Meet Jane and Doug

Running Reindeer Ranch prides itself on being family-owned and operated. Though the Ranch got its start as a 4-H project, owners Doug and Jane have since turned it into a thriving business in the heart of Fairbanks, Alaska.

Jane is a life-long Alaskan who leads the reindeer walks. Though originally from Anchorage, she has lived in Fairbanks for more than 35 years. Doug, originally from Portland, Oregon, has been in Fairbanks for over forty years after moving there in 1978. Together, they have three children — Neill, Robin, and Anya — who have since left the nest but still live in Alaska.

In 2004, they purchased their five-acre parcel and home and moved to the Goldstream Valley north of Fairbanks. They then shaped the land to fulfill their dreams of gardening, caring for animals, and being outdoors.

A visit to Running Reindeer Ranch is a visit to a true Alaskan family. We invite you to be our guest and join us for a unique Alaskan experience in the beautiful Goldstream Valley.

Doug and Jane in their living room

Where It All Began

People often ask how these reindeer came to live with Doug and Jane at the Ranch. It started when their daughter, Robin, then age 12, asked if she could have a horse. Allergies and other practical concerns led Jane to say “no”. Persistent Robin turned her attention to goats (absolutely not) or sheep (also no) until Jane eventually suggested an animal better suited to the Arctic. A drive by the University of Alaska Fairbanks’ Reindeer Research Project(opens in a new tab) planted the seeds that would germinate through two years of research and fundraising. Those seeds would eventually become Running Reindeer Ranch.

It all came together when in October 2007, reindeer Ruby and Moon joined the family from Tom Williams’ Reindeer Farm(opens in a new tab) in Palmer, Alaska. Olive then came to the ranch in February 2008. In April of that same year, Ruby became a mom: Willow was born, and the family began taking shape. Jasper was born the following spring, Charlie in the spring of 2010, Rufus and Lilly in 2011, Robbie and Lief in 2012, Rosie and Daisy in 2013, Maki and Buttercup in 2014, Rocky Cupcake in 2015, and Rocket and Peanut in 2016. Margarita, the Cinco de Mayo baby, was born to Daisy in 2017, Sapphire and Toby in 2018. In 2019, Cosmo, Poppy, and Juniper joined the herd. Our 2020 Pandemic calves are Bramble, Forest, and Heather.In 2021 Stella Luna,Rosetta, and Carl, 2022 Ginny, Opie and Astro and in 2023 George, Patrica and Joyce.

Our reindeer are part of the family and enjoy entertaining visitors, nibbling lichen, and exploring the boreal forest. Want to meet them? Check out our Reindeer Walks!

Media Mentions

Our reindeer have been fortunate to be featured in a number of publications. Click on the headlines below to read more:

”Thick with spruce trees, bogs, and spongy tundra, boreal forests stretch across more than 60 percent of Alaska. At Running Reindeer Ranch in Fairbanks, naturalist Jane Atkinson leads walks in the forest with her herd of reindeer. Along the way, she offers deep insight into this key ecosystem, from the soil to the treetops. Visitors also learn about the forest through the reindeers’ perspective, as they interact with the environment.”

Read full article at National Geographic

“If you want to incorporate quality time with animals into your yoga practice, you have a lot of options these days. There’s puppy yoga, cat yoga, and perhaps the most famous — goat yoga. Now, in Fairbanks, Alaska, there’s a new offering: a yoga class with fauna particular to the cold northern climes of the subarctic. Reindeer. In a grassy pen at the Running Reindeer Ranch, adult and baby reindeer are milling around — grazing, nosing curiously at water bottles, and pawing yoga mats as people shake them out for class.”

Read Full Article by Ravenna Koenig

“Running Reindeer Ranch, located 20 minutes outside of Fairbanks, Alaska, is where you can learn everything you ever wanted to know about reindeer. Open year [round], visitors can go to the ranch/home to walk with a reindeer herd through the ranch property; a unique experience you once thought came only with a visit [to] the North Pole.”

Read Full Article by Sherry Ott

“At most animal-centric tourist attractions, visitors wander among exhibits. At Running Reindeer Ranch, visitors stroll with them. Atkinson attaches a rope to a halter on one of her eight reindeer (the number is coincidence) and then leads the entire pack–along with up to 20 customers–through a boreal forest on her family’s farm. In the low light of winter, the trail is ghostly with birch trees sheathed in papery white bark.”

Read Full Article

“Take your chances of seeing wildlife up a notch with experts who know all the right places to bring you safely up close to Alaska’s vast ecosystems. Try Rust’s Flying Service for brown and black bear tours, the Northern Alaska Tour Company for polar bear expeditions, and Running Reindeer Ranch for forest walks with reindeers.”

Read Full Article by Nina Kokotas Hahn

“The far-northern latitude of Fairbanks, Alaska, makes it the best easy-to-reach destination in the U.S. for viewing the Northern Lights, the multicolored swirls of light that periodically take over the polar night sky, also known as the Aurora Borealis. […] While waiting for this cosmic light show, you can check out Fairbanks’ Aurora Ice Museum and Running Reindeer Ranch, both open year-round.”

Read Full Article by Bob Cooper

“While the humans find their flow, adult and baby reindeer wander around, grazing on grass, sniffing attendees’ belongings, and even relieving themselves before finally settling down. During one session, Koenig notes, a three-year-old male named Rocket sprawled out between two rows of yoga mats and spent the rest of class releasing a ‘soft, breathy, grunting sound’ similar to snoring.”

Read Full Article by Meilan Solly

“In a birch grove at the base of Moose Mountain you can frolic in the forest and play reindeer games at Running Reindeer Ranch. Side note: did you know that females grow antlers, too?”

Read Full Article

“Hike with a herd of ‘pet’ reindeer, including Buttercup, Daisy and, the newest addition, Margarita. During the forested walk behind the owners’ house, learn about the domesticated caribou, from what they like to eat to how you can tell if a reindeer is pregnant.”

Read Full Article by Andrea Sachs

“Goat yoga classes, which combine breathing, posing, and snuggling with special guest ruminants, may be all the rage among limber animal lovers. But Alaska just upped the antlered ante. At a summer yoga class in Fairbanks, attendees complete a 60-minute hatha or vinyasa flow session in the presence of reindeer.”

Read Full Article by Zac Thompson

“Running Reindeer Ranch in Fairbanks is one of the top attractions in the town for visitors. Reindeer are gentle, beautiful creatures and this ranch has a large population of them to visit. You can get up close and really experience [a] connection with the reindeer at this unique place to visit in Alaska.”

Read Full Article by Carey Seward

“Names can be deceptive at Running Reindeer Ranch, located in the hills outside of Fairbanks, Alaska. Olive, Ruby, Jasper, Daisy, Rufus and Buttercup may not accurately detail the physical appearance of these animals, but they do describe their personalities, much to the delight of adults and children who visit.”

Read Full Article by Chris Batin

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