Visit Santa in Central Iowa 2016

Visit Santa in Central Iowa 2016

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 on our event calendar!



Festival of Trees

Octagon Center of the Arts

Festival of Trees Kick Off:

Friday, November 11th

6 pm – 8 pm 

 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 pm – 8 pm on opening night!

Santa Arrival at Valley West Mall

Valley West Mall 

Friday, November 11th 

6 pm – 8 pm 

Enjoy free train rides, coloring, crafts, balloon animals, treats and entertainment for the whole family. Santa will be available beginning Saturday, November 12th through Christmas Eve. Check here for hours!

Santa Arrival & Meet the Snow Princesses

Merle Hay Mall 

Saturday, November 12th 

12 pm – 4 pm 

Santa arrives at noon! Visit with the Snow Princesses between 2:30 p.m. and 4:30 p.m.

Santa N’ Paws

Several locations & Times – Check here for the entire list!

November 10th – 20th 

Join the Animal Rescue League for the 30th Annual Santa N Paws! Bring the whole family, humans and pets alike, for a photo to celebrate the 2016 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.

Pictures with Santa 

Homemakers Furniture

Saturday, November 12th & Sunday, November 13th

11 am – 4 pm

Come see Santa and Mrs. Claus! Take a picture and receive a special keepsake.

Santa Arrives at Bass Pro Shops

Altoona, Iowa 

November 12th – December 24th 

The BEST Christmas event in the area kicks off with Santa’s arrival at Bass Pro Shops! Join Bass Pro Shops around 4:30 in front of the store, along with our emcee Megan Reuther, Frosty, Rudolph, and our Pro Staff for the festivities to welcome Santa and Mrs. Claus! They will have hot chocolate, cookies, giveaways for the kids, door prizes, and more. Santa arrives at 5 p.m., then the lobby tree will be lit and then a special guest will cut the ribbon to open Santa’s Wonderland! They will be open for photos from 6-8 p.m. Then Santa will be available every day through Christmas Eve! Find details on photo times, crafts, and special offers here!

Bass Pro Shops will be using the Bass Pass at all times. Pick up a Bass Pass to reserve your spot in line, while supplies last. Weekdays are best! Arrive early on weekends to reserve your time. Special hours for Thanksgiving Day and Black Friday, free frame giveaway, details on crafts, and more!

Jingle Bell Drop

Valley Junction

 Thursday, November 17th 

6 pm 

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 December 1, December 8 and December 15th from 5-9 pm).

Santa will be arriving in Valley Junction to drop 500 Jingle Bells on Maple Street at 6:00 pm. Each Jingle Bell will include one free prize. Prize value ranges from $5.00 to $1,000.  This is a FREE event with FREE prizes.  There are 500 prizes with a total value of $10,000!

The businesses in Historic Valley Junction and the streets will be lined with over 150,000 twinkling lights. Business will be open for 5:00-9:00pm for Holiday Shopping.

Santa at Brenton Skating Plaza

Friday, November 18th 

6 pm – 7 pm 

As part of the East Village Holiday Promenade, Brenton Skating Plaza will host Santa and Tom Boesen as they throw the at 6:05 pm and light the tree to kick off the opening day at Brenton Skating Plaza!

Mayor’s Tree Light and Holiday Lights

Wagner Park, Ankeny 

Friday, November 18th 

6 pm – 7 pm 

Kick off the holidays with the 2nd Annual Mayor’s Tree Lighting and Holiday Lights in Ankeny. Enjoy festive entertainment at the Band Shell, holiday crafts, a visit from Santa, hot cocoa and more! Free!

Santa Arrival and Tree Lighting!

Jordan Creek Town Center

Friday, November 18th 

6 pm – 7 pm 

Santa arrives at Jordan Creek Town Center and lights the tree with fireworks! He will be at the Jordan Creek Mall daily beginning Saturday, November 19th through December 24th. Check here for all the details!

Winter Wonderland Festival

State Fairgrounds

Saturday, November 19th 

11 am – 5 pm

Admission is $7. Meet the Snow Princesses and Santa Claus! Jump in bounce houses, do Christmas crafts, play games, win prizes and much more.

Jolly Holiday Lights


November 22nd – January 1st 

5:30 pm – 10:00 pm 

Jolly Holiday Lights is back and at a new location! Come out and celebrate the holiday lights at Adventureland! Bundle up the family and enjoy a 2.5 mile ride through more than 100 magical light displays. 100% of admission fees go directly to Make-A-Wish® Iowa! Jolly Holiday Lights is a drive-through holiday light display that is set up annually by Make-A-Wish Iowa at Adventureland. $10 per car. You can also get your picture taken with Santa for $10 and enjoy a cookie and cocoa at Santa’s Wish Shop!

Santa Express

Boone & Scenic Valley Railroad

Starts November 25th! Dates and times thru December 18th. 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.  Where your pajamas! Purchase at, or by calling 1-800-626-0319.

Spirit of the Season

Science Center of Iowa 

More information will be provided soon!

Brunch with Santa & Rudolph

Center Grove Orchard

Saturday & Sunday’s beginning November 26th through December 18th

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 olds; free for 1 year olds and younger.

