After going on hiatus in 2020, Reindeer Express will be back at Utah State University on Friday, Dec. 2. The event is organized by the College of Veterinary Medicine and aims to bring Christmas cheer while also educating the public on caring for animals. The afternoon session runs from 3:45-5:15 p.m. followed by an evening session from 5:45-7:15 p.m.
While the centerpiece of the event is the certification of Santa’s reindeer by Utah State’s veterinarians, other opportunities for festive fun abound. Cows, donkeys, a camel, and even a mini-horse will be present, and guests can enjoy wagon rides and chorus performances between learning more about the animals. The evening also includes an elf hunt, storytime, mailing letters to Santa, and more.
Juan Jimenez, the College of Veterinary Medicine’s program assistant and head of the Reindeer Express planning committee, is excited to bring the event back to Utah State.
“As a little kid, I always wanted to see a reindeer, but I never had that opportunity,” Jimenez said. “It was when I first attended Reindeer Express in 2018 that I had the chance to see a reindeer in real life — and so close. It was phenomenal. What I’m most excited about is my own children having that opportunity while they’re still kids.”
Students and faculty from the College of Veterinary Medicine will be on hand to lead demonstrations and answer questions from guests. Children interested in becoming veterinarians are especially encouraged to attend.
The reindeer at the event are provided courtesy of Dr. Isaac Bott, a USU alumnus, world-renowned reindeer expert, and owner of Mountain West Animal Hospital in Springville. Bott is glad to be returning to USU with his reindeer after the pandemic caused the event to be canceled in 2020.
"I am very much looking forward to the Reindeer Express event this year,” Bott said. “It’s been a long three years since this event was last held. This will be a fabulous opportunity for community members to learn about this incredible species during this holiday season.”
Tickets for Reindeer Express are available online now. Individual tickets cost $10, while group passes for up to six people are $30. Proceeds from ticket sales help to build a scholarship fund for USU veterinary medical students. The cost of food and drink is not included in the ticket price. While there is no on-site parking at the USU Animal Science Farm where Reindeer Express is held, a shuttle will take guests to the event from a designated free parking site. Please visit the Reindeer Express website for details.
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