It’s time to gather the family together for a new holiday tradition to get in the spirit and experience the magic of the season. Live reindeer will be making a special holiday appearance at the Chattahoochee Nature Center.
“Can you say Caribou? I say ‘to-may-to’, you say ‘to-mah-to’. I say ‘reindeer’, you say ‘caribou.’ Whichever name you use, Rangifer tarandus is an amazing animal of the Arctic! From their massive antlers to their migratory habits, these creatures are found in wintry scenes almost everywhere you look during the holiday season. If you visit parts of Canada or Alaska, you may get a glimpse of a live reindeer, but you won’t ever get to see a reindeer here in Georgia - unless of course you join us here at CNC on Reindeer Day," said Alicia Evans, CNC’s Outreach and Partnerships coordinator.
Reindeer are large classified in family Cervidae, a group that includes moose, elk, and deer. Both males and females grow antlers, a characteristic exclusive to reindeer species. The antlers are the largest compared to their body of any of the cervid species: antlers can weigh up to 20 pounds – or about 10 percent of the animal’s total body weight.
"Try carrying something that is 10 percent of your body weight on your head – wow!," said Evans. "Once you have your heavy antlers on your head, imagine walking across the entire United States – and then some! Thus is the life of the reindeer. They migrate to continue on their up to 3,100 miles per year across the tundra, and even swim migration route or to avoid predators. Throughout the winter, reindeer travel in herds to the forests to forage for shrubs and vegetation beneath the snow. During the spring, migrating herds gather and form even larger herds of up to 500,000 animals! While migrating they face several challenges. Overcoming predators, habitat loss, and harsh climates make Reindeer tough creatures! It’s no wonder Santa chose them to pull his sleigh full of toys!”
Stay for a full afternoon of fun. Make your own reindeer crafts from 1 p.m.-2:30 p.m. and create a thumbprint reindeer or build your own reindeer antlers. Warm up by the campfire with treats. Finish a perfect day listening to Miss Julia’s Winter Story Time at 3 p.m. t’s another wacky and wonderful winter story. Prepare to laugh and learn as we celebrate winter animals with some unexpected surprises and all this is included with general admission and free for CNC members.
Be sure to add some joy to your holiday season and join the CNC for Reindeer Day, Sunday, Dec. 16 from 1 p.m.-4 p.m.