The last time I visited Santa’s Workshop North Pole near Colorado Springs, was over 25 years ago. The memories of the park itself are vague, but the excitement of celebrating Christmas in Santa’s off-season is still vivid as ever. This year they celebrate 63 years in business, but somehow they are still one of Colorado’s best-kept secrets. Located on Pikes Peak Highway, Santas Workshop North Pole Colorado is the perfect place for family fun and adventure any time of year.
A few weeks ago we planned a last-minute trip to Colorado, and I could hardly contain my excitement when we were gifted with tickets to the North Pole. As always, though we were sponsored, I guarantee you I have and will always give you my honest opinion. But really, you can hardly go wrong when you get Santa involved so you know this is going to be good.
I’m so glad this trip came when it did because at 6 and 2, my kids are the perfect ages. Though it really is fun for every age, a lot of the rides are geared toward younger kids like mine. Hudson is just over 32” so he could ride most of the rides with an adult, and some even without. Harper, for once, was tall enough to ride everything!
The whole park has a kind-of nostalgic feel to it with the vintage rides and charming little cottages. You really do feel like you’re walking through a sweet little mountain village at Christmastime. Though the buildings and many of the rides have been there for years, the entire park is well-kept and refurbished while keeping the original charm.
Hudson’s favorite rides were the train and the fire truck on the Kiddie Combo ride (which he rode at least 3 times). The train was really neat for us too because as you’re chugging down the track it tells you some of the history of the park.
The vehicles on several of the rides have a funny little horn, but Hudson preferred to make his own siren sounds.
Harper was all about the iconic Peppermint Slide and the Candy Cane Coaster.
The carousel was interesting because it was built around 1919 and has been at the North Pole Colorado since the 60s.
Eight Nine of the horses were replaced with reindeer at some point to match the Christmas theme. You’d better be first in line to ride Rudolph!
If you read my Cave of the Winds post, you know that Hudson was all about Mommy that day, but I really wanted to take their pictures on the carousel. So this is the best I got…
Okay, does it make you crazy when people call Donner, “Donder?” Turns out they’re not completely wrong. A fun little fact I learned was in the poem “The Night Before Christmas,” Donner and Blitzen were originally Dunder and Blixem (which means thunder and lighting in Dutch). Then they became Donder and Blitzen (which mean, you guessed it, thunder and lightning, but in German). When the song, “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer” came out, Donder was renamed, Donner. Now I guess I have to stop correcting everyone…
Also, while my kids were riding the carousel, the big man himself approached me and wanted to discuss my children’s behavior. Luckily they were being good for a change!
He really is always watching, you guys!
Later, we went to his house for a quick visit. They take your picture and you can purchase it from them, but you can also take your own and chat and play with him for a bit. If you visit him in the summer, ask him why he’s not wearing his coat and hat.
Toward the back of the park, you can feed the deer for just $1 a cup. No, they were not REINdeer, but my kids thought they were just babies. That’s right kids. Feed the baby reindeer.
Dustin and I really enjoyed some of the rides too. Our favorite, hands down was the zip line. You hop aboard Santa’s sleigh and it pulls you way back above the trees giving you a gorgeous view. Then it releases you for a speedy flight back down to earth. Dustin managed to video their flight, but when I tried I chickened out. I needed to hold on! The upward ride back was nerve-wracking because of the anticipation, but when it releases you it comes down nice and smooth… but fast!
The main thing I remember about going to the North Pole as a kid was the North Pole itself. I couldn’t wait to surprise my kids. It was crazy hot outside, but that thing was still frozen as ever.
I told Harper to go touch that big pole…
I did not, however, tell Hudson to put his mouth on it!
How long can you keep your hand on the North Pole?
My tips to make the most of your visit:
~Choose the best date and time to go. We were there on a weekday in July, but we hardly ever had to wait in line for longer than 2 minutes (except for the zip line which was still only about 15 minutes). Our entire stay was 3.5 hours and we rode almost every single ride. I’ve heard the lines, especially to see Santa, can get pretty crazy in December. If you’re going in the summer, going early in the day will also help avoid the rain that typically hits in the afternoon.
~Take Grandma and Grandpa, and get the coupon. Ages 60+ get free admission every day! I only wish we had known this! Also, there is a $3 off coupon on their website (click here). Being in the mountains though, you may not have good cell service so print it out or take a screenshot on your phone.
~Know your kids’ heights. They have a measuring board at each ride, but it is always good to know about how tall your kids are so you’ll have an idea of how many rides they can ride. This goes for any theme park.
~Bring a stroller (or rent one) and be prepared for the hills. If you’re a Colorado resident this is probably obvious, but I’ve been a flat-lander long enough that the hills were a bit of a workout. I had debated whether we should bring the stroller or not, but we were so happy to have it! Also, wear comfortable shoes.
~Drink lots of water. This is another one for my fellow flat-landers, but really it’s important for everyone! I’ve gotten a touch of altitude sickness before, and just trust me, it’s not fun! One of the best ways to prevent it is drinking lots of water. Chug! Chug! Chug!
~Check out the shows and activities too. My biggest regret was never catching the magic show at Santa’s Show House. It was just never playing when we walked past. When you go, let me know how it is! I would have loved to see the glass blower too but he wasn’t there when we stopped by. A visit with Santa is another must!!
~Buy an ornament. Or a toy… or candy… because I mean, you’re in Santa’s Workshop North Pole! They have several toy and candy stores and poor Harper wanted to buy every single thing but she only had so much in her piggy bank back home. The only souvenirs I usually buy are Christmas ornaments and they had plenty!
~Dig out your tacky Christmas garb. There were several families all dressed up for Christmas in July, and I was so upset I hadn’t thought of this!
~Mail your Christmas cards from the North Pole Post Office. Even if you don’t go to the park, you can ship your cards to them and they will postmark them from the North Pole! Click here for more info.
~Most importantly, remember that Santa is always watching!
Planning a Colorado trip? Here’s a few other family-friendly activities we enjoyed in the area: