Looking for something to do in or around the Flagstaff area? Before the weather gets too cold, be sure to take a short drive to Williams, AZ, to visit the Grand Canyon Deer Farm. Personally, every time one of my old friends visits Flagstaff from out of town, I recommend the deer farm. I honestly cannot remember how many times I’ve visited the farm. The last time, though, was in mid-November when the weather wasn’t too chilly and the sun was shining.
My best friend took a several-hour drive to come stay with me for several days in my tiny, over-priced apartment. We went shopping around town for hours, went to local events, ate delicious downtown food—the good ol’ Flagstaff experience. On her last day here, as the last hurrah, we went to the Deer Farm. How can anyone turn down a chance to feed cute, friendly deer?
While it may be called a “deer” farm specifically, don’t be fooled by the name. The farm also has a ton of other animals to see and interact with. Gracie the camel will give you a kiss (by grabbing a carrot stick out of your mouth, if you can handle it), or you can just pet her. The alpacas and llamas might come near the fence that is labeled “spitting zone.” As angry as they may look, they’re pettable and very soft, and they have yet to spit on me.
The Zonkey (yep, zebra-donkey) the park has is a bit shyer, but he's also pettable. He is next to the burros and the elk. Near the exit is the goat pen, where you can go inside to see them like a petting zoo. It seems childish, but is admittedly fun. The oldest goat is Azlan, who sports a long goatee. He is the friendliest goat I’ve ever met, and he follows us around when we’re in the goat pen. The other goats, Ben and Jerry, vacuum up fallen leaves with their mouths. The goat pen is ironically clean because they apparently eat anything. Other animals housed on the farm include marmosets, coatis, bison, peafowl, miniature horses, wallabies, and cavies.
Despite the variety of animals here, the main attraction are the deer. Most of the deer on the farm are Fallow deer, a smaller variety that have white spots along their sides, even when they age. When you walk through the gates, several will trot up to you out of curiosity, and once they realize you have food (if you purchased some), the rest will surround you in a cute, deer-like fashion. As cheesy as that sounds, just imagine a horde of deer surrounding you as you walk. Pretty dang cute.
If you can handle the occasional deer nibble on your sweatshirt or backpack, deer slobber on your hand when feeding them, and the overall pushiness of the hungry deer, then you’ll be okay. My favorite are the cute baby deer they have that grow up on the farm—they also foster abandoned/orphaned fawns. Two baby Mule deer (both around 4 months old) were at the farm the last time I visited (the cutest ever!). A bit shier than the older deer, the babies will follow you around but usually keep their distance.
Overall, the Grand Canyon Deer Farm is a great place to visit if you want to spend an hour interacting with their many animals. You can find more information about this spectacular place on their website!