17:08 PM

Santa's Reindeer Cleared to Fly at Hersheypark

Governor Shapiro and Department of Agriculture at Christmas Candylane

Today, Governor Josh Shapiro, Agriculture Secretary Russell Redding, and Pennsylvania State Veterinarian Dr. Alex Hamberg joined Santa Claus and his team of reindeer at Hersheypark to announce that the reindeer received a clean bill of health and are cleared for special deliveries across Pennsylvania on December 24th.

“This magical time of year brings lightness and cheer to every Pennsylvanian – no matter what holidays you celebrate,” said Governor Shapiro. “I know I love the holiday season and how it brings people together. This is a time for family, for generosity, for finding a bit of light – also a time to remember folks like our state vets who serve our communities every day and help ensure Santa can make it safely to every community in PA. Merry Christmas!


Santa’s reindeer — Dasher, Dancer, Prancer, Vixen, Comet, Cupid, Donder, Blitzen, and Rudolph — received clearance to fly to Pennsylvania from Dr. Robert F. Gerlach, Alaska’s state veterinarian. Pennsylvania State Veterinarian Dr. Alex Hamberg reviewed their Certificate of Veterinary Inspection and declared them healthy to fly from rooftop to rooftop across all 67 Pennsylvania counties for the purposes of “toy delivery by air” to “good boys and girls of Pennsylvania”. 

These certificates are required as an assurance that contagious diseases are not carried across state lines.

“Despite Rudolph’s shiny red nose and the team’s mysterious ability to fly, our veterinary experts have declared Santa’s reindeer healthy for their important holiday task,” Agriculture Secretary Russell Redding said. “Due to excellent care from Santa’s herd manager at the North Pole, and from Hersheypark’s team during their stay here, parents across Pennsylvania can sleep peacefully on Christmas Eve.”


See All Nine Reindeer at Christmas Candylane Through Jan. 1, 2024

For 40 years, Christmas Candylane has been a holiday tradition for thousands of families, with many holiday experiences you can’t find anywhere else. 

Guests can see 5 million lights throughout the Park, which is the most in Pennsylvania, plus enjoy holiday thrills on select rides and coasters, and, of course, visit Santa and his reindeer. In fact, Hersheypark is the ONLY place in the Northeast where guests can get an up-close look at all nine of Santa’s reindeer during all hours of operation through January 1, 2024.

Santa has entrusted the ZooAmerica team to take special care of his reindeer during the holiday season by providing them with a healthy diet, exercise and a spacious barn to call home.

Top 5 Reindeer Facts

Beyond their famous names and sleigh-pulling skills, reindeer are fascinating animals. Did you know these facts?

  1. The largest herds of reindeer are found in Alaska, Scandinavia and Russia, also known as Lapland. But, the most famous reindeer live at the North Pole.
  2. Reindeer are well-equipped for the cold weather we are experiencing today. They have two coats of fur on their bodies, plus fur on their noses, lips, and under their hooves.
  3. In the wild, reindeer like to eat Lichens, the moss that grows on rocks and trees. We feed the reindeer a pellet diet and plenty of their favorite snack called Beet Feed. They also love apples, so we recommend that children put out nine slices of apples for Santa’s reindeer on Christmas Eve instead of carrots.
  4. Both male and female reindeer have antlers, which makes them different from deer. In general, they lose their antlers every year.
  5. If you listen closely, you will hear the reindeer making a clicking noise when they walk. The tendons in their feet make a snapping sound that they use in the wild to keep in line. This noise is where “Up on the rooftop, click, click, click” originates.