Don’t worry about missing Santa Claus if you’re traveling over the holidays.
St. Nick makes sure he reaches everyone on the “good” list no matter where they are! These unique Santa meet-and-greet experiences offer more than the just the chance to report good behavior and make gift requests. He may just show up on skis, by train, in a boat or in SCUBA gear!
1. North Pole Experience in Arizona
In the White Mountains of eastern Arizona, you can help elves build toys in Santa’s workshop. During the North Pole Experience in Flagstaff, Arizona, visitors travel through a magic portal aboard the Candy Cane Express trolley to reach the workshop. You’ll get access to Santa’s top-secret “Area 47” Sleigh Hanger and the main factory floor. Kids sit in on story time with Mrs. Claus and then meet her hubby. Lodging packages are available to make it an overnight stay. A new location in Texas will be announced soon.
2. Santa Claus, Indiana
You can find his spirit throughout the town named for him: Santa Claus, Indiana. You’ll find him at his usual haunts, including the Santa Claus Christmas Store and Santa’s Candy Castle. You can have dinner with him and the missus at Santa’s Lodge, too. After dark, families enjoy driving through the 1.2-mile Land of Lights to learn the story of Rudolph the red-nosed reindeer. While you’re there, send your mail from the local post office for the official Santa Claus postmark.
3. Santa’s Workshop in Colorado
This North Pole is actually at the foot of Pikes Peak in Cascade, Colorado, and it’s where you’ll find Santa’s Workshop, a Christmas-themed family amusement park with more than two dozen rides—including the new Santa’s Sleigh zip-line—games, shows, shops, eateries, a petting zoo and an arcade. You might catch Santa riding the miniature train, antique carousel, or aerial tram, but a visit is guaranteed in Santa’s House.
4. The Polar Express
You can ride The Polar Express on several railways this season. The evening excursion typically includes storytelling, carols and refreshments before stopping to meet Santa at the North Pole. It will be introduced for the first time this year at the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad Museum in Baltimore, Maryland. It returns to the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad departing from both Akron and Independence, Ohio; as well as the Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad in Durango, Colorado. More holiday-themed rides are available across the country and can be found in 9 Polar Express & Holiday Train Rides for Families.
5. Stylish Arrivals
Accompanied by Chuck Berry’s “Run Run Rudolph,” Santa zooms into the National Corvette Museum in Bowling Green, Kentucky on December 5, 12, and 19, 2015, driving a bright red Corvette. In Asheville, North Carolina, Santa will rappel more than 200 feet at Chimney Rock State Park on December 5 and 12. Families are invited to watch Santa’s daring climb, and check out the 75-mile panoramic views from the top for themselves.
Claus can also canoe. On the 13th, he’ll sail into Waikiki Beach, Hawaii in an outrigger, greeted by children performing hula at the Outrigger Hotel. On Christmas Eve, he’ll do the same at the nearby Halekulani hotel.
6. Skiing the Slopes
7. Parading Around
At Stone Mountain Park near Atlanta, Georgia, the annual Christmas celebration (November 7, 2015 to January 3, 2016) includes a nightly parade including Santa, as well as the Snow Angel, who flies over the crowd before the fireworks finale. In Fort Lauderdale, Florida, Santa will be the grand marshal of the Seminole Hard Rock Winterfest Boat Parade on December 12. In Iberia Parish, Louisiana, he’s part of the annual Christmas Boat Parade on Bayou Carlin in Delcambre. A cowboy Santa will greet guests at the historical Stockyards National Historic District in Fort Worth, Texas on December 5. Before the Christmas parade, kids can participate in Cow-Camp and cheer on the armadillo races.
8. Scuba Santa
“SCUBA Claus” gets suited up at the Georgia Aquarium in Atlanta, Georgia, then plunges into the world’s largest aquatic habitat to swim with whale sharks and manta rays. Look for him during the noon and 12:30 p.m. dive shows from November 21 to December 24. At the Hawaiian Aquarium, part of the Maui Ocean Center in Wailuku, Hawaii, SCUBA Claus and his sidekick Elf visit during the 12 Days of FISH-mas, December 14 to 25.
9. California Surf
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