Saturday & Sunday, November 26 & 27
9 AM to 1 PM

Saturday & Sunday, December 3 & 4
9 AM to 1 PM

Saturday & Sunday, December 10 & 11
9 AM to 1 PM

Saturday & Sunday, December 17 & 18
9 AM to 1 PM



Waukee Historic Downtown Triangle 

Friday, December 2nd, 2016 

4:30 pm – 6:30 pm 

Bring on the holiday cheer with Waukee’s annual WinterFest! Bundle up and head to Waukee’s Historic Downtown Triangle. Downtown Business open houses are from 4:30-6:30 p.m. and the rest of the festivities kick off at 6 p.m. when Santa himself arrives and light’s the holiday tree in Triangle Park!

Christmas Carnival

Waukee Library 

December 3rd 

10 am – 12 pm 

Drop-in to the Waukee Library and celebrate the holiday season! This will be the library’s 11th annual Festival of Trees and sweet treats! Kids can take a picture with Santa and make some crafts and join in some reindeer games.

Santa Visits the Y

Walnut Creek YMCA 

Saturday, December 3rd 

10 am – 12 pm 

Santa and his Elf are making a special stop at the Walnut Creek Y tree lot. Santa will be available for pictures, accepting wish lists and helping pick the perfect Christmas Tree. Cookies, hot cocoa and other activities will be available. Trees sold benefit the Y’s Annual Campaign.

9th Annual Santa Day

Windsor Height Fire Department 

Saturday, December 3rd 

8 am – 1 pm 

2 pm – 4 pm – Santa photos!

The Windsor Heights Fire Department will travel the City with Santa on December 3rd from 8 am- 1pm.

Santa photos will be on December 3rd at 2- 4 pm at the council chambers at 1133 66th St. A professional photographer will snap photos of your children and pets. Back by popular demand, Santa will be here to listen to all your wishes. More details to come!

Living History Farms Family Christmas

Living History Farms 

Saturday, December 3rd 

2 pm – 6 pm 

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: $6.50/person; $5.00 LHF member. Advance: $6.00/person, $4.50 LHF member.

Breakfast with Santa by Simpson Guild

Kent Campus Center, Indianola 

Saturday, December 3rd 

9 am – 11 am

Santa is coming back to Simpson! Come enjoy breakfast, holiday crafts & Christmas carols, mail your Christmas list to the North Pole and even get your holiday photo taken with Santa Claus! Please email to reserve your tickets! Limited number are available!

Jingle in the Junction 

Valley Junction

December 1st, 8th & 15th 

5 p.m. – 9 p.m. 

Jingle in the Junction will take place the first three Thursday’s in December!  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!

Holiday Celebration Event

Grimes Community Complex

Sunday, December 4th 

4 pm – 6 pm 

Santa and Mrs. Claus are coming to Grimes!  Bring the kiddos to see Santa and enjoy activities including face painting, balloon artistry, crafts, cookies and hot chocolate.

PJ Time with Santa

Blank Park Zoo

December 9th 

5 pm – 7 pm 

This is a Blank Park Zoo member only event! Enjoy a fun-filled Christmas themed night. Watch for weekly e-blasts for details.

Pajamas & Stories with Santa

Center Grove Orchard

Saturday, December 10th & 17th 

5 pm to 8 pm 

Spend an evening with Santa at Center Grove Orchard! Enjoy dinner, craft time and story time in your pajamas! $13.95 for ages 3 and older; $7.95 for age 2. Menu is: Chicken strips, homemade applesauce, corn and apple cider donut. Online ticket purchases only at least 48 hours in advance.

Santa at the Zoo

Blank Park Zoo 

Saturday, December 10th & 17th 

10 am – 2 pm 

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!

Holiday Party 

Clive Public Library 

Saturday, December 10th 

2 pm – 3 pm

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.

Breakfast with Santa 

Reiman Gardens

Saturday, December 10th 

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. Additional information to come.

Breakfast with Santa 

Raccoon River Park Nature Lodge 

Saturday, December 10th 

8 am – 10 am 

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!

Brunch with Santa 

Giovannetti Community Shelter

Saturday, December 17th 

9 – 10:15 am 

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 12th. Register through Urbandale Parks and Recreation!

Breakfast with Santa

Science Center of Iowa 

Saturday, December 17th & Sunday, December 18th

Saturday: 8 am & Sunday: 10 am

Food, fun, science and Santa! It’s a holiday tradition at SCI. Gather the family and reserve your table today for Breakfast with Santa, where you will:

  • Enjoy a delicious buffet-style catered meal, including creme crulee french toast with mixed berries, oven-roasted potatoes, scrambled eggs and thick-cut bacon
  • Snap a picture with Santa and share your wish list
  • Catch The Polar Express in the Star Theater planetarium (Free screening is limited to 100 people. Details below.)
  • Join Santa for storytime
  • Do a holiday craft
  • See an exclusive “Science of Winter” live program from SCI’s Programs Team
  • Explore SCI after Breakfast with Santa – general admission is included

Erin Huiatt

Erin is a reliable resource and stepping stone for women and families to find support and make connections within our community. She wants families to feel confident to reach out and ask for help and advice to get pointed in the right direction. She enjoys traveling and exploring with her two children in tow!

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