If you’re looking for a visit with Santa that is a little more unique than heading to your local mall, check out one of these memorable opportunities! – Jennifer Oxenford
American Helicopter Museum
Saturday December 17th
1220 American Boulevard
West Chester, PA
Surprise your kiddos with the most unique entrance by Santa they’ll have ever seen at the American Helicopter Museum on Saturday, December 17th at 11 a.m. when the big guy arrives via whirly bird! Bring your cameras for a photo and enjoy holiday refreshments and activities. Family helicopter rides are available for an additional fee.
6th and Race Streets
Head to Philly’s historic Franklin Square on weekends this holiday season for some historic holiday fun and (of course!) a visit with Santa. Santa visits are offered 2 – 5 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays in December. Plus, enjoy holiday music, a wintery ride on the Philadelphia Park Liberty Carousel, some Philly-themed putt-putt and even Candy Cane Shakes and other holiday themed-treats from Square Burger. Open weekends and select days through January 2nd.
137 West Knowlton Road
On Saturdays and Sundays this December, Linvilla Orchards in Media provides a countryside winter wonderland setting for your little ones’ visits with Santa. The farm is beautifully decorated in its holiday best, and even the animals have on their Christmas coats! Take the family for Christmas Caroling hayrides (runs weekends in Dec. through the 17th) at 5 and 6:30 p.m. And if you haven’t gotten your tree yet, there is always “Cut Your Own Tree,” where you can take a hayride out to select your Christmas tree. Entrance to Linvilla is free. Hayrides and other attractions are ticketed.
Running through Christmas Eve, Philly’s Love Park is home to its own Christkindl-style market complete with crafts, food and fun for the whole family. Children can visit Santa’s house, where they’ll have a seat on his lap and tell the big guy their Christmas wishes. Runs from 11 a.m. – 8 p.m. daily through Christmas Eve. Free.
West Chester Railroad Santa Express
230 E. Market St
West Chester, PA
Children will cherish a 90-minute journey on the heated Santa Express train through the Chester Creek Valley accompanied by Santa and Mrs. Claus, who join passengers at the Market Street Station and travel along until the Glen Mills stop. Enjoy unique photo opportunities aboard the train with Santa and a special treat upon returning to West Chester. Runs weekends in December through the 18th. Adults $20. Children ages 2 – 12 are $12.50 and toddlers 9 months to 23 months are $5.
The Highlands Mansion and Gardens
7001 Sheaff Lane
Fort Washington, PA
Take the whole family out to The Highlands Mansion and Gardens on December 28th from 12:30 – 2:30 p.m. for a unique visit with Santa, including a meet and greet with The Night Before Christmas illustrator, Charles Santore, and purchase a copy of the famous tales — which features The Highlands. Plus, visit with Santa and take photos (bring your own camera!) and enjoy an informal lunch and a reading of The Night Before Christmas. Kids can partake in make and take holiday crafts with the children’s librarians from the William Jeanes Memorial Library. Reservations required. Seating is limited. $12 per person includes lunch, book reading and craft materials. $19 to buy the book, too.
Lunch with Santa
Spirit of Philadelphia
Penn’s Landing (where Columbus Blvd meets Lombard Circle)
Want a truly memorable visit with Santa this holiday season? Then hop aboard the Spirit of Philadelphia for a Lunch with Santa cruise and photo opportunity. Enjoy the kid-friendly buffet, special holiday music and entertainment, and of course, a visit with Santa himself. Runs Saturday, December 10th (boarding at 11 a.m.) and Sunday, December 11th (boarding at 11:30 a.m.). Tickets are $41.90 per adult and $24.95 per child (ages 3 -12).
Family Fun Day with Santa
Simeone Foundation Museum
6825-31 Norwitch Drive
Philadelphia, PA 19153
(215) 365-SAFE (7233)
Bring the littlest car lovers out to the Simeone Foundation Museum on Saturday, December 10th from 11 a.m. – 2 p.m. for a chance to have a photo with Santa in his bright red 1916 Stutz Sleigh. Bring your own cameras. Plus, enjoy holiday food and drink available for purchase.
Jennifer Oxenford is a mother of two and the founder of phillyfun4kids www.phillyfun4kids.com your place to find free and mostly free things to do with your kids in and around this great city of motherly love. You can also follow phillyfun4kids on twitter at twitter/phillyfun4kids.