Last Updated on December 6, 2021
We had visited Leavenworth a few years ago at Christmas for the first time and absolutely fell in love with the quaint Bavarian town. We somehow missed that there was a reindeer farm, so when we came across it online, we knew we had to get back.
What else would help with the magic of Santa at Christmas? To take our kids to meet some of Santa’s reindeer in training, of course.
The magic for them was unreal.
This is one of our top favorite travel experiences with our kids.
I obviously had pre-explained to them that Rudolph wouldn’t be there because he would already be at the North Pole getting ready for Christmas, but they were so excited that they did not seem to mind. The kids loved learning about reindeer and though none of them were ready to fly for our visit, they were thrilled to meet some of Santa’s reindeer-in-training. Heck, who am I kidding, it was magical for us adults too and made us feel like kids again.
Table Of Contents
Where Is Leavenworth?
Leavenworth is one of the most magical towns to help you jump right into the spirit of Christmas. A Bavarian-styled village in the Cascade Mountains, in central Washington State, this picturesque village will leave you dreaming of sugar plums dancing in your head after one visit during the holidays. Being “Little Germany” in the USA, it is, of course, touristy, but it is still packed full of fun. Leavenworth is a mountain-walled town that makes you feel like it should be in Switzerland, not the USA.
Christmas isn’t the only time to find celebrations, though it is one of the busiest. The area is a major, four-season tourist destination with festivals nearly every month.
How To Get There
Leavenworth Reindeer Farm is a USDA licensed farm located less than a half-mile from downtown Leavenworth. This super cute farm is just a quick hop, skip, and a jump away from Seattle, WA and across the border in Vancouver, BC.
About The Reindeer
The Reindeer at the Leavenworth Reindeer Farm are a subspecies of Woodland Caribou, which are typically found in the Yukon and Alaska. They are sadly considered an endangered species. The Andersens have grown the herd to a couple of dozen reindeer, and you can see they put their heart and soul into it.
A Sought After Experience
At Christmastime, the farm is extra busy, with their opportunities to see the reindeer sold out. The owners had mentioned that the experiences are available year-round, including April when the babies are usually born. It is a lot quieter if you visit during the off-season.
January to February is also your best bet for a snowy farm experience.
Note: Regardless of the time of year, advanced reservations are required. Reserve as far in advance as possible.
Not A Zoo
The Leavenworth Reindeer Farm is NOT a zoo; it is a family-run reindeer farm. The farm provides hands-on, educational tours that are fun for the whole family.
They aim to protect these sacred animals and educate their guests about their amazing and unique capabilities to survive and thrive in the most extreme environments.
It was such a pleasure to walk among the reindeer, feed them, and be so enchanted. The owners are so knowledgeable and all of the staff are so attentive while you’re in with the reindeer to make sure all the little kids, adults, and reindeer stay safe.
Wear clean shoes or boots and freshly washed clothing for your visit to the farm. Do not visit sheep or goats before your visit to the farm. They carry an airborne spore that is deadly to reindeer.
During winter, the farm is open 5-6 days a week, though you should check their calendar for up-to-date availability. Tour times at this time of year start at 9 am and end at 3 pm, running every 30 minutes.
Plan ahead as you can rarely grab same-day tickets. Arrive early to not risk losing out. If you are late, staff will try to move you to the next available tour time that day, but with sold-out tickets, that may not be possible.
The Visit: What To Expect
Your visit will last approximately one hour. There’s more to see and do than only visiting the reindeer, so you should allow for a couple of hours for your visit. There are farm animals, plenty of photo ops, and hot chocolate to keep you warm.
Since we visited at Christmastime, our adventure started with a visit with Santa.
Tours always begin with a 10-15 minute presentation, led by one of the farm owners. This part of the tour is educational and hands-on. The kids loved the chance to hold and touch shed antlers. In the winter you will gather around a fire to stay warm while learning about the history of the farm and fun reindeer facts with punny jokes sprinkled in there as well.
After the presentation, farm staff will go over all the safety information you need to know before entering the enclosure. You will be given reindeer food, and the reindeer will happily eat right out of your hand. Pet their soft fur, take a selfie, and listen to the sound of their clicking hooves. There was also a staff member helping each group take the perfect photo with a reindeer. Be careful though, the reindeer really loved their feed and will come right up to you to grab a snack; be careful of those antlers!
Meeting The Reindeer
The highlight of your visit, and why you came! The excitement level will be high. The reindeer are free-roaming within the pen, so take special care of your surroundings at all times. Ensure you listen to the direction of the staff and you’ll have a memorable encounter that you will never forget.
With the large volume of visitors going through the pens, you will be given only about 20 minutes in the pen. We wished we could have had longer, but it is necessary to keep the reindeer safe with the number of people traveling through the pen.
Also, all the reindeer in the pen are ladies!
Reindeer Farm Safety Tips
- Wear closed-toed shoes. It wouldn’t feel nice getting stepped on without protection on your feet.
- Always be aware of your surroundings at all times.
- Approach the reindeer in a calm manner. Do not chase after them aggressively to get their attention.
- Use your hand to shield your eyes from coming into contact with antlers.
- Keep your hands low so that the reindeer do not view you as a threat (unless you’re shielding your eyes, of course)
- Children two years old and younger must be kept in the arms of an adult at all times when in the reindeer pen.
After the reindeer experience, stay at the farm for a while. You can visit with their draft horses, ducks, bunnies, ponies, chickens, and pigs. Kids also love the reindeer-shaped swings. There are also plenty of fun festive photo ops.
How Accessible Is The Farm?
The farm and reindeer enclosure can accommodate guests in wheelchairs and walkers. Strollers are not permitted in the reindeer pen but can be used anywhere else on the farm.
If you are planning a trip to see the half a million lights and festivities of Leavenworth, visiting the reindeer is one of the most festive things to do and a real can’t-miss for your trip. We enjoyed it so much that we will definitely be back again. The kids are hoping that next time some of the reindeer will be able to fly for them.
Have you visited a Reindeer Farm?