Wednesday, 23 November 2011 09:41

Face time with Santa Claus

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Santa greets guests at the Missouri Botanical Garden's Ridgeway Visitor Center. Santa greets guests at the Missouri Botanical Garden's Ridgeway Visitor Center. Courtesy of Missouri Botanical Garden

A letter-writing campaign to the North Pole is always effective, but if your child is hoping for a little face time with the big man himself, there are numerous opportunities to see jolly ol' St. Nick. Some require purchasing tickets, while others are free; all are sure to create a picture-perfect memory.

This story has been updated for the 2013 holiday season.

St. Charles Christmas Traditions
Characters from "The Nutcracker," "A Christmas Carol" and other classics come to life on historic Main Street in St. Charles during this free event. Listen to carolers, sample freshly roasted chestnuts and meet Kris Kringles from around the world, every Wednesday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday, Nov. 29 through Dec. 24. And new for 2013, Christmas Traditions characters are coming to life in talking postcards; find them on the Christmas Traditions Facebook page.

St. Charles Christmas Traditions is located along historic Main Street, in St. Charles, Mo. Call 1-800-366-2427 for more information.

Saturday with Santa at the Missouri Botanical Garden
Children can share their wish lists surrounded by carols and the warmth and color of the garden from 1 to 4 p.m. Dec. 14 in the Ridgeway Visitor Center. Santa time is free with garden admission.

Missouri Botanical Garden is located at 4344 Shaw Blvd., St. Louis, Mo., 63110. Call 314-577-5100 for more information.

Santa's House
At this cottage in downtown Belleville, Ill., kids can have a photo taken with Santa on weekdays from 6 to 8:30 p.m. through Dec. 19; Sundays noon to 5 p.m. through Dec. 15; and Saturdays from noon to 9 p.m., with a break from 5 to 6 p.m. Santa kicks off his season with a parade on Main Street at 10 a.m. Nov. 29, and last-minute visitors can drop by during his special hours Dec. 20-23 from noon to 9 p.m. (with a break from 5 to 6 p.m.), and Dec. 24 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Be sure to wear your North Pole gear, as the line sometimes extends outside during peak hours (though Santa's elves — members of the Optimist Club of Belleville, who also operate and maintain the house — are often on hand with cocoa).

Santa's House is located in Belleville's Public Square at the intersection of South Illinois Street and East Main Street, Belleville, Ill, 62220.

Santa's Magical Kingdom
Take every crazy dream you ever had while trying to sleep on Christmas Eve and then cover it in twinkling lights and you've got this light display, which is located at Jellystone Park Resort next to Six Flags in Eureka. Children can share their wish lists at Kringle's General Store nightly from 5:30 to 10 p.m. now through Dec. 25. Admission to the light display is $20 per vehicle; Santa photo packages are $16.95.

Santa's Magical Kingdom is located at Jellystone Park Resort, 5300 Fox Creek Road, Eureka, Mo., 63069. Call 1-800-861-3020 for more information.

Breakfast or Dinner with Santa at the Saint Louis Zoo
Get wild with Santa, Rudolph, Frosty and lots of furry critters. Children can enjoy breakfast with Santa Dec. 7-8, Dec. 14-15, and Dec. 21-22, or dinner Dec. 20-23. Prices range from $18-24, and children 2 and under are free. Parking and photos are included. Reservations are required.

The Saint Louis Zoo is located at 1 Government Drive, St. Louis, Mo., 63110. Call 314-646-4897 for  more information and reservations.

The Boathouse
Think Santa only travels by sleigh? Think again! Greet St. Nick as he arrives by boat on Sunday, Dec. 1, at the Boathouse in Forest Park. Enjoy brunch beginning at 10 a.m. and visit with Santa from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.

The Boathouse is located at 6101 Government Drive, St. Louis, Mo., 63110. Call 314-367-2224 for more information. 

Breakfast with Santa at the Magic House
Share flapjacks with St. Nick on Dec. 8 and Dec. 15, then explore the museum and make a craft. Tickets are $15 for members and $20 for nonmembers and include breakfast and admission to the museum.

The Magic House is located at 516 S. Kirkwood Road, Kirkwood, Mo., 63122. Call 314-822-8900 for more information and reservations.

Best Bets articles represent the views and the research completed by St. Louis Sprout & About journalists and are not driven by advertising or requests by vendors or venues. Best Bets do not imply an endorsement of a business or activity.

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Last modified on Friday, 29 November 2013 11:15
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