Best Places in Colorado to Visit Santa
From the Mall to the North Pole, Santa is Ready for Kids
By Steve Graham
Before Santa comes down your chimney on Christmas Eve, he needs your kids’ wish lists — and you need photos of the kids on his lap. But where to find him? Here are some of Colorado’s best Santa visits this year. Use the comments to let us know where else you like to visit with jolly old St. Nick.
Flatiron Crossing mall
Many stores draw shoppers with a Santa, but Broomfield’s biggest mall takes it to the next level with the immersive Santa HQ, designed by HGTV. While waiting for their photo opportunity, kids can play in a rocket-themed workshop that includes Elf-Ray Vision, a Naughty or Nice O’Meter and elfie videos. The Santa HQ is open every day through Christmas Eve, with an opportunity for pet pics with Santa on Thursday, Dec. 6, and an ugly sweater party on Thursday, Dec. 13. For more information and reservations, click here.
Phillip S. Miller Park
Castle Rock is also pulling out all the stops for Christmas, but only for one afternoon, so mark your calendars. Phillip S. Miller Park on Plum Creek Parkway hosts the Reindeer Games from 3 to 6 p.m. Friday, Dec. 14. Live reindeer (no guarantees about glowing noses) will join Santa amid sleigh rides, games, a 1-mile Winter Express train ride and a kids’ obstacle course. Every kid who finishes the obstacle course will get an elf buddy. Click here for information.
North Pole Colorado
A theme park near Colorado Springs celebrates Santa all year, but is in high gear around Christmas. The North Pole Colorado in Cascade has rides, holiday shows, magic tricks, shopping and Santa’s Workshop. The park is open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. most days through Christmas Eve, but is closed for toy making times on Tuesdays and Wednesdays. Take a few friends; group discounts are available online. For tickets and information, visit the website.
Every train fanatic should meet Santa on a train at least once, and there are plenty of great opportunities in Durango, Georgetown and Golden, but our favorite Christmas train is on the Royal Gorge Route. Through Dec. 30, chug from Cañon City out to Santa’s workshop, all the while enjoying stunning views of the Gorge, sipping on hot cocoa and singing carols. The service also includes hot meals from the grill, and a full bar including festive holiday cocktails. For tickets and more information, click here.
Cherry Creek Shopping Center
If you are more interested in piloting Santa’s sleigh than being a train conductor, fly over to Cherry Creek, where Santa’s Flight Academy is setting up shop. Kids can get a cadet badge, then try on a virtual flight suit and help the reindeer fly across the world. The academy is open every day through Christmas Eve, but keep in mind that Santa takes cookie breaks at 1:30 and 5:30 p.m. You can also create the cadet badge in advance, then just print it at the kiosk and save a few minutes. Click here for details.
If one sedentary Santa isn’t your speed, head to Breckenridge with a costume and join hundreds of jolly look-alikes in the Race of the Santas on Saturday, Dec. 8. The festivities begin with a dog parade at 3:45 and the reindeer run at 4:20. The Santa race follows at 4:30, before the Lighting of Breckenridge and the chance to meet St. Nick and snap photos. A round of caroling karaoke closes out the event, from 7 to 9 p.m. Click here for lodging deals and more information.
Instead of hundreds of running Santas, see one swimming Santa in Denver. Every weekend and holiday morning from Dec. 9 to 24, the Downtown Aquarium offers breakfast with Santa starting at 8:30 a.m. Meet Santa and take photos, but keep an eye on the tanks. Santa might go for a dip to collect wish lists from Sharkey and his other underwater pals. The breakfast includes half off all exhibits, so you could spend the rest of the day exploring the aquarium. Click here for information, or call 303-561-4450 for reservations.
Outlets at Castle Rock
Finally, we give a nod to the Outlets at Castle Rock. While many of the above events are really exciting, they can cause sensory overload for some children with special needs. So the outlet mall offers a warm and quiet environment from 10 a.m. to 11 p.m. Sunday Dec. and 9. Sensory activities and books are designed to help reduce behavioral triggers. Click here for information.