Santa is all over central Iowa this holiday season. There are plenty of locations and times to let your kiddos tell Santa what they want for Christmas. Check out the list below. It is early, so it is very likely I may be missing YOUR event. If I am, please e-mail me. All dates are also on our event calendar.
Animal Rescue League; Several locations & Times – Check here for the entire list!
November 2 – 29
Join the Animal Rescue League for the 31st Annual Santa N Paws. Bring the whole family, humans and pets alike, for a photo to celebrate the 2017 holiday season. You don’t even have to own a pet, or even bring them to participate, holiday photos of any kind are welcome. Santa will be there to take photos with you as well.
Octagon Center of the Arts
6 to 8 p.m.
Join the Octagon Center of the Arts to celebrate the opening of the Festival with refreshments, holiday music and holiday craft activities for the kids. Visit Santa from 6 to 8 p.m. opening night.
Valley West Mall
6 to 8 p.m.
Enjoy free train rides, coloring, crafts, balloon animals, treats and entertainment for the whole family. Event will begin with Santa Parade at 6 p.m. in front of Younkers Court to Center Court. Santa will be available beginning Saturday, November 11 through Christmas Eve. Check here for hours.
November 11 & 12
11 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Come see Santa and Mrs. Claus. Take a picture and receive a special keepsake.
5 to 8 p.m.
Join us for the 9th year of welcoming THE one and only Santa at Bass Pro Shops Altoona! Megan Reuther emcees the holiday festivities, along with our Pro Staff Lance Baker, Chance Patrick, and Rod Woten. Join us for giveaways, holiday music and welcome Santa!
6 to 8 p.m.
Join Historic Valley Junction for “Jingle Bell Drop” on Thursday, November 17. This is a NEW event to help kick off “Jingle in the Junction” series (held November 30, December 7 & December 14; 5 to 9 p.m.). The businesses in Historic Valley Junction and the streets will be lined with over 150,000 twinkling lights.
Santa will be arriving in Valley Junction to drop Jingle Bells on Maple Street.Each Jingle Bell will include a free prize.
Brenton Skating Plaza
6 to 8 p.m.
As part of the East Village Holiday Promenade, Brenton Skating Plaza will host Santa and light the tree to kick off the opening day at Brenton Skating Plaza. Santa will be on hand at Brenton Skating Plaza from 6 p.m. until 6:30 p.m. and then Santa will head on over to LifeServe Blood Center where he’ll be available until 8 p.m.
Ankeny Market & Pavillion
6 to 7 p.m.
Kick off the Holidays with the 3rd Annual Mayor’s Tree Lighting event. Start a new tradition at this event where all ages will enjoy festive entertainment, holiday crafts, a visit from Santa, hot cocoa and more.
Jordan Creek Town Center
6 pm – 7 pm
Santa arrives at Jordan Creek Town Center and lights the tree with fireworks.
Boone & Scenic Valley Railroad
November 24 – December 17
Check here for all the details!
This is a yearly tradition at the Boone & Scenic Valley Railroad’s depot. Then entire family can enjoy a trip to the “North Pole”. On your way to visit Santa at the North Pole you will sing songs, fun activities, and more! You will also be served hot chocolate and a cookie, and you will get to meet, and receive a special gift from, Santa himself. Wear your pajamas.
Center Grove Orchard
Saturday & Sunday’s beginning November 25 through December 17
9 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Join Center Grove Orchard for a festive holiday brunch. Enjoy brunch, craft, holiday activities and time with Santa. Cost: $11.95 ages 3 and older; $6.95 for 2 year old; free for 1 year old and younger.
Center Grove Orchard
Every Saturday November 25 through December 2
5 to 8 p.m.
Join us for a festive holiday dinner on the farm! Round up your family and friends to enjoy our quaint, holiday atmosphere. You are welcome to join us anytime between 5:00-8:00 PM – no reservations are required. Visit Santa, take photos, and enjoy your time spent with family. Choose a Christmas tree from our selection of pre-cut Christmas trees in a lighted, outdoor setting.
