In 1941, the United States War Department built a 10,000+ acre munition storage and disposal facility in the heart of the Finger Lakes Region, in central Seneca County. During construction of the 24-mile-long perimeter fence that surrounded this Ordnance Depot, several dozen white-tail deer were trapped inside, isolating them from predators. As years passed, a few all white, white-tail deer were discovered inside the fence. With the additional protection from the US Army this, now famous, White Deer herd of Seneca County grew to become the largest of its kind in the world!
Today, the Army is gone but many of the Majestic Seneca white deer remain to roam freely within the fences, and what is left of the abandoned Seneca Army Depot. In 2016, after years of neglect, the privately owned organization Deer Haven Park purchased most of the old base and set aside a 3,000 acre preserve where the Seneca white deer, American Bald Eagles and other wildlife can thrive.
When you visit Deer Haven Park you will hear some of the rich history of the Seneca Army Depot, one of the 4 munition storage facilities that were built in preparation for World War II. You'll learn some of the secrets it held and the role it played to keep America free during the Cold War. While you are here, take a park tour an experience the unique habitat and its amazing flora and fauna. You will even have a chance to see the majestic Seneca White Deer!
Self-Guided Auto Tours
Deer Haven Park will is open every Saturday, now through November 14th 2020 for Auto Tours. Download the Deer Haven Park Tour free app and drive your vehicle through the park on a self-guided tour, with our app providing the illustration and narrative. You will take an 8 mile journey deep into the park, driving on roads that haven’t been driven on by the public for nearly 80 years!
You’ll see abandoned ammunition storage igloos, gunpowder buildings, and rail-car loading platforms used by the US Army to load and offload bombs and ammunition for use overseas during WWII, the first Gulf War and every military confrontation in between. You will witness evidence of civilian farm life prior to 1940, and of course, you will have the opportunity to catch a glimpse of the Majestic Seneca white deer and American Bald Eagles that reside at Deer Haven Park!
Auto Tour fee:
$25.00 per vehicle (no busses or motorcycles, please)
- September Saturdays, 9am - 6pm
- October Saturdays, 9am - 5pm
- November Saturdays, 9am - 3:30pm
The last vehicle will enter the park at closing time. All guests already in the park can finish their tours. All guests must be out of the park at dark. Due to Safety and liability reasons, Auto Tour patrons must remain inside their vehicle at all times during the tour. Visit our website for more details!
Rent the whole bus for your next family gathering or event and tour the Deer Haven Park with your own private tour guide. You will be able to get off the bus and go inside a munition storage bunker and a personnel bunker. Visit the beaver dam and observe the security measures the Army put in place at the entrance to the “Q” Area. (Special Weapons Storage Area)
Private tours can accommodate up to 18 people. Call for details. 8-DEER TOURS, (833) 378-6877.
Private and group tours are available Sunday-Friday through November 14. Off-Season tours available. Book Online or Call to plan and make reservations.
SOLD OUT - Sunday, November 1st at 3 PM for a Tractor-Drawn, Open-Air Wagon Tour through Deer Haven Park!
You have seen the park from the comfort or your vehicle, now step off the wagon and discover the historic Seneca Army Depot up close and personal.
This single-day event will be fun for the whole family! We will guide you through the unique habitat of Deer Haven Park where you will experience its vastness and the beauty of its flora and fauna as we discuss the historic importance of this former military munition storage base.
We will make several stops along the way, giving you the opportunity to get off the wagon and go inside one of the 122 abandon munition storage igloos in the park, and walk through a real personnel bunker from the WWII era. You will see the railroad loading platforms that served as the primary means of getting supplies in and out of the Depot, as well as several of the abandoned military storage buildings and the entrance to the high security area known as the “Q”, where nuclear armament were stored.
Come, explore the historic Seneca Army Depot with us on this special, one-day event and Explore Deer Haven Park!
Deer Haven Park plans to re-open our bus tours in 2021!
We will be closely monitoring the COVID-19 pandemic and social distancing suggestions and regulations. As soon as we are able to provide a safe environment for our drivers, tour guides and guests, we will once again open our bus tours for reservations. Keep an eye on our website for more details!
Stop by and Discover Deer Haven Park!