Christmas came early at one Stateline zoo

Local News

BELVIDERE, Ill. (WTVO) — Thanksgiving hasn’t been celebrated yet, but that hasn’t stopped people from around the Stateline getting into the holiday spirit.

Stateline kids and their families got the opportunity to meet all eight of Santa’s reindeer.

For the second straight year, the Summerfield Zoo in Belvidere is open for Christmas Town.

“It kind of just fell into place since we have all these reindeer and Santa can come visit them around Christmas time,” said Summerfield Zoo Owner, Rick Anderson.

9-year-old Keegan Bryant is one of those who visited Christmas Town for it’s opening weekends.

“I enjoyed the reindeer tour, we had a nice time outside looking at all of the animals, and we enjoyed going to the gift shop and looking at things,” Bryant said.

Bryant said Santa’s elves taught him about the reindeer.

“I learned that all of that fluffiness is just them shedding off their antlers,” Bryant said.

In addition to the reindeer barn, the gift shop and Mrs. Claus’ kitchen, kids could visit with Santa himself.

“It’s just a great family time. It’s obviously very family-oriented, so all the kids love it,” Anderson said. “It’s geared towards kids and their families. Even if you’re an older kid, it’s great for them too.”

Anderson said there are some new additions to Christmas town for its second year.

“We’ve got a lot more photo-opps that we didn’t have last year. Lots more Christmas lights if you come around dusk or a little bit after,” said Anderson. “We have surprise visits from Olaf, all sorts of new stuff in the gift shop.”

Families also met the newest recruit to Santa’s sleigh team, baby reindeer Sven.

“We’re still not really done with our visit here, and we’d like to come here again,” Bryant said.

Anderson says about 500 people visited the zoo for the opening of Christmas Town on Saturday.

Christmas Town is open every weekend from now until December 22nd with special hours on the two days before Christmas.


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