A Jolly Holiday Party for the San Diego Zoo’s Reindeer

Rodney, a 6-month-old reindeer, was full of energy this morning (Dec. 10) as animal care staff at the San Diego Zoo threw a wreath-themed party for him, his mother and their reindeer friends. The reindeer bash celebrated the start of Jungle Bells presented by California Coast Credit Union, which begins Dec. 12. Zoo staff created piles of snow on the ground in an off-exhibit grassy area, and hung wreaths made of grewia, ficus, acacia, and hibiscus plants.

The reindeer group entered the off-exhibit area and went immediately to the snow, curious about the white powdery substance. They sniffed the snow, ate the snow, and eventually one of them made a bed and lay down in the snow. Even little Rodney enjoyed himself, rubbing his nose in the cold powder and digging in it with his hooves. The reindeer also enjoyed the delicious wreaths, taking special interest in the tasty grewia sections. Zoo staff said this enrichment was very special for the reindeer.

“This is a day of firsts for these reindeer,” said Tammy Baston, lead keeper, San Diego Zoo. “This is the first time this group has had access to snow and hibiscus flowers. It’s especially fun to see little Rodney enjoying everything.”

Zoo guests can visit Rodney, his mother, and the other reindeer during our holiday season celebration, Jungle Bells presented by California Coast Credit Union.

During Jungle Bells, amazing holiday performances are scheduled nightly, and are guaranteed to bring joy to the entire family. The Zoo’s very own Dr. Zoolittle will present his own zany version of Clement Clarke Moore’s classic poem, “The Night Before Christmas,” at the Koalafornia Boardwalk. At Wegeforth Bowl, the Alley Cats will entertain everyone with a brand-new musical show, Jungle Bell Rock; while the Jingle Brass will have guests rocking to the music at the Front Street Stage. Santa’s elves will be jumping for joy on their large trampoline inside Urban Jungle for “Toy Shop Hop.” And guests can visit with Santa himself and have photos taken with the jolly old elf inside an elaborate igloo located in Discovery Outpost.

Visitors can journey on the Twinkle Light Trolley to marvel at the animal-shaped light sculptures throughout the Zoo. Our 4-D Ice Age Theater in Northern Frontier will have a special holiday-themed show. Guests can get a ticket for “The Polar Express” and make the journey to Santa’s home, in this adventure based on the inspiring and beloved children’s book by Chris Van Allsburg.

Our animals are also joining in on the holiday fun. During each night of the 23 Days of Jungle Bells, a raccoon or an Arctic fox in Polar Bear Plunge will receive a special holiday “gift.” Also, knowledgeable animal care staff will share interesting information and fun stories.

Jungle Bells runs Dec. 12, 2015 through Dec. 23, 2015, and Dec. 25, 2015 through Jan. 3, 2016. The holiday celebration is free with paid admission or membership to the San Diego Zoo. The Zoo stays open until 8 each night of Jungle Bells, letting guests get the chance to experience exotic animals after dark and enjoy the seasonal entertainment. For a schedule of activities and more information about Jungle Bells, visit sandiegozoo.org.

Bringing species back from the brink of extinction is the goal of San Diego Zoo Global. As a leader in conservation, the work of San Diego Zoo Global includes on-site wildlife conservation efforts (representing both plants and animals) at the San Diego Zoo, San Diego Zoo Safari Park, and San Diego Zoo Institute for Conservation Research, as well as international field programs on six continents. The work of these entities is inspiring children through the San Diego Zoo Kids network, reaching out through the Internet and in children’s hospitals nationwide. The work of San Diego Zoo Global is made possible by the San Diego Zoo Global Wildlife Conservancy and is supported in part by the Foundation of San Diego Zoo Global.