You have hung the stockings with care, visited moldy Aunt Ola, shopped till you dropped for Christmas gifts and now it’s time to take the kids to visit Saint Nick. Sitting on Santa’s lap is that special time for kids to pretend they’ve been good all year and ask for things that only the Jolly man himself can bring. If you’re looking for an extraordinary place to take the kiddos to see Santa this year, below is a list of the best spots in and around Los Angeles.
Nokia Plaza at L.A. Live
Bundle up the kids to see a skating Santa this year. The L.A. LIVE district comes alive with holiday spirit for the Christmas Holiday. The over 54 foot LED Christmas tree adored with more than 10,000 twinkly lights and the 70’x80′ outdoor ice skating rink located within Nokia Plaza L.A. LIVE welcome a skating Santa with open arms.
Dates: November 26th through January 5th
Time: Weekdays 5pm to 11pm Weekends 3pm to 11pm Starting on December 17th the rink will be open 12pm to 11pm every day.
Admission: $12 per person includes admission and skate rental
Fillmore & Western Railway Co.
Dinner With Santa
Dates: Friday December 9th and Friday December 16th at 5:30pm
Price: $47 per adult* $26 per child* Under 2 years old is free; child must sit on adults lap and does not include a meal. *Tax included
If extra quality time with Santa is what you seek this year, try out “Dinner with Santa” at the infamous Fillmore train station. You can have a holiday meal with the jolly man himself; let the kids tell him all about what they want for Christmas in detail and have plenty of time for lots of photographs. The meal includes either choice of spiral ham or turkey, mashed potatoes, vegetables and dessert. Space is very limited and reservations are required.
North Pole Express
Dates: November 26th and December 3rd through December 26th
Price: Adults $29 Children 2-12 years old $19 Under 2 years old free
Stay in your pajamas and bring your cuddly teddy bears for a vintage train ride to the North Pole. Santa’s elves will travel with you on your way to the North Pole, reading Christmas stories, singing Christmas carols and passing out snacks of chocolate milk and cookies to help the Christmas spirit. The train departs Santa’s Village at 6:00pm and again at 7:30pm.
Dates: December 2-4, 9-11 and the 14th though the 23rd. The first train departs at 5pm.
Admission: General Admission $7 per person is first come, first serve.
If you have a mini train enthusiast in the family then Travel Town is the place to go to get a train ride fix and visit with Santa all in one. Visit Santa among old style railroad cars and then ride the train through a festive decorated Travel Town Museum. Get your tickets in advance to ensure you can get on the train on the day you choose. Tickets can be purchased at their website and printed to bring to the will call window. Train rides are weather permitting. Don’t forget to dress warm-it’s cold in the North Pole!
Malibu Country Mart
Santa is “so” L.A. So come visit him in a sea side winter wonderland. The premier retail center-Malibu Country Mart promises to deliver a L.A. Christmas experience to remember. For the next two Saturdays families can enjoy snow, snowmen building contests, cookie decorating and more. Of course, Santa will be there, taking Christmas lists and posing for pictures with the kiddos.
Irvine Park Railroad
Join the fun and merriment of the Christmas season at the Irvine Park Railroad where the train station is transformed into a Christmas festival. Inside the festival, you can partake in family fun activities like coloring, bounce house, cookie decorating and carnival games (activities require a ticket). There is even a story book corner with books read by Mrs. Claus herself (no activity ticket required). Then when you can ride the train through the historic Irvine Regional Park to the North Pole and visit the jolly Saint Nick. You can take your own pictures of the family with Santa or you can purchase photos. Don’t forget to try the hot chocolate, it’ll warm you up!
Dates: December 2nd through December 23rd
Admission: $10 per person. Children under 24 months old are free. Activity tickets are $4 apiece. Some activities require more than one ticket to play.
If you’re looking for a full-blown immersion of Christmas spirit, there’s no better place to go than Disneyland. During the holiday season the Disneyland Resort turns into a magical winter wonderland with surprise and delight throughout. If you head over to Big Thunder Ranch in Frontierland, you’ll be greeted by Santa and his reindeer at Santa’s Reindeer Roundup. These are real life reindeer, doing what they do best-grazing in a corral and sparking the imaginations of children everywhere.
Dates: Now through January 8th 2012
Admission: Admission starts at $74, many packages are available. See website for more details.
Desiree Eaglin starts to threaten her kids with Santa’s impending visit in the month of June. She’s been known to shove a few pieces of coal in Mr. Eaglin’s stocking too. Desiree blogs at Sarcastic, Funny and Brutally Honest.