Okay…that would’ve been the perfect title if Leavenworth started with an ‘R’ but it doesn’t so here we go. I have to say, though, that the reindeer are still ridiculously radiant even though they don’t live in a town that starts with R. Well…I mean…some reindeer probably live in towns that start with R, which would be perfect for this blog, but we are talking about reindeer that live in Leavenworth. So, really…here we go.
As you might know if you’ve been reading along, I have been in Washington State for the past couple weeks caring for my mom who recently had a hip replacement. (Oooh! Another ‘R’ word. I’m on a roll now….) I have been planning various ‘field trips’ to keep us busy and while doing some research about fun activities, I stumbled upon this wonderful little place in Leavenworth: the Leavenworth Reindeer Farm.
Arriving at the Reindeer Farm, you will be greeted by warm hosts, two and four-legged. The humans are wonderful and offer you refreshments and talk a little bit about the farm as your group arrives. Chickens and turkeys can be hand fed, there are several draft horses and of course, you will catch a view of the reindeer in pens not far from the barn. The tour lasts 30-45 minutes and begins around a warm campfire (during the cooler months) where had the wonderful opportunity to learn all about reindeer.
Did you know that….
- Reindeer weigh 10-20 pounds at birth and reindeer milk is very rich, about 18% fat?
- Reindeer make a charming clicking sound when they walk, caused by a tendon on the back of their legs.
- Reindeer have an uncanny knack at staying warm. During cold weather, their leg temperature can drop to 33 degrees, helping to keep their core warm!
- Reindeer fur is hollow and helps they to float. They are amazing swimmers and can swim over 6 miles per hour!
We enjoyed the many reindeer facts taught to us by one of the farm owners and had ample opportunity to handle antlers sheds and ask all the questions we wanted. From the very beginning of our experience at the Reindeer Farm, it was apparent that the owners and carers of these animals have a deep love for all that they do.
Then it was time for what we’d all been waiting for: reindeer feeding time! We were led to the reindeer pens where the rules and guidelines were explained. Unlike many of the Alaska reindeer experiences, these reindeer are very friendly! Hold your branches up high until you walk to the center of the pen, don’t begin feeding them until you are in the middle. Sadly, one sweet girl was going after a branch, accidentally caught her antler in the fence, and lost an antler. The good news is that even though she he had to have one side removed, it will grow back next year. She is a very sweet girl and loved her treats. We enjoyed many pets with her.
To say that this is a magical experience is a gross understatement! It was wonderful to be surround by these amazing creatures, with so much personality. I had a huge smile on my face the whole time.
Baby Pearl was not going to let Daniel get away without eating one of his snacks. She was so insistent! Don’t worry, she got her fair share and plenty of love and pets.
Are the reindeer gentle? Absolutely! My mom was feeding this beautiful creature 2 weeks after having her hip replacement surgery. There were people from small infants in carriers to older people and every age in between. All were was having a marvelous time, smiles and happy laughter filled the air.
We were given an opportunity to take photos with Elsa. Did I mention she is quite the character, full of vim and vigor? And that she loves food? Check out the photo bomber on the right, sneaking a snack out of my hand and smiling for the camera in the process. Our guide took this series of photos and Daniel and I smile and laugh every time I look at them. Wouldn’t this make the greatest Christmas card ever?
Sven is their largest reindeer, a boy affectionately referred to as the ‘baby daddy.’ Disney artists came to visit the farm to see Sven and the others when they were creating the artwork for the movie, Frozen. Even though reindeer don’t have top teeth, the artists felt that the reindeer look friendlier with a full set of smiley teeth so they drew them in. We think they look beautiful just as they are.
Tours and pricing vary throughout the year. We visited in October when there was only one tour that day, but during their busy holiday season they schedule up to 11 tours a day. Visit is by appointment only so be sure to book your tour well in advance. Pricing varies from $12 in the off-season to $20 during the holiday season. We felt that this experience was well worth the price and honestly, we would’ve paid twice that! This is something extra special.
We were able to roam between the two reindeer pens which were monitored by keepers to avoid any escapees. We fed the reindeer, pet them when they allowed us to, and immensely enjoyed watching the interactions and antics. This experience is truly once in a lifetime.
Back at the main barn, there is a small gift shop and several sleighs that make for amazing Christmas card photo opportunities.
I am such an animal lover…if I could have a reindeer farm of my own, or a cow farm, or a dog farm, or…well…you get it. I would. Since I can’t have my own reindeer farm, I picked up this sweet little reminder of our amazing experience at the Leavenworth Reindeer Farm. I think she will be a great decoration at Christmastime, too, don’t you?
Leavenworth, Washington is a wonderful and quaint town. After our reindeer experience, we headed back downtown for a bite to eat and some shopping in the many creative stores that line this German inspired town, nestled in the Cascades between Seattle and Spokane. We wished we had more time!
Have you visited the Leavenworth Reindeer Farm? If you haven’t, now is the time to go! It’s a magical, once in a lifetime experience that you won’t soon forget.