Christmas in July?! 10 reasons to visit Santa’s Village!
Have some time to travel with kids? Why not take them to visit the man in red himself at Santa’s Village in Bracebridge, Ontario. Sure, you can visit cottage country and do the usual camping, boating, and fishing or you can get that Christmas fever a little early! Here are our top 10 reasons why you should visit Santa’s Village this summer.
1. Um, did we mention it’s Christmas in July?!
Who doesn’t love the Christmas season?! The music. The baking. The frostbite weather. Okay, no one really loves the winter weather in Canada, do they? Sure, being tucked in under the covers or cozying up next a crackling fireplace seems nice, but you can save all that for later. Santa’s Village is an outdoor amusement park that is packed with family fun and it’s Christmas themed! The park is best enjoyed during the summer months when the weather is comfortable and suitable for enjoying rides, games, and playing in the giant splash pad! We went on a perfect summer day and the bubs was able to run around, feed the animals, and go on rides without being too hot (thank you Muskoka tree canopies). Now, if you’re into the whole cold weather thing, the park is open on weekends during the colder months as well, with many special events going on.
2. The Rides!
The park is called Santa’s Village and it didn’t really get us thinking of roller coasters, ziplining, and splash pads and yet it has all those things! The park is loaded with activities to do including rides that are suitable for younger children, like the Candy Cane Express Train, and for older children, like the Peppermint Penguin Roller Coaster – okay, am I the only one that feels like candy – well played, Santa’s Village, well played. Our son had the best time on the Santa’s Sleigh Roller Coaster and asked to go on it over and over (and over, and over… seriously kids are relentless). Unlimited rides are included in the price of entry and there are other activities, like carnival games, that the kids can partake in for an additional cost. Kids always win a prize so the extra cost is worth it. The park is a perfect place to have a Christmas themed family adventure in the summer.
3. Loads of extra Activities
Speaking of extra activities, Santa’s Village has something for everyone! You want to play carnival games – they have it. You want to go on a Scavenger Hunt- they have it. You want to feed animals, including Santa’s Reindeer – they have it! You name it, Santa’s Village has it. If kids are in the mood to expend some energy, you might want to pop over to Elves Island where they can climb a huge rope ladder, go down numerous slides, and even participate in some tree-top activities (with safety harnesses, of course!). If your kids are more into carnival type games, you’ll be happy to know that for every game there is a winner. If you want a more relaxed experience, perhaps taking out one of the paddle boats is more your thing. For a little break, you may want to stop by the outdoor theatre and see some local talent that’s fun for the whole family!
4. The man in red, himself!
He’s jolly, he’s rosy, and he has the power to make all your kid’s dreams come true. He also has the power to get your kids to eat their vegetables. C’mon, all of us parents have used the “Santa’s watching” threat. Now you can remind your kids that they better not pout or cry or shout and they may actually take you seriously! Your kids can meet Santa and the lovely Ms. Claus at his cabin, take photos on his lap and even get an Elf hat! Santa can also be seen walking around the park talking to kids and taking pictures. If you’re really into the Santa Claus experience, your kids can have a nice big breakfast with Old St. Nick (complete with delicious Ontario maple syrup!) between 9:30 am and 10:30 am during the summer months.
5. The bathrooms (and nursing room)!
We know what you’re thinking. Who gets excited about bathrooms? Well, our family does! When you have a hyper toddler and 6-month old, getting your kid to wash their hands is hard enough at home, let alone in a busy public bathroom. Santa’s Village does a wonderful job of having sinks that are short enough for little ones to wash their hands without you having to lift them up two feet off the floor. Besides no one wants their kid’s shirt to have that wet line from the sink in all the pictures. For the more private mama, there is a nursing room which allows you to take care of your baby’s needs in a comfortable and quiet place.
