When the holiday season comes around, there’s nothing better than seeing your child’s face light up at the sight of Santa. Sure, a picture from your visit with a mall Santa keeps the memories fresh, but chances are you’ll wait in line for a loooong time before your big moment arrives. Make your visit with Santa special this year with a meet-and-greet experience that’ll have your little one believing in the spirit of Christmas.
Heinz Hall Courtyard, November 24-December 23
Visit with either a white or black Santa this season for some one-on-one time with the big man. Enter Santa’s brightly colored house to tell him what you want this Christmas and get a printed photo for a donation to the Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank. Several clever selfie stations are on offer, too, so you and the kids can have fun beyond you big Santa moment.
North Park and South Park Ice Rinks, December 16-17
Enjoy the winter weather at these outside rinks accompanied by Santa Claus himself. Kids get a chance to skate with Santa while telling him everything that’s on their wishlist. Plus, it’s a great opportunity for parents to get seasonal photos.
The Gateway Clipper Fleet, December 2-23
Book a special cruise along the Three Rivers that includes a meet and greet with Santa. After the kids have met Santa and received a treat from him, they can pass the afternoon with a holiday DJ dance party.
Heinz History Center, Saturdays in December
Through December 31, kids 17 and under can get into the museum and meet Santa for free without the long lines at the mall. Check out special holiday displays in the A Very Merry Pittsburgh exhibition featuring old toy favorites and holiday decor.
National Aviary, Saturdays in December
Impress your friends and family with this year’s holiday card thanks to a photo with Santa and a penguin. Besides the special meeting, the children can take part in various holiday crafts, write letters to Santa, and hear live bird calls.
August Wilson African American Cultural Center, December 16
Learn about the traditions of Kwanzaa with hands-on activities and live entertainment from various theater, drum, and dance groups. Parents can browse the artisan market while the kids get to meet Santa and Mrs. Claus.
The Waterfront, December 2-21
Rather than wait in a long line that never seems to end, make a reservation to get photos with Santa at The Waterfront. Walk-ins are still welcomed and after your photo is taken, you can take in the shops around the circle for any last-minute gifting.
Story by Kylie Thomas
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