As voted by Trekaroo families, here are the Reviews of the Day from back in the day to today.
There's a reason why locals visit Santa's Workshop year after year in winter and in summer since 1949- it's a blast for families with children of all ages! Definitely geared toward the younger crowd, though, the park was super fun for my 13 year-old daughter and we enjoyed our visit tremendously.
LOCATION AND PARKING
Santa's Workshop is located in North Pole, NY. Yep, that's right. Getting to the park is a breeze from Lake Placid (one turn off the main drag and you're there) and families from all over New York and surrounding areas have made it a yearly tradition.
Parking is free and there's plenty of room with an overflow lot across the street just in case.
WHAT WE LOVED DURING OUR VISIT
From the second we stepped out of our car, we knew we were in for something special. Christmas music was being played and we really enjoyed listening to it during the short walk to the ticket booth.
When you walk through the gates, it's like a joyful feeling rushed over us. We visited just after a snowstorm blanketed the entire area with about a foot of snow (no worries, the roads were perfect!), and I feel it really added to the ambiance of the park.
The rides at Santa's Workshop are geared toward younger children under 48 inches tall and 75 pounds. Those meeting the limits can ride on the spinning Bobsleds, Ferris Wheel, Peppermint Swings, Bounce house, & Christmas Tree Ride. For those that are over the limit like we were, there's still some options for you: Candy cane express, Santa's Sleigh Coaster, & the Christmas Carousel.
Santa's Workshop also has fun shops including a candy store, toy store, Reindeer Barn, & St. Nicholas' Chapel. Not only are they a blast to visit, but they were a fine respite from the chilly December weather.
Tannenbaum the Talking Christmas Tree was funny and entertaining after the park shows, and there's a wood-fire S'mores pit should you wish to make a sweet treat. S'mores kits can be purchased in the shop adjacent to Tannenbaum if you forget to bring the fixings from home.
Santa is on site to get the scoop on what visiting children want for Christmas. If he's on your must-see list during your stay, make him a top priority as the line gets very lengthy.
A "cool" feature of the park is The Frosty North Pole. Always cold and surrounded by snow even in summer, the pole is a fun spot for photos and kids will be asking all day how Santa managed to keep it chilled.
All of the "elves" are dressed in brightly-colored costumes, and they are filled with happiness an d glee just like Santa's Elves should. Every time we walked by one or had a question for one, they gave us kind answers and always ended the conversation with "Merry Christmas!" Nice touch, Santa's Workshop.
WHEN CAN I VISIT?
Santa's Workshop is open year-round, which is fun, especially in July for Christmas in July. We were visiting the area in December so it turned out great that we could check it out in winter, but I can definitely see the appeal during the summer months and the moderate climate that Upstate New York tends to have.
And the Verdict is...?
Christmas fun for everyone! We loved our visit to Santa's Workshop and I would highly recommend it to families with children of all ages visiting the area.
As SoCal natives, my family has been to the LEGOLAND theme park in Carlsbad numerous times. It was with a bit of hesitation that I contemplated a LEGOLAND Discovery Center visit as I felt it would possibly be just a small, less exciting version of the parks. I was totally wrong.
LEGOLAND Discovery Center, Kansas City is an all inclusive LEGO focused imaginative experience. Although it does boast a few rides, the focus of the entertainment venue is on active creativity, and because everything is indoors, kids can play year-round.
Upon entering the center, you’ll head first to the LEGO Factory where workers lead families in a guided tour of how plastic is transformed into finished LEGO bricks. Kids can choose to simulate paint colors on the bricks on the computer, and can help crank the wheels and processes that make the LEGOs come to life.
After you finish learning about LEGO production, you’ll have the opportunity to ride the first ride, Kingdom Quest. The interactive ride uses laser guns where kids can play against each other, all battling to save the LEGO kingdom from evil invaders. The ride is very fun, although very young children might be frightened by the dark lights and “creepy” bad guys.
My favorite exhibit in the center is definitely MINILAND. Similar to its theme park land cousins, this land features 1.5 million LEGO bricks recreating the Kansas City skyline, major venues, and historic spots. Periodically, the lights lower and offer a glimpse at the night skyline, which is a stunning site to see. Although kids might not be able to point out every building in the exhibit, they will no doubt be motivated to use their own LEGOs for creative and imaginative endeavors at home.
To help aid the creative spirit, LEGOLAND Discovery Center boasts numerous work stations where kids can let their imaginations soar. Kids love making cars to race at the Build and Test LEGO Racers tracks. No guessing is required to figure out the winner, the tracks are computer monitored and winners are announced, even if they are as close as a hundredth of a second! Build a tall building and test its earthquake readiness at the Earthquake Tables where your newly built creations will be rocked and rolled by a moveable table simulating earthquakes. For advanced building techniques, take part in the Model Builder Academy where master builders help your little ones build exceptional models in a step-by-step guided lesson. The smallest visitors can build safely in DUPLO Village where soft, larger bricks are perfect for little hands.