Waukee Community Center
6 to 8 p.m.
Santa Claus is coming to town! Come early and help him light the holiday tree in Triangle Park at 6 p.m. SHARP, then visit with him at the Community Center while you warm up with hot chocolate and cookies. Bring an unwrapped toy to help support Waukee Area Christian Services.
Living History Farms
2 to 6 p.m.
Another Central Iowa classic, Living History Farms Family Christmas! Bundle up for a horse-drawn wagon ride to visit the festive Flynn Mansion. Enjoy an old fashioned holiday social with dance music in the Church of the Land. Kids will enjoy printing their own holiday greeting cards, decorating cookies, making crafts, and visiting Santa Claus. Prices: $7/person; $6.50 LHF member. Advance: $6.00/person, $4.50 LHF member.
Black Box Theatre, Kent Campus Center, Indianola
9 a.m. to 11 a.m.
Bring your children, grandchildren and friends to spend the morning with Santa. Enjoy breakfast and crafts while your little one has a picture taken with Santa!
November 30; December 7 & 14
5 to 9 p.m.
The businesses in Historic Valley Junction and the streets will be lined with over 150,000 twinkling lights. Enjoy free horse and trolley rides, Santa, caroling and much more. Watch Bill Gordish carve beautiful ice sculptures, & Professor Von Air will create balloon magic. Check here for new activities.
December 9 & December 10
10 a.m. to 1 p.m.
You’re invited for some holiday cheer to celebrate this special time of year! Spend your day enjoying holiday children’s festivities at
The Tea Room!
Family and friends will love singing along to their favorite holiday songs, decorating sugar cookies, breakfast provided by Scenic Route Bakery, listening to an animated reading of The Night Before Christmas by Mrs. Clause, and a special visit from Santa!
Each child will be provided a photo taken with Santa to take home!
Blank Park Zoo
December 9 & 16
10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Bring the entire family for holiday fun at the Blank Park Zoo. After taking a photo with Santa and writing a letter to the North Pole, enjoy a warm cup of cocoa, explore the wonders of the Zoo, both inside and out. Make sure to bring your hat and gloves, so you can visit with all the animals indoors AND outdoors. Santa at the Zoo is free with regular zoo admission and free for zoo members. Check here for full schedule of events and more.
Clive Public Library
10:30 to 11:30 a.m.
Come listen to holiday stories and songs with the whole family and make a special craft. Santa himself will make an appearance! Registration required. Register at Clive Parks and Recreation.
Two seating choices at 8:00 a.m. -OR- 10:00 a.m.
Kids, bring your parents to Reiman Gardens to enjoy holiday music. Start with a hearty breakfast buffet. Meet Santa and create your own holiday themed craft.
Raccoon River Park Nature Lodge
8 to 10 a.m.
Join the West Des Moines Parks & Recreation for this fun, festive, holiday breakfast featuring Santa Claus himself. Event features an all you can eat pancake breakfast catered by “Chris Cakes”. Photos on Santa’s lap will be available so be sure to bring your camera. Limited tickets will be available for purchase at the door. Register early through WDM Parks and Recreation. Open house format.
Giovannetti Community Shelter
9 to 10 a.m.
Santa will be taking a break from making toys and wants you to join him! Come have a fun morning with Santa enjoying donuts and juice, making holiday crafts, cookie decorating, singing songs and more. Don’t forget your list and camera for a great photo opportunity! Parents/adults should attend with child. Registration deadline December 11. Register through Urbandale Parks and Recreation.
Science Center of Iowa
December 16; 8 a.m.
December 17; 10 a.m.
Food, fun, science and Santa! Gather the family and reserve a table to eat breakfast with Santa. You will enjoy a delicious buffet-style meal, picture with Santa, catch The Polar Express in the Star Theater planetarium, story time with Santa, do a craft and more. Member child $12; Member adult $20; Non-member child $15; Non-member adult $23.