Sightseeing in Northern Michigan: Amber Ridge Elk Farm

A Northern Michigan man has had a passion for elk for more than twenty years.

Now, he's sharing his love.

In tonight's Sightseeing in Northern Michigan, Michelle Dunaway takes us to the Amber Ridge Elk Farm.

"I haven't grown tired of elk in almost 20 years."

Bob Northrup loves elk.

"I don't know, ever since I was a little kid I've always thought they were the most regal, royal trophy animal in the world, and I still think that.”

He took his passion a little farther than most.

This is the Amber Ridge Elk Farm, just outside of Ludington.

"We've got about 150 elk here right now, and I think that's the most elk on a farm in Michigan."

But the best part is, he doesn't keep this farm to himself. It's open to the public.

And visitors can get up close and personal.

"It kind of gives you an appreciation, because people typically don't get to see an animal this big, so seeing one up close, you get to see just how majestic they are and amazing they are all at the same time."

Anna Bush does a whole lot around here, but giving tours is one of her favorite parts of the job.

"It always changes because they're an animal, so it's always unpredictable, so you can come every day during the summer and something new will happen, it's almost guaranteed, so you get to see something new every time you come here or learn something new."

This time of year, the babies are a favorite.

"They're so cute and they're playful, but the really tiny ones and the big ones just growing up, and that's fun.”

But Amber Ridge also boasts some of the biggest bulls you'll ever see.

"It's pretty intimidating to have a bull come up close to you like that. They're about 5-foot tall at the shoulder, the tip of their antlers get up to 8-10-feet high in the air, the big bulls 900-1000 pounds, so it makes you feel kind of small," says Bob.

"Twenty-five pounds on each side of their head, so 50 pounds total, so it's like wearing a 50 pound hat," explains Anna.

And some visitors during the spring and summer get to experience the velvet antlers.

"They're so soft and a lot of the times, especially on the ones that are farther back, they're really warm too, because the velvet is full of blood and nutrients, which is why they grow, so they're really warm and fuzzy, so you feel like you're petting the actual animal but it's just their horns, so it's kind of cool," says Anna.

There's also a petting zoo that's a great place to wait for your tour.

Bob hopes to pass along all the things he loves about this place to every visitor.

"It's pretty relaxing and enjoyable atmosphere. Birds are chirping in the background, there's eagles in the area once in a while. It's good to be out here."