BUTTE — The Williams Reindeer Farm located near the base of the Butte is staying open for the winter, offering tours by reservation only.

Farm manager Lauren Waite said they used to close down during the winter but started remaining open about two years ago. She said the reindeer tend to love the cold weather much more than their human counterparts. Reindeer are built for the cold and normally more lethargic during the summer and act more energetic during the winter.

“Something special you get in the wintertime that you don’t get in the summertime is the reindeer are a lot more energetic and spunky. They’re not used to the heat and they just lay down and pant and they’re like, ‘oh it’s so hot” and then in the wintertime, they’re running around… They like it cold… That’s their season,” Waite said with a laugh. “We’re miserable but they love it.”

She said they had a busy holiday season and seen a fair amount of people since, especially since so many locals’ relatives were in town visit. They were open all day from Christmas to New Year’s Day. She said some people just dropped in not knowing they needed to book a tour ahead of time.

“I’ve been surprised by how many people want to come even in the winter,” Waite said.

The below zero temperatures apparently haven’t deterred many visitors, according to Waite. She noted that some people come without essential winter gear like warm boots. She said that anyone planning to visit the farm should be sure to bundle up.

“If you’re coming, be sure to dress warm,” Waite said with a laugh.

Waite lives on the Reindeer Farm property working alongside relatives like her mother Denise Hardy, who oversees all the operations. The family fun farm slows down to nearly all family members working during the winter.

The staff will return during the summer, their busiest time of the year. Waite said they average around 15 or more staff during the summer hours, which starts May 1 and runs to September.

Winter tour days run on Monday, Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday, typically starting around 11 a.m. Their website shows available openings. Waite said to book tours ahead of time and they always offer hot cocoa.

For more information and to book a tour, call 907-745-4000 or visit reindeerfarm.com. They also have a Facebook page that posts updates.

Contact Mat-Su Valley Frontiersman reporter Jacob Mann at jacob.mann@frontiersman.com

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