Santa Claus is endlessly understanding, and completely supportive, so when the time comes for a few of his favorite reindeer to take a little time off, to enjoy some Southern California sunshine, the Jolly Old Elf likely expedites their vacation paperwork and sends them on their merry way.
Mr. Claus knows, of course, that Noel and Velvet and Jingle and Belle will not only travel merrily to Los Angeles, but they'll continue to deliver that merry feeling once they arrive. They're regulars at the LA Zoo, come the end of the year, and those who see them -- kids and grown-ups alike -- are seeking that sparkly feeling that the yuletide is known to deliver.
Of course, the cute quartet is taking it easy, on a vacation of sorts, so you won't see them in flight. You're bound to see the antler'd beasties relaxing or eating or snoozing, all worthy and wonderful pursuits, for reindeer and humans alike.
And figure how novel it is to spy a reindeer at eye level, because we only ever really see reindeer from below, right? When they're way up high, in mid-air, leading Santa's sleigh?
The dates of the big reindeer visit? Friday, Nov. 27 through Sunday, Jan. 3. True, they are scheduled to be at LA Zoo over Christmas Eve, but since the public doesn't view them by night, we can't know for sure that they're not zipping around the world, helping out Rudolph and the lead team of North Pole reindeer.
Find the foursome at the Eucalyptus Grove from 10 in the morning through 3 in the afternoon. When not cooing over these exquisite caribou, you can take part in "Daily Reindeer Games," including a craft area, photo ops, and more (weekends grow even fuller with a ice carving demos, caroling, and live entertainment).
Will you require some sort of special admission token to see Velvet, Noel, Jingle, and Belle, like an enchanted snowflake or a glowing rock or a candy cane made by an elf? Nope; LA Zoo admission is all you need to call upon the reindeer.
Will they divulge any secrets of Santa's, from how the North Pole's mega toy conveyor belt works to how stockings are so quickly stuffed? No way, no how; reindeer are famous for their loyalty and keeping the yuletide a little magical.
Are they awake for the nightly Zoo Lights, which are back again for their second year? They're not, but none of the animals are. The reindeer, like the other resident critters, are tucked up at night, dreaming dreams of hay and fresh air and, occasionally, we imagine, flying around the world.
Special update straight from the North Pole: Due to the special specialness of the holidays, a few beasties will be up and about after sunset, including some reptiles, amphibians, fish, and insects, and, you got it, the reindeer (though no word if they'll appear wearing old-style sleep caps, the kind that Mr. and Mrs. Claus wear to bed at night).
Want to see them? They're all a fascinating part of LA Zoo Lights.