Dec 16, 2013

Finding Santa in the North Pole

“Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus.” But, where does he live? Ask anyone – young and old: “Where does Santa live?” The answer may be Alaska, New York, or Colorado and they would all be correct. I have been to several “North Poles” but not the geographic North Pole.  I’ll leave that to more intrepid explorers.

Alaska is where the spirit of Christmas lives all year long. The streets of North Pole, Alaska have Christmassy names but the main attraction is Santa’s House with the 42-foot Santa outside waiting to greet people and his reindeer are nearby. As one might expect Santa’s House has all sorts of Christmas paraphernalia. If you go to their website you can have Santa send a “personal” letter to someone.

New York State has its own North Pole nestled in the Adirondacks
near Lake Placid. It is one of America’s oldest theme parks. The North Pole is open all summer and also weekends in November and December. There are rides, shows, shops and an icy “North Pole” you can touch, but the highlight is meeting Santa and telling him your secret wishes. Visitors can feed Santa’s reindeer. This is a favorite with grandparents who visited when they were youngsters.  It is a step back into a quieter time.

Colorado has its own North Pole theme park in Cascade near Colorado Springs. Children will enjoy the more than a dozen rides including a miniature train, magic shows, feeding the goats and, of course, meeting Santa.  The quaint village in the park has plenty of shops. The park is open during the summer and on designated weekends between September and Christmas.

There is also one in Canada. Bracebridge, Ontario has a Santa village located halfway between the equator and the magnetic North Pole. They say it is where Santa spends his summer which is when the village is open.  I guess from September to December Santa and his elves are too busy making toys so the park is closed except for a few days around Christmas day.  As one might expect there are rides and other attractions.

You can take the train to the North Pole on the Polar Express.  I loved my trip with my grandchildren.  We left from Williams Depot in Arizona for a journey through the dark and quiet wilderness and made a special stop at the “North Pole” where we saw Santa and he came aboard the train to greet everyone.  We believed in Santa so we got a special bell in keeping with the story line in the book. The experience is based on “The Polar Express,” the classic children’s book by Chris Van Allsburg.  New York State has seven locations where people can depart on the Polar Express including Utica. The train ride is so popular that tickets sell out fast.  

Santa can be spotted in many places when he is not at the North
Pole including Santa Claus, Indiana where they have a 22-foot tall Santa statue “Dedicated to the children of the world.” And, Santa loves a parade especially when he can be seen riding on a float waving to his adorning fans.  I think Santa’s favorite parade is Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade in New York City.   Santa and his elves have to work hard most of the year so they have time to make appearance in parades, stores, and other places.