This holiday season, your winter wonderland is in the heart of San Francisco. Frolic under outdoor snow flurries, enjoy dazzling decorations, and meet two impressively antlered reindeer in the East Garden.

The Academy's annual tradition,‘Tis the Season for Science, returns this year for a safe, physically distanced outdoor celebration of one of the symbols of the season: Reindeer! Under twice-hourly snow flurries, learn about the remarkable adaptations that allow reindeer to thrive in frigid Arctic realms and migrate incredible distances each year—on foot, contrary to popular belief…

The reindeer are in residence November 20 through January 3, 2021.

2 reindeer explore the East Garden

The reindeer are here!

Please welcome Peppermint and Cookie, our dashing reindeer duo! Reindeer are the only deer species in which both males and females grow antlers, which they shed and regrow every year in a process called antlerogenesis. Learn more about reindeer in the slideshow below.

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View of the reindeer habitat in the Academy's East Garden

Merry and bright

As the sun goes down, bask in festive decorations in the East Garden inspired by the magic of aurora borealis—also known as the northern lights. Delight in the fun, wintry atmosphere and feel transported to frosty, polar climes.

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2 young girls delight in snow flurries at the Academy

Fun in the flurries

Snow is in the forecast for San Francisco! Twirl under (non-allergenic, biodegradable, non-toxic, and non-staining) snow flurries swirling in the East Garden twice every hour.

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chocolate chip cookies

Cocoa and cookies

Top off your visit with a cozy cup of hot cocoa and cookies, available for purchase in the Academy Café or Terrace Restaurant.

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Help us continue to recover, rebound, and rebuild. Please contribute to the Academy Resilience Fund today.

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    Oh, what fun it is to learn about reindeer! Click the arrows (or swipe your smartphone screen) for some Rangifer tarandus trivia.

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    That’s farther than any other land mammal! In addition to their impressive endurance, they're also speedy, sprinting at up to 48 miles per hour.

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    Reindeer have developed broad hooves that function like snowshoes, and sensitive noses that can smell food buried beneath the snow.

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    Their coat is made up of hollow hairs, which keeps them warm and makes them more buoyant.

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    Some groups in the Eurasian Arctic rely on reindeer milk, which has a higher fat content than cow’s milk. And yes—they're even used to pull sleighs.

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    Reindeer have recently gone extinct in the Lower 48 states and face threats from petroleum exploration, poaching, habitat loss, and climate change.

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    They prefer one species of lichen so much that it’s actually called “reindeer lichen.”

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    They roam the tundra, open woodland, and mountain slope habitats of Arctic and subarctic regions of Europe, Asia, and North America.

    Illustration of reindeer grazing