How is it I have never visited Santa's Village in Bracebridge before?
For the last nine years, my family has made the trek to Muskoka to spend a week at Clevelands House. The kids program at Cleve's has traditionally bussed the kids to Santa's Village for the day for some off-site fun. Although we've heard stories from our kids, we've never actually experienced the charm first hand, until recently when I was invited to experience Santa's Village for myself.
Santa's Village is an Ontario landmark, nestled in Muskoka's Enchanted Forest, halfway between the North Pole and the equator on the 45th parallel. Rumour has it, it's Santa's summer home of choice. It opened its doors 58 years ago and has welcomed almost 6 million visitors since its debut in 1955.
If there's one word that comes to mind for me after spending a day at Santa's Village? Charming!
From the minute you walk through the gate and are handed an elf cap to wear, a sense of good, old-fashioned family fun permeates the place. My kids are nine and twelve, old enough to be easily bored. But they weren't — not for a minute. They were in kid heaven!
First stop was Santa's Rollercoaster. This is not a Behemoth. It's a family-friendly, just-scary-enough ride that my kids adored. Pictures don't lie. How cute is this (my husband had the most fun of all!)
As well as the rollercoaster, there's a mini train ride, a river boat ride, swan ride, the Jumpin' Star drop ride, a quaint merry-go-round, bouncy castles, a newly expanded splash pad and other kid friendly fun. And, just like the venerable CNE, there are a bunch of carny games to be played and prizes to be won, once again evoking a simpler time.
Of course, Santa is there with Mrs. Claus, waiting to put you and your kids on the naughty or nice list. You can only guess which list I'm on this year. Oy!
Speaking of sweet and salty, the food on the property is as expected. Greasy burgers, fries, and dogs will make the kids happy. A variety of onsite sandwiches are available as well. We found some delicious smoothies made with fresh fruit and frozen yoghurt. And the big news is this year you can snack on Beaver Tails which just set up shop at Santa's Village. Be warned though, if your kids have nut allergies like mine does, there are a lot of nut toppings which meant my daughter had to stay away from the tails this time. If you want to bring your own food, there's even a place for families to picnic.
After snacks, we headed to Sportsland which is especially great for older kids. My son and hubby both jumped into the automatic batting cage to hit a few, while my daughter tried out her somersaults on the brand new bungee trampoline.
Definitely one of the highlights of the day was the go kart racing. While I grabbed my awesome new Samsung Camera and staked out a great vantage point, my family strapped themselves into colourful go karts and hit the track. These little machines can really move, and I admit my stomach lurched a couple of times when my twelve-year-old side-swiped another vehicle. But he was in heaven. I was equally thrilled snapping photos like a professional photographer.
Look at these awesome shots taken while the go karts were moving at around 20mph.
Santa's Village is a sweet throwback to the kind of family fun that makes memories. It's safe, simple, and a great place to spend a day with your kids.
Here's the part where I scored YOU a discount. While I was at Santa's Village getting the tour, I spoke to Jamie, one of the owners, and asked him if he would extend a discount to YMC members. If you'd like a discount coupon to Santa's Village this summer courtesy of YMC, click HERE to be on Santa's Nice List. Once you sign up, you'll receive a BOGO 50% coupon PLUS 33% off Sportsland Tickets!
As traditional and old fashioned as Santa's Village is, their website www.santasvillage.ca is very useful. You can find out more about all the different rides, entertainers, and ticket prices on the site. And best of all, you can buy your tickets in advance online so you don't have to wait in line!
Have a great time and give Santa a kiss for me :)