Although Halloween is still fresh in our minds, anyone with small children knows that if you haven’t already booked your “Santa Experience” now is the time to do it.
What is the” Santa Experience”? It’s a little more than what we may have been used to as kids. My memories are of going to meet Santa and having my photo taken in our local bank… and oh the excitement! A quick chat with Santa and his trusted elf, a hand full of Cadbury roses and a lucky bag later and job done, and it was FREE. Nowadays however it has become a huge part of Christmas, the official start of the festive season and what’s more, parents have bought into this concept. We spend hours trawling through the web looking for the best “Santa”, the best experience and the possibilities are endless, depending on your budget. Take a look at some of your options for Santa Experiences for Christmas 2014:
Rathwood Santa Experience, Tullow, Co Carlow
You have probably seen the advertisement on TV promising the most popular “Santa Experience” in Ireland, and this is not an empty promise either, Rathwood is indeed a magical experience which will be enjoyed by the whole family. Take a train journey through the enchanted wood to Santa’s woodland home and keep an eye out for Rudolf and the other reindeer. Watch as the children and adults alike listen attentively to Mrs. Claus and Trixie the elf relay stories of Christmas past. Post your letter in Santa’s official post box. Enjoy a hot chocolate and a special gift for each child. New for 2014, each child has the option of creating their own rag doll elf with personalised birth certificate. Don’t forget to have a go on the Christmas Carousels or have your photo taken on board Santa’s sleigh. Rathwood Santa Experience
Santa’s Winter Wonderland at Crag Cave, Castleisland, Co Kerry
What could be more magical than a tour of Santa’s festive Winter Woodland home? There is a surprise around every corner and to be enjoyed with a personal tour from one of Santa’s chatty elves… from Santa’s bedroom, the elves little bedroom complete with miniature bunk beds, Mrs Claus sitting beside the fire in the living room, snow scenes throughout and keep an eye out for Rudolf and the other reindeer. Meet Santa in his underground grotto where he will take a look in his book and tell you if you are on the good list or the naughty list and he will also double check if he has the correct order for you, just in case you have changed your mind! And while the kids enjoy an afternoon of activities and play in the soft play areas, slides and ball pool, parents can also have an enjoyable afternoon relaxing in Crag Cave’s café. And after 5pm daily, they have one more magical surprise as after dark you will be treated to an enchanting outdoor lighting display. Crag Cave Santa Experience
Santa’s Work Shop at The Aillwee Caves
We suggest you get there early as you can enjoy a host of activities before your allotted time to visit Santa. Park your car and get the “Santa train” up the hill where you can enjoy the birds of prey exhibit at 12 noon and 3pm daily, where you can get up close and personally with Eagles, Falcons, Hawks, and Owls from all over the world. Visit the Christmas shop and indulge in a treat for yourself or a little prezzie for a loved one, you are bound to find something nice in this cavern of sparkles and festive fun! Have a whizz on a ride in the carnival entertainment which has been laid on and included in your ticket price. There is face painting, puppet show and friendly elves to help you while away the time until you meet Santa in his busy workshop. Kids will be amazed at just how much Santa knows about them! And afterwards there is some festive treats available in the café for all the family. Wrap up warm though, it can get cold in the caves and bring a torch if you think your little one might be nervous in the atmospherically lit caves. Aillwee Cave Santa Experience
Santa Experience at Bunratty Folk Park
Young and old alike will enjoy soaking up the festive atmosphere in this unique setting as Bunratty Medieval Folk Village is completely transformed into a scene resembling that in a classic Christmas movie. Meet Mrs Clause who will welcome you into her home as she goes about her task of preparing Santa for his busy Christmas Eve. Listen as the Folk Park story teller relays tales of Christmas past. Keep an eye out for all the well known Christmas characters as they go about their business. You might even bump into Scrooge…but be careful he doesn’t steal your Christmas spirit!!! A complimentary glass of mulled wine and a yummy mince pie await mammy and daddy in Corry’s Traditional Irish Pub and the kids will be entertained too as they stroll through the medieval streets decked with holly and lots of festive twinkle. And of course don’t go home without popping into see Santa and his trusted elves in his Grotto. This is an experience that will stay with the whole family for years to come! Bunratty Santa Experience
Fota Island “Imagine” Santa Experience
Santa at Cork’s number one tourist attraction is a must if you are looking for an enchanting fairytale experience in magical winter wonderland setting. Visitors can enjoy all the park has to offer before taking the Santa train to visit Santa in his grotto. And of course all the good boys and girls will get a special gift from Santa’s well stocked sack of goodies. This extra special experience will ensure that every member of the family will take away a memory that is sure to last a life time! Fota Island Imagine Santa Experience
What’s happening in your area? Leave a comment, we would love to know!