USA Travel

FanSided is celebrating Christmas in July, so why not plan a family visit to Santa’s Workshop in North Pole, Colorado?

You won’t even have to brave the Arctic temperatures nor travel as far as you might think, because there’s a North Pole at the foot of Pikes Peak, only 20 minutes from downtown Colorado Springs. The North Pole in Cascade, Colorado, is a Christmas-themed amusement park that is a lot of fun for visitors of all ages, but especially for families with young children.

Santa accompanies a group of happy passengers aboard the Santa Train at North Pole, Colorado. Photo courtesy North Pole / design rangers.

The park, located within the pine forest on the flanks of Pikes Peak, features over two dozen classic rides, Christmas-themed shops, snack bars, and restaurants, and a magic show. Summer is actually the best time to visit this North Pole, as the weather is ideal for outdoor activities, and admission to the park is free until November. That’s right, free admission: You’re welcome to just show up and stroll the paths that wind throughout the park, browse the charming shops for toys, gifts, ornaments, and souvenirs, or enjoy a picnic in the pavilion.

Young riders enjoy the Mini-Himalaya ride, with the Peppermint Slide and Tilt-A-Whirl in the forested background of North Pole, Colorado. Photo courtesy North Pole / design rangers.

While park admission is free from May through October, you’ll still need to purchase a pass to enjoy the rides, and I recommend at least the basic pass for every member of the family and the unlimited pass for the true adventurers. (Kids age 2 and under ride free with a paid adult.) Youngsters will love to drive miniature antique cars around a guided track, ride the Candy Cane roller coaster, and slide down the spiraling Peppermint Slide. Adults might want to join the young ones to hop aboard Santa’s train and the skyride, or ride the ferris wheel for great views of the park and the surrounding Rocky Mountain scenery.

The sky ride at North Pole, Colorado offers sweeping views of the park and mountain scenery for riders of all ages. Photo courtesy North Pole / design rangers.

Of course, it wouldn’t be the North Pole without Santa’s Workshop. Santa is here every day that the park is open, visiting one-on-one with the kids. Of course, photo packages are available for purchase.

When your legs need a rest from the winding and hilly paths that link the rides and shops, refuel in a shady spot near the Carousel Cafe, which serves chicken nuggets, corn dogs, burgers, and other kid-pleasing fares. Plan to come back near the end of your North Pole adventure to indulge your crew with a sweet treat like funnel cake, hot chocolate, or ice cream.

Reservations are required and an entrance fee is charged in November and December when the park is most busy with families eager to see Santa Claus and share their holiday wishes and gift requests with the jolly old elf.

By the way, the North Pole website advises you to dress in layers, and as a former resident of Colorado Springs, I encourage you to follow this advice. The weather can turn from comfortable to chilly in mere minutes along the Front Range of the Rockies, and afternoon showers are common in the summer months.

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