Santa Claus or his stand-ins are everywhere this time of year … on street corners, in parades and in malls. As beloved as he is, seeing Santa has become almost humdrum — as ubiquitous as he is.
But seeing his tiny reindeer? That’s a whole other matter! Inquisitive kiddies always ask about the reindeer after initial hugs, or, in this COVID-19-aware socially-distanced Christmas season, elbow bumps, with Santa and the Missus. And adults are left fumbling for explanations of why they can’t see them.
That doesn’t happen at Reindeer Ridge. Deep in the beautiful rolling hills of Southeastern Indiana, just off Indiana 1 and several miles north of Perfect North Slopes Ski Resort, is this tiny slice of the North Pole. Visitors can see and even feed five reindeer and have their visit with Santa, too.
“These are not white tail,” said Cheryl Reis, 59, who runs the farm with husband Ron. “They are real reindeer that originated from Scandanavia.”
Cheryl, who teaches Headstart in Cincinnati, and Ron, also 59, a plumber out of Cincinnati, purchased the 13-acre farm in 2015 with a festive dream: to keep the Christmas holidays alive year-round. Reindeer Ridge began with the 2017 Christmas season after the arrival of its first reindeer.
The first two, females named Comet and Cupid, came from Alaska. A year later, they added Sven, a male. Since then, Sven and the ladies have added two baby boys, Rudolph and Dasher, to the team.
“Do they fly?” is the first thing youngsters ask when they see them, Cheryl said. “Only on Christmas Eve,” she tells them.”
While on the tour, participants learn some reindeer basic facts. As an educator, Cheryl said she loves sharing what she knows about them with young and old and the tie-in to her favorite holiday. A fence keeps visitors separated from the reindeer. Cheryl said they are lovable animals, “very personable,” and love Graham crackers. But they aren’t so “tiny.” The young ones are already 220 pounds, and Sven is 450.
The 45-minute tour includes a visit and photo op with Santa and a special treat from St. Nick. Visitors stop at Santa’s workshop, where children and adults can make crafts, and the Holiday Barn, which sells festive handmade treasures by area craftspeople. There’s also a photo op with a life-sized sleigh in front of a Christmas tree. Boys and girls can also drop their letters to Santa into his mailbox.
If you go …
7621 N. Dearborn Road, Guilford, IN, 47022
You can contact Reindeer Ridge also via Facebook messenger or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Dates: Weekends — Nov. 21-22, 28-29; Dec. 5-6, 12-13, 19-20; and Monday-Wednesday — Dec. 21-23.
Hours: 10 a.m.-4 p.m.
Admission: $12 per person (age 2 and under free).
Tour duration: 45 minutes
Reindeer Ridge will be operating tours at half capacity because of COVID-19. Reservation openings are expected to sell out (as they have done in past years at full capacity). Make reservations as soon as possible if you want to tour the farm this season.
The farm is open for educational tours at other times of the year; please use the contact information to make advanced arrangements.
Masks are required. For the safety of the animals at the farm, outside pets are not allowed to visit Reindeer Ridge.