6. Santa’s Village Special events
Santa loves to celebrate all year ‘round! Santa’s Village is open every day during July and August, and some weekends during spring and winter. As if having a Christmas theme park wasn’t enough, there are so many fantastic special events that go on to get into a festive spirit. For instance, in the fall, the park is open to celebrate Halloween with their Silly Spooky Halloween. As it gets closer to Christmas, you better bundle up because Santa’s Fest runs during the month of December. Kids can enjoy making crafts, cookie decorating, and more.
7. Sportsland and Zip Lining for the older kids (and kids at heart!)
If you have older kids who enjoy having a little more fun than what’s found in the main park, Sportsland will have them engaged for hours! There are go-karts, a bungee trampoline, a climbing wall, an arcade, and kids can play mini golf and laser tag (and so much more!). We didn’t visit this part of the park as our kids are too small, but from what we saw kids (and some adults) were having a fantastic time. While admission is free, there is a pay-as-you-play system which lets you pay for points that can be used for the various activities. If your kid is really brave, they can also visit the Muskoka Zip Lines and Aerial Park situated around Santa’s Village for an additional cost.
8. The Shade!
As an outdoor park, having shaded areas is a concern for most families. With a small baby and toddler, this was especially a concern for us. I personally am prone to sunstroke and I tend to overheat really quickly and become very dizzy and nauseous while I’m under direct sun. More concerning to us, however, is ensuring that the baby and the little man have enough shade if they need a bit of a rest from the sun. Well, we can tell you that Santa’s Village does shade like no other park we’ve been too. Okay, it helps that the park is situated in the beautiful, lush Muskoka forest of trees and foliage that provide ample amount of shade, but they also make sure to have areas that are not covered by trees shaded as well. Whenever we embark on a family adventure we make sure to wear hats, however, the beaming sun is relentless and needs to be taken seriously. The good news is the park is set in cottage country and there is always somewhere to get shade from the sun.
9. They offer a Season’s pass
When we heard about the option to purchase a season’s pass we wondered how a Christmas themed park could possibly have enough engagement to warrant a seasons pass? Boy were we wrong! After visiting the park, a season’s pass is an excellent option to be able to thoroughly enjoy the park without having to rush through. Visiting all the attractions, enjoying all the rides and having enough time to enjoy all the activities is challenging to complete in one day. Visiting over two or more days is a lot more comfortable and kids can have fun at the massive playground, feeding the animals and riding the paddle boats without worrying about time. If you are staying in a nearby cottage, or at Santa’s Whispering Pines Campground, you’ll want to get a season’s pass to take full advantage of all the attractions.
10. Lots of food options
Food. The most important thing for our family. Without it, everyone gets a tad bit hangry. Happy to say that Santa’s Village does well in this area. There is your typical options of pizza, burgers, chicken fingers and fries, but they also have some healthy options like sandwiches, wraps and salads and the cost of food is typical of other parks. While there are lots of options, there was a bit of confusion when we went with regards to bringing your own food. While their website states that guests are welcome to bring their own lunches to be eaten at many of the picnic benches situated in the park, when we arrived we saw a sign that stated that coolers were not allowed in the park. This was a bit of a disappointment considering that my family drinks a lot of water and I needed to keep my baby’s food cold. Without a cooler, there is no way that food would stay fresh for the whole day. Who wants to eat a warm turkey sandwich in the heat? Gross. My suggestion is to bring your kids’ individual lunch bags to pack their lunch and drinks. On the other hand, a family fun day out is a perfect excuse to treat the family. Beaver Tales, anyone? Yum!
Overall, Santa’s Village is a fantastic theme park for the kids! The attention to detail for the needs of families is really amazing. Staff are friendly and helpful and Santa and Mrs. Claus are very attentive and jolly! We are definitely going to get a season’s pass next year so we can spend more time at the park enjoying all it has to offer!
Some additional info:
- Admission is $37.95 plus tax and kids under 2 are free.
- Standard Season Passes are currently $69.99, down from $89.99 if you purchase early
- Check for coupons. We visited the Attractions Ontario website and were able to get a $5 discount for each ticket. https://attractionsontario.ca/attraction-listings/santas-village/
- Parking is free!