Sit back and get in the Christmas spirit – the Como Zoo's popular Reindeer Cam has returned.
Three reindeer – 12-year-olds Mabel and Abigail, and 3-year-old Forest – call St. Paul their home, and the zoo's live webcam allows people to check up on Santa's antlered helpers 24/7.
You'll be able to see them interact with each other and feed in their holiday-themed habitat that includes a Christmas-themed barn, a live advent calendar, and a map that details Santa's delivery route on Christmas Eve.
And if you watch long enough, you may catch the reindeer socializing with a few arctic foxes that pay the animals a visit every so often.
"Now, you may not be able to see the reindeer the evening of Dec. 24," zoo spokesperson Matt Reinartz told Bring Me The News. "I can never seem to find them with the camera on that night for some reason."
The Como Zoo is also getting a special visitor on Dec. 23. Santa Claus will stop by, and at 1:30 p.m. people can tune into the zoo's Facebook page here to chat with Jolly Old St. Nicholas the day before his adventure around the world with the help of his reindeer.
“Having the Reindeer Cam showcase these beautiful animal’s behavior and adaptations has become a holiday tradition for us at Como. Knowing people are home more now because of COVID-19, tuning in to watch Como’s reindeer can perhaps serve as a stress reliever, and judging by the amount of emails and phone calls we receive from all over the world, we know it’s very popular,” Como Park Zoo & Conservatory’s Director Michelle Furrer said in a statement. “They’re amazing animals, and we’re excited to share them with the world."
This is the sixth year for the zoo's webcam – it partnered with Animal Planet to offer the live webcam from 2013-2016, and then the zoo took a break in 2017 and 2018. Reinartz said they'd get calls and emails from all over the world wondering if they were doing it again, which led them to bring the live stream back last year since they still had all the equipment.
The Como Park Zoo and Conservatory, which has been closed since Friday, Nov. 20, due to Gov. Tim Walz's executive order, does plan to reopen once it's allowed to. The order limits social gatherings, dining in at restaurants, and other entertainment until Dec. 18. The governor has not yet announced plans to extend it beyond then.
"We’ve done a really good job keeping visitors spread out, and maintaining and limiting capacity with our reservations system. We have a dedicated crew that cleans and disinfects thoroughly throughout the day," Reinartz said. "We’ll be ready to do it again."
In the wake of the temporary closure, Como Zoo offers a live series featuring animals and plats at 1:30 p.m. on Mondays and Thursdays on Facebook, with past episodes available on the zoo's website here.
Meanwhile, the zoo's gift shop has remained open on Thursdays-Sundays, selling items that could make for a unique gift. No reservations are required to shop.