The area around sunny Palmer has a lot of agriculture: Dairy farms, vegetable producers, even beekeepers. But only at the Reindeer Farm can you pet a reindeer or feed fresh willow to a bull moose.
Once Upon a Moose
Set on a 200-acre plot, the Reindeer Farm has been in the Williams family for three generations— it was part a colony started in 1935 by the U.S. Army to increase agricultural production in the far north. But a passion took this family in a different direction. “My dad always wanted to have a moose farm,” says Denise Hardy, who helps her parents with the animals. Since domesticating moose wasn’t possible, he got reindeer instead—120 of them. (Fun fact: a reindeer is a domesticated caribou). Over the years, the family has added two rescued bull moose and a rescued bison—which the family once bottle-fed—as well as a herd of 35 Rocky Mountain Elk.
What started as a neighborhood wonder is now open to visitors and has gotten a lot of media attention: It’s been featured in Discovery Channel's Dirty Jobs, Vogue magazine and even Sarah Palin's Alaska. But it hasn’t gone Hollywood: Denise's son runs a small "Snack Shack" on the property, and the tour is hosted by family members or local high school kids. When you show up, the tour starts.
During the one-hour tour, they'll share interesting, funny and insightful stories about these wild animals while guiding you around the property. You can get great photos, rub a reindeer or even kiss a moose. Come June, you can see baby reindeer, too. You can also book a guided horseback ride, with views of the Knik Glacier and Pioneer Peak. During the winter, you can come for sleigh rides and light shows.