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Reindeer Farm in Palmer, Alaska

Reindeer Farm's Gene Williams with caribou friend
Photo caption
Williams makes a friend at the Reindeer Farm.

Who knew? "Ernie and Nemo will nibble at your jacket," says Gene Williams, co-owner of the Reindeer Farm, seven miles south of Palmer, Alaska. "Some will follow you around like puppy dogs." The reindeer belong to a herd of 150 bred from domesticated animals brought from Siberia and Scandinavia in the late 1800s.

They're close kin to Alaska's wild caribou—same smoky eyes, same velvety antlers—but they're not identical. During farm tours, visitors can pet, feed, and photograph elk, bison, and moose as well as the tame reindeer, including one known as Rudolph. "He has a big white nose," says Williams. "It's only red on Christmas Eve." Tours are offered through mid-September or by appointment. (907) 745-4000,

Photography by Fred Hirschmann

This article was first published in September 2007. Some facts may have aged gracelessly. Please call ahead to verify information.