Mental stimulation is fantastic, but kids will often need a break. In LEGO City, little ones can climb, jump, run, and slide through a brightly colored and LEGO themed play structure. Parents can relax while kids discover the “City” grounds; parents must personally escort their kids to and from this area as a great safety feature. In addition to play time, the Discovery Center features an additional ride, Merlin’s Apprentice, that brings kids as high in the sky as they can pedal. A 4D LEGO Studio features a revolving line up of short films full of laughs and a in-your-face surprises.
If you have a birthday or a large group, you can reserve a birthday room for your family. The LEGO café features kid-friendly fare for both parties and general guests. The last stop in your tour is a visit to the massive LEGO shop- no doubt your little ones will find something they are in love with here.
Bottom Line: LEGOLAND Discovery Center is an incredibly fun place to go with kids. They will be entertained, inspired to use their imagination, and will undoubtedly fall asleep early after all the active fun. Families could easily enjoy 2-3 hours or more inside the Discovery Center.
Disclosure: I received complimentary admission for the purpose of this review. I was not required to state any particular view; all opinions are my own.
My four year old and I parked in the East parking lot and took a short winter hike on the Billy Goat C Trail. I'd say that we only walked about a third of the trail, about 3/4 of a mile, before reaching the towpath and returning to the parking lot for about a mile total.
It was a nice short hike for my four year old - but I'd caution bringing younger children. There is a place where the trail passes over a creek with a waterfall; the footing is tricky, and my adventurous four year old needed a lot of help. The trail also runs very close to a fast moving part of the Potomac (maybe even closer than Billy Goat B).
It is a fun hike in the winter because the views are grander.
I look forward to exploring the rest of the trail. My four year old has told me that he likes Billy Goat B better because the rock climbing is more fun though.
The Four Seasons is renowned for it's amenities, it's staff, and it's attentiveness to the smallest detail. This holds true for the Westlake Village rendition. From the valet to the front desk, everybody top to bottom was flawless in their execution of service. It allowed me to understand firsthand why the Four Seasons sets the bar for hotels worldwide.
True to form, as soon as my wife and I step out of the car at the valet the bellhop takes my bags and I'm escorted to the front desk where I meet Hillary. I told her my name, and off-the-cuff she knows both my daughters names. You don't find that kind of service anywhere. It was very impressive. After checking assume she stepped out from behind the counter and showed us when where the activities were going to be throughout the weekend. The hotel in general was dressed to the nines for the holiday and you get a feel for it as soon as you walk in the door. It is something I subconsciously noticed but wasn't able to take it all in until we hit our room.
The room is standard size with two double beds And elegantly appointed. The bathroom in and of itself is large enough to accommodate a family of four. The separate shower/bath tub set up was a Godsend as the women in my family take a considerable amount of time to get ready. The room that we were given looked out upon the grounds that was the lady that were well taken care of and seemingly very welcoming.
The indoor pool and fitness center were amazing. The Four Seasons thought of everything. Accommodations for children and handicapped persons were readily available and the arcade adjacent to the fitness center was free of charge. The most pleasant surprise of all on our last day there was the discovery of A kids center and a teen lounge. Both were well-equipped to suit the appropriate age groups and the kids center kept my kids entertained for hours.
I played arcade games with my kids and pool with my eight-year-old. I'm not ashamed to say that my eight-year-old beat me in air hockey once.
In general the place felt so welcoming that my eight-year-old wanted to walk around and investigate the grounds by herself and with the influx of kids there for the Let It Snow event, there was no shortage of new friends to play with . My wife and I objected, but it's nice to know she felt comfortable enough to do so.
I wish I could say that this Four Seasons was a shining example of what a Four Seasons should be. But I can't. It is simply the way the Four Seasons does things that sets it apart from every other hotel I've ever stayed at. This stay reinforced the fact that in the hotel game it's the Four Seasons and then everybody else.
*The stay at the Four Seasons was comped. The views expressed are my own and in no way influenced one way or another
We visited the National Christmas Tree on a weekday afternoon. I am sure that it is more beautiful lit up at night, but I was a bit disappointed - considering it is the National Tree. It can get very windy out there on the Ellipse in the winter, bundle-up.
First, if you plan on visiting, keep in mind that the area around the Christmas tree can be closed due to security at the White House. I'm not sure how often this area closes down - but the last two times I've been in the area, it has briefly been closed so that a motorcade can pass through. No, the security guards will not tell you how long the closure will be - it typically is brief though (10-15 min. maybe).
My son loved the model train set-up around the tree. There are 8-10 trains running. Only a few run all the way around the tree.
Santa's workshop is open Friday -Sunday. We missed it - it's just a small trailer set-up in a Christmassy theme though.
The Christmas trees representing each state are rather small -I'm sure they are more impressive lit up.