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Betsy Malloy

Where Does a Pardoned Turkey Go?

By November 6, 2009

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Well, if you're the National Thanksgiving Turkey who just received a pardon from the President, you want to get out of Washington before someone changes their mind. For the past few years, the recently-pardoned bird and his backup have hopped onto United Airlines Flight Turkey-1 to Los Angeles, California, and then on to Disneyland, where they took up residence at Santa's Reindeer Ranch. In 2011, the pardoned gobbler took a short trip to Mount Vernon Ranch instead, according to the Huffington Post.

Michael P. Branch has an entertaining essay in Orion Magazine about the tradition.

December 6, 2006 at 9:01 am
(1) Liz Mitchell says:

This is great, Betsy. I had no idea! Liz

November 19, 2009 at 11:51 am
(2) LV says:

This isn’t true. The presidential pardoned turkey actually goes to live with other past pardoned turkeys at an farm in Virginia.

Kidwell Farm is a local farm in Herndon, VA that houses other saved animals that needed homes. It serves as a petting zoo for area children.

Betsy here with a follow up: The last year pardoned turkeys went to Kidwell Farm was 2004. The 2008 turkey was reported by United Press International and CBS News as going to Disneyland.

November 19, 2009 at 8:18 pm
(3) Rachel G. says:

That may have been true in the past, but since 2005 they have gone to either Disneyland or Disney World. I have seen them myself at Disneyland where they live out their days at Big Thunder Ranch under a plaque reading “The Happiest Turkeys on Earth.” It has not been decided where this year’s turkeys will spend their golden years.

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