meet animals in a safe and healthy setting.This time of year, Almond said, there is a lot of demand for traditional Nativity animals, especially camels. The Rockin A Ranch has three camels: One is in training, one is still too young for exhibits, and one can carry folks for a ride. Almond buys them as babies to raise and train.For the past three years, Almond has supplied the Charlotte Motor Speedway with animals for its Carolina Christmas event. Along with the Nativity animals, the Rockin A Ranch also sets up a petting zoo and offers animal rides.Almond said children are always thrilled to meet her animals. She’s found that many children have very limited exposure to animals, even domestic ones, and are eager to learn more about them. Lately, she’s noticed children referring to her ducks and geese as “aflacs” and realized that she has a lot to teach them.Almond displays only gentle exotic animals, such as small yaks or water buffalo, never such species as snakes or tigers, and she offers a variety of programs. The Old Timey Barnyard Animal Exhibit provides a simulated barnyard. Presenters wear old-fashioned attire and use old methods of animal care, including milking by hand. The ranch also offers a Draft Horse Exhibit and a Heritage and Rare Breeds Animal Exhibit. You can learn about all the educational opportunities available from the Rockin A Ranch by visiting www.rockinaranchpettingzoo.com. Every one of Almond’s animals has a name, except the goats, because, she said, there are too many of them. On average, she said, they have 11 species and 15 different breeds of animals, ranging from alpaca, yak and antelope to water buffalo, sheep and goats. The ranch, which has more than 200 animals, is not open to the public.