You can guide your sleigh to these Michigan spots featuring real reindeer and holiday activities.
MICHIGAN—You know Dasher, Dancer, Prancer, and Vixen. Maybe it’s time to visit with them?
With an estimated 1.7 million deer living in Michigan’s borders, Michiganders are definitely familiar with deer. But what about reindeer, also known as caribou? Although species such as the Lake Superior caribou are not as prevalent as they once were, these valuable members of the deer family are still preserved by kindly Michiganders. When it’s time for the holiday season, it’s time for these rooftop-clickers to shine.
If you’re ready to make friends with these gentle Christmas creatures, we’ve got a few suggestions on the best places to go.
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Rooftop Landing Reindeer Farm
2706 E Stevenson Lake Rd., Clare, MI 48617
Phone: (517) 749-4866
Hours: Open October through December, Saturdays 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Sundays 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Admission: General admission is $7. Children (1 and under) are free.
Michigan’s premier reindeer destination is the family-owned and operated Rooftop Landing Reindeer Farm. This holiday season hotspot has been raising and training reindeer for about 30 years. Reindeer frequently visit events, businesses, schools, and private homes. They have even been used in movies.
Reindeer live at the farm year-round and are available for visitors to watch, pet, and feed. You can even watch the reindeer virtually through a live camera. Children will also be excited to receive a custom letter from Santa and the Rooftop Landing reindeer, accompanied by a plush toy of Halo the Reindeer that will keep an eye on them for Jolly Saint Nick!
The farm is also a wonderful place to bring the family for holiday-themed fun. Santa Claus and Skittles the Clown will visit the farm on the weekends (see the calendar). Other photo ops include the petting zoo in the heated barn and Santa’s antique sleigh, which is perfect for family photos. Visitors can also make their own candy and enjoy warm donuts, hot caramel cider, and hot cocoa. The gift shop is rife with stocking stuffers and other Christmas gifts and keepsakes.
Santa’s Reindeer Farm at Grandpa Tiny’s Farm
7775 Weiss St, Frankenmuth, MI 48734
Phone: (989) 652-5437
Hours: Noon until 4 p.m.
Admission: Tickets start at $12.75, Children (4 and under) free with adult admission.
In Frankenmuth, it’s Christmas year-round. So when the holiday approaches, everyone in Little Bavaria is absolutely animated for Rudolph and all of the other reindeer. Grandpa Tiny’s Farm is the best place to see reindeer, with Santa’s Reindeer Farm.
Participants are able to tour the farm at their leisure, pet the reindeer training hard for the big day, and chat with the holly jolly workers. Meet and greet with Santa and even give Saint Nick your Christmas list or letter! There are plenty of photography opportunities available as well. Before heading home, participants are invited to make their own ornament as a souvenir.
GG Reindeer Farm
3754 76th St SE, Caledonia, MI 49316
Phone: (616) 881-3349
This Grand Rapids-area farm is the home of a domesticated herd of reindeer. The reindeer are frequently rented out for appearances around west Michigan.
Watch during the month of December for open houses on the farm. These weekend open houses invite visitors to spend an afternoon visiting with the reindeer, feeding apples to them, learning about them and their lifestyles, and taking photos on Santa’s sleigh. Boots are recommended!
Indian Creek Zoo
2744 Consear Rd, Lambertville, MI 48144
Phone: (734) 224-0390
Hours: Open daily April through December, 10 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. (November and December) or 5 p.m. (through October 31)
Admission: General admission is $14. Seniors and military are $13. Children are $12. Children (2 and under) are free.
Most of Michigan’s zoos close down for the winter. The cozy Indian Creek Zoo, however, stays open through December and offers intimate visits with reindeer and other exotic animals.
The zoo features over 400 animals of 80 different species. The Indian Creek Zoo allows visitors to pet and feed many of the animals with specialized feed available for purchase. Reindeer are just one of the many animals featured here.
For more holiday fun at the Indian Creek Zoo, also check out the Gift of Lights event, a drive-through Christmas light display. The event runs in the evenings from Nov. 12, 2021 until Jan. 2, 2022. Tickets start at $20 per car. The event also features meet and greets with characters from Frozen, The Grinch, and The Nightmare Before Christmas.
2921 N 6th St, Kalamazoo, MI 49009
Phone: (269) 491-8507
Hours: Open by appointment
Admission: Weekdays $10 general admission. Weekends $15 general admission. Children (2 and under) are free.
Ranch owners Gary and Carol Borton started raising reindeer in Kalamazoo in 1999 and their ranch is still a family business today. This domesticated herd of reindeer are beloved pets and are treated like them—after birth, calves spend up to a month indoors with the owners. The reindeer are rentable and make visits to local events. Reindeer may also be sold to those interested in raising reindeer.
Prospective visitors may book a tour subject to the ranch’s availability. Bookable reindeer tours take place almost completely outside. Visitors will learn more about reindeer during the tour. They will also enjoy a seasonal drink, cookie, and craft project.
12749 9 Mile Rd, South Lyon, MI 48178
Phone: (248) 437-7669
Carousel Acres is a year-round mobile petting farm with a variety of animals. The fully-insured company specializes in private, educational events with animals. They will host parties and private events at the farm. Their animals, including reindeer, may be rented out for events off-site.
To see the reindeer, interested parties may book a family session with Santa, the reindeer, the Grinch, and the other farm animals. Rate is $80 for a 15 minute session. Unlimited photos can be taken during the session, with an option for a professional photographer for a fee.
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