Thursday, December 2, 2021
In 1787, George Washington paid 18 shillings to bring a camel to Mount Vernon to entertain his guests. Now you can come to Mount Vernon and meet Aladdin, the Christmas Camel through Jan. 7.
When Aladdin hears the familiar hum of the engine and tires rolling across the gravel path, the 7-foot-tall camel stands up and hurries to the fence. Having stayed at Mount Vernon every holiday season since he was eleven months old, the camel knows the approaching vehicle is bringing him food. Lisa Pregent is a member of the Mount Vernon livestock team and the resident camel connoisseur. She has worked at the estate for 21 years and has taken care of Aladdin since his first visit.
Pregent and the livestock team begin their day long before visitors arrive. They feed the 1400 pound camel at 7:30 a.m. and again later in the day.
Aladdin has lived in Virginia his entire life and is well acclimated to the cold weather. “I brought Aladdin home at 3 months old and took on the ‘mothering’ duties of bottle feeding and play teaching,” said Jennifer Cossette, Aladdin’s owner. As part of the Pony to Go family, Aladdin lives in Berryville, Va. with an emu and miniature horse. “He seems to enjoy the company and always comes to the fence to greet visitors,” said Cossette. “He definitely has the personality of a dog, coming when you call him and eager to give kisses.”
The rest of the year, Aladdin entertains at birthday parties and weddings. Although he is not the camel in Geico’s “Hump Day” commercial, he has made special appearances at Geico events.
Visit Aladdin at Mount Vernon during the holiday season, until Jan. 7.