There’s a lot of activity around what is being dubbed “The Nation’s Second North Pole.”
If you are looking for a spectacular way to spend the holidays this year, you may want to step into the season with a trip to St. Louis’s own Union Station. With a “Twas the Night before Christmas” theme, Union Station is being transformed for the holidays. Complete with “Real Santa Express Train Rides,” the spectacle begins November 18 and runs through December 30.
There’s a lot of activity around what is being dubbed “The Nation’s Second North Pole.” Included are Santa’s Workshop Experience and Elf Academy, where kids of all ages will get the chance to build their very own toy train car to take home, as well as learn what it takes to be an elf. Then, they can visit the North Pole Post Office, where it’s never too late to send your wish list to Santa. Take a stroll to Santa’s Office, where you just might see him hard at work, looking over his lists.
After seeing St. Nick, it’s time for Santa’s Reindeer Roundup. Finding all nine reindeer wins you a special prize, as you search for them throughout Santa’s village. Then, follow your nose to Mrs. Claus’s Kitchen at Gingerbread Junction, where those who hold Santa’s Express tickets can enjoy complimentary treats. Families can also purchase a gingerbread house kit to decorate together at home. On Saturdays at 5 p.m. and 7 p.m., children can enjoy storybook time with milk and cookies with Mrs. Claus. Reservations are best for this event.
Visitors will find much to do. Santa’s sleigh will be on hand to climb aboard and take photos, as well as taking memorable pictures with Mrs. Claus. One can visit Babbo Natale’s Pizzeria as well as the Fudgery, where they sing lively tunes as they make delectable fudge and candies. Gift shopping is also possible at Santa’s Toy Shop, as well as in all the wonderful shops Union Station has to offer. Keep an eye on the outdoor temperature at Santa’s Weather Station, and search for the Northern Lights in a fun walk-through maze. For those who enjoy sports, Peppermint Putt-Putt Golf will satisfy your athletic appetite, with elf caddies to assist you. Keeping with Christmas tradition, sophisticated model train exhibits will be on hand all throughout North Pole Village.
Winter fun awaits the visitor at Glacier Park, the outdoor area beneath Union Station’s Train Shed. Admission is included for those who hold Santa’s Express tickets, and $5 for those without. With events including ice skating along the 4,700-square-foot ice rink, Glacier Park is open from November 18 through January 6. Two hour sessions are available, as is skate rental. The ice is kept cold by the 200-ton ice chiller. Also featured is the Ice Slide, on which you can grab ahold of a snow tube and ride down the 9-foot high, 95-foot-long slide. Tickets are valid for up to 12 rides.
The highlight of Glacier Park lies in the spectacular fire, water, and music experience. The instillation, which cost $4 million, brings to life a 100-foot long waterfall, equipped with 50 nozzles that spray water 40 feet downward into the lake. Creating effects on the water with a 100-foot-long LED light bar makes for a magnificent light show, as eight “lotus” pods provide a fog illusion, while shooting fire 25 feet into the air. Dancing light, water, and fire are then synchronized to holiday music, creating a visual effect never before seen in St. Louis. Showtimes are 3:30 p.m., 4:30 p.m., 6 p.m., 7 p.m., and 8:15 p.m.
With more than 100.000 lights, over 1.000 yards of garland and gold lame fabric, and thousands of holiday ornaments, props, and toys, this event shines bright. Union Station has pulled out all the stops to make itself the Second North Pole. Sixty decorated Christmas trees and a village full of wonder await the visitor.
Make your Holiday shine for you and your family by visiting Union Station for their grand holiday celebration. | Marc Farr
Some events require reservations; others are payable onsite. To book tickets online, please visit www.holidaysatunionstation.com, or call 877-TWAS-STL. For questions and additional information regarding this event, dial 844-4INFO25 (844-446-3625) Group tickets are also available. Seating on Santa’s Express run from $39 to $89, depending on which class you choose.