Walk This Way

A fawn frolicking through the forest is a precious sight, but not one too many people get to experience up close. Typically deer would run for cover before a person was in close range, but there is one place where people can interact with these gentle creatures — the Grand Canyon Deer Farm in Williams, Arizona.
You can pet the deer, take pictures and hand feed them at the farm, because the deer were raised there, making them familiar with human contact. The deer farm has been operating since 1969, bringing this one-of-a-kind experience to Williams visitors.
The 10-acre fenced property includes a large open area where the deer roam freely and guests can walk the path around the area. All it takes to draw the animals right up to your hand is a bit of food. The farm sells buckets of deer feed to visitors, who will be swarmed upon stepping inside the gate as the deer recognize the cups of green pellets.
Take the chance while the deer are eating from your hand to pet them and take pictures with the whole herd. Once the food is gone, they will go back about their day walking around the enclosure.
Fallow and sika deer are the two breeds that roam in the open space. Fallow deer come from Europe and range in color from black to chestnut or white. They often have white spots, which are more pronounced in the summer, even into adulthood.
Sika deer are native to Asia and also keep their spots into maturity. They are a vocal species, making several different bleating sounds.
There are more deer and other animals to see within the farm, but these two breeds are the only ones that guests may walk amongst, feed and touch. It is recommended that guests wear casual clothing and closed-toe shoes as the animals will rub up against you.
In the fenced habitats, visitors will get a closer look at more indigenous and exotic animals. There are dwarf goats, bison, mini horses and donkeys, alpacas, a llama, elk and porcupines. Gracie, the dromedary camel, is friendly and may even walk over to give you a kiss! Rare species to the area include coatimundi, zebu, wallabies and a zonkey — a cross between a zebra and donkey.
The other types of deer found in the enclosures are mule deer, reindeer and coues deer. Coues deer are a subspecies of the whitetail deer, and is the second smallest deer in North America. They are typically found in desert regions, and a pair of orphans were rescued in Arizona and brought to the sanctuary in 2018.
The entrance fee to walk through the farm at your leisure is just $14 for adults and $8 for kids 13 and younger. Deer feed and all manner of souvenirs are available in the gift shop. Masks are required to enter the shop, but are not required outside during your tour.
If you want even more access to the animals, there are interactive programs available. These hands-on experiences offer guests the chance to get in the pen to handle and feed the animals. They include 15 minutes with either the coatimundi, wallabies or porcupine as a keeper tells facts about the animal and shares some of the handling skills required to care for them.
Coatimundis are a member of the raccoon family who are common in Southern Arizona. Unlike raccoons, they are very active during the day.
Wallabies are a smaller member of the kangaroo family, native to Australia. They tend to be a little darker in color and have a black nose, hands and feet.
The cost is $30 per person for one experience with the animal of your choice, $50 for two animal experiences or $70 for all three. Reservations are required to ensure an interactive experience is available on the day of your visit.
The farm is open daily from 9 a.m.-6 p.m. and will begin winter hours on Oct. 16 (10 a.m.-5 p.m.). Call 928-635-4073 or visit DeerFarm.com for more information.