When and Where to See Santa
Santa's magic gets a workout this holiday season in Montgomery County, enabling him to be in multiple locations at the same time. The following guide will help families locate Mr. Kringle before he embarks on his worldwide tour on Christmas Eve.
Through December 23
Christmas and trains have been linked in popular culture for decades, making the holiday-themed departures of the Colebrookdale Railroad especially appealing. Hop "all aboard" with You-Know-Who for a merry ride from Boyertown to Pottstown. Trains run every Saturday and Sunday at 10:30 a.m., 1 and 3 p.m., and daily from December 21 through 23 at 10:30 a.m. and 1 p.m.
Through December 24
King of Prussia Mall
Two settings at King of Prussia Mall provide festive backdrops for a Santa encounter: a carousel with plenty of prancing reindeer (near Nordstrom's) and a 45-foot-tall tree with all the trimmings (near Bloomingdale's). To avoid any lines, reservations can be booked for 10-minute sessions with Mr. Kringle, with the $10 price offsetting the cost of picture packages. Our blogger got some 1:1 time with Santa, here.
Through December 24
At Montgomery Mall, the holiday's jolliest elf takes his seat from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Mondays through Saturdays and 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Sundays (with occasional breaks for reindeer-feeding). He can be found in the mall's elevator court, but the quickest way to find him is by following the sound of his booming "ho-ho-ho" echoing amid the crowds.
Through December 24
Plymouth Meeting Mall
Kids can line up to see St. Nick at Plymouth Meeting Mall from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m., Mondays to Saturdays and 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Sundays. But at 5 p.m. on Christmas Eve, he will vacate his perch and check that naughty-nice list one last time. Fast-pass arrangements can be made, and discounts for the military are offered. December 7 and 14 are pet photo nights, from 6 p.m. to closing.
SANTA WITH MRS. CLAUS
Through December 24
Willow Grove Park Mall
Most malls offer a solo Santa, but Willow Grove Park Mall gives kids the chance to meet Mrs. Claus as well. Santa and his spouse are available together from 6 to 9 p.m. during the week and from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. on weekends. Santa by himself receives wishes and poses for pictures during regular mall hours.
CHRISTMAS IN BRYN MAWR
In Bryn Mawr on December 4, you better watch out, you better not cry, for Santa Claus is comin' to town. The annual tree lighting at Ludington Library (5 South Bryn Mawr Avenue) is also when Santa arrives atop a fire truck. Families gather around the community tree, sing a few carols and enjoy - what else? - cookies and cocoa.
HATBORO TREE LIGHTING
Hatboro's holiday happening is the December 4 tree lighting, which begins at 5:30 p.m. at York Road and Main Street. The music and carols are all in anticipation of the 6:15 p.m. arrival of Mr. Claus, who then proceeds to the Union Library (243 South York Road) for visitations.
LIMERICK HOLIDAY CELEBRATION
Limerick Township welcomes the holidays at its December 4 celebration at Limerick Community Park (Zeigler Road & Swamp Pike) at 6 p.m. The event includes s'mores, a bonfire, snacks and crafts, with the red-suited elf arriving at 6:30 p.m. sharp. Photos are free.
Peter Wentz Farmstead
Peter Wentz Farmstead preserves many traditions of German culture, including Belsnickle. Although not Santa per se, he rewarded good children on Christmas Eve, usually with a gift of cakes, cookies or nuts. Bedecked in fur, this legendary character joins the December 9 candlelight tours of the Peter Wentz home, which also features Colonial music, seasonal decorations and farm animals.
Weekends December 5 - 19
From December 5 to 19, Mr. Claus relocates from his North Pole mansion to the Santa House in Lansdale. The residence, at West Main and Madison, is open Thursday (6:30 p.m. - 7:30 p.m.), Friday (6:30 p.m. - 8 p.m.) and Saturday 10:30 a.m. - noon) for wish lists and selfies.
BRUNCH WITH SANTA
Weekends December 5 - 20
Elmwood Park Zoo
One of the problems with visiting Kris Kringle is that the meeting always seems to go so quickly. Brunch with Santa at Elmwood Park Zoo, however, provides for a more leisurely setting for communicating to the Big Guy what's desired under the tree. The kid-friendly meals run weekends from December 5 to 20 with seatings at 10:30 a.m. and 12:30 p.m.
Philadelphia Premium Outlets
The December 5 tree lighting at Philadelphia Premium Outlets includes an appearance by - who else? - the North Pole's most generous resident. Speaking of generosity, the event includes a Toys for Tots drive, in which the U.S. Marines attempt to fill an entire bus with donations for needy children.
HOMETOWN CHRISTMAS PARADE AND SANTA LAND
Red Hill, Pennsburg and East Greenville
The streets of Red Hill and East Greenville resound with seasonal music and marchers at the December 7 Christmas Parade, which ends at Santa Land, aka Saint Mark's Evangelical Lutheran Church (81 Main Street Street, Pennsburg). Everyone knows Santa is a friend to animals, and this parade celebrates that bond by including horses, llamas, sled dogs and a whole menagerie of other furry friends.
SANTA'S ARRIVAL BY TRAIN
Saint Nick arrives in Ambler via rails, not sleigh, on December 10. He exits his special transport at the station (35 West Butler Avenue) at 7 p.m. and ambles up to the new Borough Hall, ready to spend 1:1 time with kids. On December 19, he'll be the guest of honor at Ambler's holiday parade, from 6 to 8 p.m.
SANTA AT SKIPPACK FIRE COMPANY
Skippack Fire Company
Jingle Bells meet firetruck bells when Santa comes to the Skippack Fire Company (1230 Bridge Road) on December 11-12, 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. Digital photos of the kids and their seasonal hero - in a setting known for honoring heroes - are free.
KOZIAR'S CHRISTMAS VILLAGE
Through January 2
Koziar's Christmas Village
With an address of 782 Christmas Village Road, it's no surprise that Koziar's Christmas Village is Santa-central this time of year. For nearly 70 years, this former farm blazes through the darkness of the bucolic countryside with more than a million lights. The walk-through attraction includes the Big Kauna himself, plus small-scale versions of a bake shop, schoolhouse, barn, mercantile and even Valley Forge encampment, all decorated for the holidays. Read about one family's Christmas Village experience in our blog.