5 theme parks where it’s always Christmas
The holiday season is officially upon us, and what better way to get in the spirit of things than to go to a place that’s completely dedicated to festive Santa-related fun?
Theme parks and carnivals are great no matter the season, but while many opt to go to some of the larger ones, there are plenty of smaller options that are just as merry. And unlike Disney, Six Flags and such, these spots offer Christmas cheer whenever they’re open — whether it’s the middle of summer or Christmas Eve.
Kick off the season right at these theme parks where it’s always Christmas.
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Santa’s Village — Jefferson, New Hampshire
There’s plenty to do at Santa’s Village, one of the most notable Christmas parks in the U.S. Open May through December, in the summer the family will love Santa’s Water Park, going down the Joy Ride Slides, running around Poogee’s Splash Pad and lazing about in the Polar Paradise or in one of Santa’s Cabanas. Come fall and winter, kiddos can feed the reindeer, play carnival games, go on an elf scavenger hunt, ride the Great Humbug Adventure and meet Kris Kringle himself. There are also year-round attractions to look forward to, including the animated 3D film “A Tinkerdoodle Christmas” as well as the daily Christmas light show, and customized gifts available, courtesy of Fezziwig’s Personalization Shop. Check out their online sensory guide to get a better idea of what to expect (as well as some accessibility options) for those visiting with someone who has sensory issues or cognitive disabilities.
The North Pole — Cascade, Colorado
Drive toward Colorado’s famous Pikes Peak and you’ll soon stumble across this vintage family theme park. Located in the foothills among gorgeous evergreens, The North Pole is a true delight, featuring visits with ol’ St. Nick and his reindeer, magic shows and over two dozen rides. Take it easy on the Antique Car Ride and Peppermint Slide, get a little more speed on the Candy Cane Coaster or simply enjoy classics like the Tilt-A-Whirl and Ferris wheel — the latter will grant you some delightful views of the surrounding Pike and San Isabel national forests. Don’t forget to pick up a s’mores pack and roast marshmallows around the fire pit while you’re here. Buy tickets online before your visit and note that during the holiday season, tickets are only released weekly to avoid cancellations due to weather.
Santa’s Workshop — Wilmington, New York
This special Christmas park in New York state prides itself on catering to Santa’s biggest believers — the 48-inch-tall-and-under set. Visit summer through winter and enjoy story times hosted by Santa’ helpers, a holiday parade, a musical “North Pole Jamboree” featuring characters like Frosty the Snowman and Chris Moose, a sweet nativity pageant and more. There are rides, too, like the fast-paced Santa’s Bobsleds and slightly more relaxed Candy Cane Express, which offers stunning views of the surrounding Adirondacks. You can also try tasty treats at Santa’s Bake Shop, find a special ornament at World of Christmas, get a personalized hat from Santa’s Hat Shop and even send your loved ones letters addressed from the North Pole at the on-site post office. Make sure to look into their Yuletide Family Weekends, when you can stay in nearby accommodations and enjoy a variety of extra activities from making ornaments with Santa’s helpers to receiving a personal visit from Santa at your lodge.
Santa’s Land USA — Putney, Vermont
A tradition for local families for more than 60 years, Santa’s Land is one of the smaller parks on our list but it’s got plenty of heart. Located on over 42 acres in the foothills of Vermont’s Green Mountains, this charming holiday hub offers visitors plenty to do in a day, from exploring Christmas dioramas and riding on the Alpine Express Train to playing a round of Christmas-themed miniature golf and snacking on sweets like pancakes, hot chocolate and more. Santa will also be there, of course, alongside his elves, and you’ll get to say hello and even drop off your own wish list to the big guy.
Santa’s Enchanted Forest — Hialeah, Florida
This annual tradition in South Florida has recently moved from Tropical Park into the heart of Hialeah, but still hopes to continue offering the same amount of Christmas cheer it has for over 30 years. From the moment you arrive, you’re met with a massive display of lights, booming Christmas music and life-size hand-crafted holiday displays. You’ll find a packed schedule with live entertainment including the Zuzu Acrobats, Cirque Equinox, the magic of Dale Scott, the Motorcycle Globe of Death and more. Enjoy carnival games like ring toss and water gun races, interactive activities like a climbing wall and mechanical bull, plus Christmas karaoke and an incredible light show every night. And if that wasn’t enough, there are rides galore (over 50, to be exact) for everyone from young kids to the biggest thrill-seekers. While this park’s only open from November through January, it’s too massive not to mention.