Visiting a unique reindeer ranch is one of the best ways for you to get into the holiday spirit during this unusual year. Although some December tours of caribou ranches sell out or quickly fill up, it may not be too late to make a reservation on selected days. Even if it’s not practical for you to plan a last-minute visit, these ranches are also offering virtual online tours. In fact, these business will do everything to liven up your day. Here is a look at five reindeer ranches to visit or remotely tour over the holidays.

Hardy’s Reindeer Ranch

1356 County Road 2900 N.
Rantoul, IL  61866
(217) 893-3407
www.reindeerranch.com

Open over the holidays, Hardy’s Reindeer Ranch offers up close reindeer tours for just $5. Located in Champaign County, this family-owned ranch is admission free and features a herd of 16 Alaskan reindeer to enjoy. Also onsite is a large gift shop filled with unique holiday items and a banquet hall for special events. You can call or email for tour information. All visitors over two years old must bring a face mask and maintain social distancing. Owners Julie and Mark Hardy also offer virtual tours on their Facebook business page. If you can’t wait until Christmas, Hardy’s is open beginning in the fall. Hardy’s will reopen again on September 1. During the fall season, the ranch will host a 10-acre corn maze. Also on hand during the fall are family-friendly activities like hay rides, pedal race cars and a paintball rally. On weekends in October, the ranch will sell food like hot dogs and pulled pork parfaits. The community of Rantoul is 90 southeast of Peoria and just 16 miles north of Champaign.

Related: My Favorite Guided Tours of Chicago

Rainier Reindeer Ranch

8120 256th Ave.
Buckley, WA  98321
(253) 508-9441
www.rainierreindeer.com

With majestic Mount Rainier as a backdrop, Rainier Reindeer Ranch offers hands on encounters that are limited to five people at a time. Live reindeer encounters last one hour and may be booked directly online. Tickets are $11 for guests 11 years and under and $45 for guests 12 years and older. During an encounter, you can pet and even interact with two reindeer. Owner Sophia McKee also offers reindeer rentals for special occasions and 30-60 minute virtual experiences. The popular ranch is located approximately 45 miles from Seattle and 22 miles from Tacoma. It’s a worthwhile drive, especially with the incredible views of the Cascade Mountain Range. Last year, the reindeer ranch was not able to offer farm visits. However, you can sign up for their mailing list for up-to-date information for farms visits this year. Just visit the website and click on Add Me To The Nice List. The town of Buckley is about 23 miles southeast of Tacoma.

Related: Celebrate The Holidays At The Dickens Christmas Fair

two friendly reindeer poking their snouts out of a wire fence
Friendly Critters (credit: Reindeer Ranch, Facebook)

Reindeer Ranch

2921 North Sixth St.
Kalamazoo, MI  49009
(269) 491-8507
www.reindeerranch.ws

Open by appointment Reindeer Ranch offers guided tours of its reindeers and ranch. Tours are $10 for guests 2 years old and older and last approximately 30-45 minutes. Preceding the tour is a 15-minute educational presentation with hands on experiences. Due to ongoing health mandates, tours are limited in group size but many tours are still available. However, as things get better, those mandates will change. When onsite, you must practice social distancing and wear face masks when inside the gift shop. Owners Gary and Carol Borton have been raising reindeer for more than 20 years. The ranch is just 7.5 miles west of downtown Kalamazoo. No information on upcoming tours is currently available. However, the ranch may be open by appointment only. In this case, you must call the ranch for further information. Later this year, the ranch’s website will provide further information for this coming season. In fact, Reindeer Ranch might even be open without any restrictions. You can reach Kalamazoo from Lansing in about a half hour.

Related: America’s Best Christmas Markets

Santa Claus in a snowy scene offering a treat to one of the reindeer
Santa Offering a Treat (credit: Rockin Reindeer Ranch, Facebook)

Rockin Reindeer Ranch

4127 West 2200 South
Ogden, UT  84401
(801) 618-8341
www.rockinreindeerranch.com

All Christmas tours are reportedly sold out at Rockin Reindeer Ranch. However, this beautiful ranch in West Haven will be offering Frozen-themed tours with live characters in late February, with bookings available in January. The ranch was offering a standard ranch tour and another tour that is visited by Santa Claus. Tours last approximately 60-75 minutes, with prices starting at $10. If you’re interested in visiting, you can contact the ranch for the latest information. Just recently, the ranch had a grand opening of its Wandering Reindeer Gift Shop. Later this year, the ranch is expected to update its information on tours. At that time, you will be able to book a tour directly online. Ogden is just a 35 minute drive north of Salt Lake City.

Rooftop Landing Reindeer Farm

2706 E. Stevenson Lake Road
Clare, MI  48617
(517) 749-4866
www.rooftopreindeer.com

Rooftop Landing Reindeer Farm continues to accept tour reservations through December 23. Family owned and operated since 1991, the farm charges an admission fee of just $5 for visitors 2 years and older. Onsite is a herd of live reindeer to pet, heated barn for other farm animals and gift shop for souvenirs and food items. Additionally, Santa Claus makes regular appearances for greeting and photo opportunities. The farm also maintains a live web cam on its website of some of its furry friends. Rooftop Landing Reindeer Farm will reopen this spring. The latest information shows that Rooftop Landing is open during the spring and through the end of summer. In October or earlier, the ranch will update information on tours over the wintertime. Rooftop Landing Reindeer Farm is one of the few businesses to be open in the springtime and summer. In that case you won’t have to wait for the holidays to see beautiful live reindeer. The community of Clare is in the heart of Michigan, about 75 minutes north of Lansing.

Related: America’s Best Places For A White Christmas

About The Author:

Randy Yagi is an award-winning freelance writer who served as the National Travel Writer for CBS Local from 2012-2019. More than 900 of his stories still appear in syndication across 23 CBS Local websites, including CBS New York, Los Angeles, Chicago and San Francisco. During his peak years with CBS, he reportedly had a digital audience reach of 489 million and more than 5.5 million monthly visitors. His other stories have also appeared in the Daily Meal, CBS News.com, CBS Radio, Engadget.com, NBC.com, NJ.com and Radio.com. He is a Media Fellow of Stanford University.

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