Reindeer Visit

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Reindeer Visit

December 18 @ 11:00 am 1:00 pm

Good to know when you’re visiting the reindeer:

  • Please do not feed the reindeer unless the handler allows you to
  • Screaming and quick movements startle the reindeer. Please use gentle voices.
  • You may pet the reindeer! But only under the supervision of the handler.
  • Please be considerate of others who are waiting for time with the reindeer.

Reindeer FAQs:

Can I pet the Reindeer?

Yes, you may, under the direction of the handler. The best place to pet the reindeer is on the sides. They don’t like their heads, noses, or antlers to be touched. Touching them in those places tend to make the reindeer shake their heads. And with those big pointy antlers, that can be dangerous.

What is the fuzzy stuff on their antlers?

The fuzzy stuff is called velvet. The velvet contains living tissue full of blood vessels and nerves. It is the blood vessels which provide the nourishment for the growth of the antlers. Kind of like a bone inside out. The antlers grow from the tip, not the base, like a tree. When the antler is full grown the velvet will dry up and the reindeer will rub it off on trees and shrubs.

Are they like “regular” deer?

They are more similar to cows. Reindeer are very docile and will allow you to stand right next to them. Reindeer do not jump like whitetail deer. Reindeer can be easily trained to walk on a leash. Whitetail deer are wild, reindeer are semi-domesticated.

Aren’t they really just Caribou?

Reindeer are a sub-species of Caribou. Generally reindeer are shorter (caribou have longer legs) and stockier. Reindeer were domesticated 2000-3000 years ago. Caribou are wild.

Do they kick like horses?

Reindeer do not kick like horses. When little kids approach the reindeer for safety purposes we tell them to approach from the sides or back. If you approach from the front the reindeer tend to lower their heads and consequently those big antlers come down as well.

Where do they come from?

The first reindeer in the United States were imported from Scandianavia to Alaska in the 1800s to be raised as a source of food. The Sami people of Lapland (parts of Scandinavia and Russia) still maintain large herds of reindeer. The Sami were traditionally nomads who moved with the herds as the reindeer migrated to find food. There are also reindeer herds in North America as well. Reindeer farms exist throughout the United States as far south as Texas. However, they don’t like the warm weather as much so some southern farmers have air-conditioned barns. Most farmers have large fans in their barns to keep the reindeer cool on hot days and to keep the flies off them.

Free
353 Court Street
Rochester, New York 14604 United States
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