You don’t have to travel to the North Pole to see Santa’s antlered helpers. Take a trip to Bowling Green instead.

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Come Christmas Eve, children may see the flash of Santa's reindeer as they streak across the sky. But one special farm in Bowling Green, Kentucky, offers the chance to get up close and personal with the festive friends long before December 24. 

The Reindeer Farm, which opens for visitors November 19, is home to seven reindeer. Owners Jessica and Russell Anderson came up with the idea to start a reindeer farm about five years ago when they were up late one night shortly after the birth of their third child. 

Man and woman with reindeer
Jessica and Russell Anderson own The Reindeer Farm in Bowling Green, Kentucky.
| Credit: Kristi Sweetsir Photography

"Russell said he wanted to do something together as a family," Jessica told Southern Living. "It was easy to make the connection to Christmas because I love Christmas. We are a family of many holiday traditions. It was then that I suggested we get reindeer."

Though often thought of as mythical creatures, reindeer (also known as caribou) are a very real species of deer that are native to northern Europe, Siberia, and North America. They cannot be found in the wild in the continental U.S., so a reindeer farm is your best bet to meet the whimsical four-legged friends. 

At the Andersons' farm you can meet Blitzen, Moodolf, Rudolph, Fireball, Flea, Mistletoe, and Clarice. Just like people, Jessica said, reindeer have different personalities, so some are more outgoing than others. Three-year-old Blitzen, though, is an absolute ham. 

Young girl holds hand out to touch reindeer on nose
Credit: Courtesy of The Reindeer Farm

"He loves everyone and wants all his new friends to rub his ears," Jessica said. 

In addition to visiting with the reindeer, the Andersons seek to provide an entire day of festive fun for families. Families can make seasonal crafts together, play on an indoor playground, grab lunch from a visiting food truck, write letters to Santa, or even watch a Christmas movie in the farm's Holiday Barn. Santa plans to make guest appearances on special days throughout the season, and Frozen's Anna and Elsa will even stop by to visit their reindeer pal Sven's brothers and sisters. 

Jessica said she loves being able to keep the magic of Christmastime alive with a little help from her family's North Pole transplants.

"Kids will often whisper their Christmas wish list to the reindeer," she said. "They're often times speechless that Santa's reindeer are being cared for at our farm. What we love is being able to provide a unique experience that you can't get everywhere. It feels special and magical."