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Alaska

Best Wildlife Encounter In Alaska. Reindeer. Kids Friendly

Getting nose to nose with dozens of reindeer and feeding them from the palm. Wildlife encounter in Alaska: must try, kids friendly, close to Anchorage

Palmer Reindeer farm was one of our most favorite places in Alaska to interact with wildlife really close. We love animals and were happy about getting nose to nose with dozens of reindeer and feeding them from the palm. “Wildlife Encounter In Alaska” is about our experience with kids 2 and 7 y/o, what to expect, and be ready for.

Fun fact about reindeer

Surprisingly, reindeer and caribou are the same animals. The only difference – caribou lives in a wild, by themselves; reindeer – with Santa people:

Feeding the reindeer
Feeding the reindeer

Wildlife Encounter In Alaska: Plan your visit

The summer tour, the one this photo story is about, runs from May 1st till September 1st and 1 hour long. Summer is the most popular time among tourists, try to book a tour ahead.

At the time of our visit before the entrance of the reindeer pen were many rain boots to borrow if you don’t have one, like us.

Gift shop and ticket booth:

Reindeer farm tour is wheelchair accessible tour. Admission: $15 for adult, $13 for kids 3-11 y.o., under 2 – free. A cup of feed for the reindeer is included in your admission. Check the schedules, prices, and hours before you go on a local website.

Locals love Reindeer Farm as well: located close to Anchorage (the most populous city in Alaska) the farm is very friendly and has many programs for schoolchildren.

Wildlife Encounter In Alaska. Reindeer tour: why it’s special

Pictured below: not a tiny baby anymore, but still needs his mama for milk:

Reindeer nursing her calf. Palmer, Alaska
Reindeer nursing her calf. Palmer, Alaska

Reindeers smelled the food we brought for them instantly! To keep them from eating it immediately and be a little bit more patient, we were told a secret: keep arm with grains near/under armpits … to mask the smell :).

A very close encounter with reindeer. Palmer, Alaska
A very close encounter with reindeer. Palmer, Alaska

The teeth placement on the reindeer lower jaw makes it impossible to bite you while feeding on the palm. It doesn’t keep hands from saliva, but it was really good to know you can feed them without being bitten!

You can see me below with a hand stick under armpit :))

Reindeer farm is operated by a family. Caring, kind, and knowledgeable, they are hard-working and passionate about the animals. Our guide told us many interesting stories I still remember.

reindeer farm

Wildlife Encounter In Alaska. Meet Dolly the Bison

One of my favorites is about Dolly the bison who looks shy and childish although weight near 1400 lb and 15 years old. She was unlucky to be born in November (usually calves are born in summer), mom couldn’t care about her and Dolly became abandoned in a wild, facing inevitable death.

Dolly the bison
Dolly the Bison

Reindeer Farm decided to take her in, nursed from the bottle, and saved Dolly’s life. When she was big enough, she was introduced to her herd, but they didn’t accept her. From then she lives on a farm, farmers and reindeer became her family. (She did develop a friendly relationship with reindeers).

Rocky Mountain Elk and why you should be careful around them

Rocky Mountain Elk: they aren’t friendly as reindeer, may bite and lick your head if you are blonde! They did it to our little one, while she was gathering grass for them. Elks mistake blonde hair with straw :).

elks in alaska

Elks live up to 20 years in captivity, weight 500-700 lb.

On the video below farm dog teasing elks. They are not friends. Without a fence, elk will make an attempt to kill the dog. For them, there is no difference between a dog or a wolf, they see it as a threat and attack without any warning.

Looks like the dog understands it and tease elks knowing they can’t get her because of the fence!

Reindeer farm: some more

Reindeer farm also has picnic tables, farm animals like pigs and bunnies to pet. Erika turned 2 y/o on the day we visited and asked as a present to ride a real horse. Thanks, reindeer farm has it too!


Thanks for reading! We hope you enjoyed our virtual story about Alaska :).

Location of the farm on My Maps

Other cool things to explore nearby: Hatcher Pass, Independent Mine, Russian history in Alaska, and many more are here.

If you are planning a trip on the opposite, Southside of Anchorage, you can check scenic Seward Highway, Alaska Conservation Center, and mining for gold here.

By Mrs. Grazy Goat

I am Ira, the author behind Grazy Goat. My husband and I run this blog and share our experiences about thrilling places and cultures. Our son Artem recently joined us and helps with editing.

We are very happy to have YOU here 😻