Classic characters 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, beginning Nov. 27 through Dec. 24. Children can also share their wish list with St. Nick at Santa's Cottage, which is open at the Katy Depot in Frontier Park Saturdays from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sundays from noon until 6 p.m. St. Charles Christmas Traditions is located along historic Main Street in St. Charles. Get the details.
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. 12 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. Get the details.
At this cottage in downtown Belleville, Illinois, kids can have a photo taken with Santa weekdays Nov. 30 - Dec. 18 from 6 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.; Sundays noon to 6 p.m. (with a break from 3 to 3:30 p.m.); and Saturdays from noon to 8:30 p.m., with a break from 5 to 6 p.m. Santa kicks off his season Nov. 27, with hours from 1 to 4:30 p.m. and 7 to 8:30 p.m., and a special sing-a-long from 6 to 7 p.m. Last-minute visitors can drop by Dec. 21 from noon to 5 p.m. and 6 to 8:30 p.m., Dec. 22-23 from noon to 9 p.m. (with a break from 5 to 6 p.m.), and Dec. 24 from 10 a.m. to 1 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, Illinois, 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. Nov. 14 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 Rd., Eureka, MO, 63069. Get the details.
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. 5-6, Dec. 12-13, and Dec. 19-20, or dinner Dec. 18-21. Prices range from $18-24, and children 2 and under are free. Parking and photos are included. Reservations are required. Saint Louis Zoo is located at 1 Government Dr., St. Louis, MO, 63110. Call 314-646-4897 or visit our Events Calendar for more information about Breakfast and Dinner with Santa at the Saint Louis Zoo.
Think Santa only travels by sleigh? Think again! Greet St. Nick as he arrives by boat on Sunday, Dec. 6, at the Boathouse in Forest Park. Children (and dogs!) can visit with Santa and have their photos taken from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. The Boathouse is located at 6101 Government Dr., St. Louis, MO, 63110. Get the details.
Breakfast with Santa at The Magic House
Share flapjacks with St. Nick on Dec. 6 and Dec. 13, 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 Rd., Kirkwood, MO, 63122. Get the details.
Santa Arrives at the Museum of Transportation
Santa will visit the Museum of Transportation with live reindeer. Visit with the jolly man Friday, Nov. 27 between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. or Saturday, Dec. 12 from 1 to 4 p.m. Admission to the Museum is $8 for ages 13 and up; $4 for kids 3 to 12. The Museum of Transportation is located at 2933 Barrett Station Rd., Kirkwood, MO 63122. Get the details.
Santa Party at the Youth Activity Park
All ages are invited to take a photo with Santa, make a craft, decorate a holiday treat, drink hot chocolate and play festive games at the first-ever Santa Party Saturday, Dec. 5 at the Youth Activity Park in Dardenne Prairie. Register for one of two sessions, 9 to 10 a.m. or 10:30 – 11:30 a.m. There is a $10 fee. Youth Activity Park is located at 7801 Highway N, Dardenne Prairie, MO, 63368. Get the details.
KCS Holiday Express at Union Station
Visitors can meet Jolly Ol' St. Nick and tour three decorated train cars when the KCS Holiday Express arrives at Union Station Monday, Dec. 14, from 10 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. The event is free, and no tickets are required. St. Louis Union Station is located at 1820 Market St., St. Louis, MO, 63103. Get the details.
Editorial Assistant Tyne Benesek contributed to this article.
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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