Santa’s coming to town—at a 6-ft distance. How to find him this holiday season

Social distancing is key when visiting Santa this year. Photo via Tim Mossholder via Unsplash

In light of COVID-19, you and the kiddos are probably wondering if Santa is coming to town this year. Good news, he is! At an acceptable six-foot distance, that is. Here’s the 411 on where, when and how you can visit the big guy in red this holiday season around Birmingham. 

1. Santa’s Wonderland at Bass Pro Shops

Bass Pro Shops hosts their beloved Santa’s Wonderland tradition this year—in a safe and responsible way.

During your visit, you and your family will have lots to do like visiting with Santa and mailing letters to him at the North Pole. You can also take home a free holiday craft activity kit while supplies last.

Safety precautions include:

  • Free online reservations are required to visit Santa, with limited spots to allow for social distancing.
  • Temperature screenings are required for families and team members prior to entering.
  • Visits with Santa will follow “Contactless Claus” protocols including “The Magic Santa Shield”—an acrylic barrier that will be installed between Santa + families at all times.
  • Santa’s Sanitation Squad will clean and sanitize all surfaces between each visit.
  • Face coverings will be required by all team members and visitors.
  • Physical distancing will be required. Families will have a designated area to wait that is distanced from other shoppers.

Where: Bass Pro Shops, 5000 Bass Pro Blvd, Leeds, AL 35094
When: November 7-December 24
Time: Times vary. Choose your preferred time during registration.
Price: FREE. Photo packages available.

2. Santa Visits the Riverchase Galleria

Santa’s infamous chair. Photo by Christian Lambert via Unsplash

Santa heads to the Riverchase Galleria on Friday, November 20, for visits with kiddos in Birmingham. But this year, there will be some changes. Here are some safety precautions to expect:

  • Guests will not sit on Santa’s lap during visits, but will have the opportunity to engage in conversation with Santa while maintaining a physical distance. 
  • Santa will be required to wear a face covering during all visits.
  • Face coverings are required for all guests ages 2 and up.
  • Santa’s Station will be in a new location on the lower level across from Von Maur to allow for better social distancing. 
  • Props will show you where to stand when visiting Santa’s Station and Santa.
  • Disinfecting and sanitation will be a high priority and will include hand sanitizer in high traffic areas. 

More on what to know before you visit.

Where: Riverchase Galleria, 2000 Galleria Cir, Hoover, AL 35244
When Friday, November 20–December 23
Times: Monday-Saturday, 11AM-7PM | Sunday, Noon-6PM

3. Holiday Drive-In with Santa

Santa and drive-in movies? Talk about a winning combo. Photo by Aneta Pawlik via Unsplash

Love holiday movies and Santa? Find them both in one spot during the Holiday Drive-In with Santa. On November 22, ol’ Kris Kringle will make a pit stop at the Grand River Drive-In in Leeds for a 7PM showing of the Christmas movie favorite Elf

During the event, Santa will be available for a professional and socially-distanced photo.

Tickets include:

  • Entry for one vehicle
  • Parking space to watch the movie Elf
  • Swag bag filled with goodies including a $10 meal voucher for 1 box of popcorn, 1 candy and 1 drink

Ticket supply is limited—act fast!

Where: Grand River Drive-In, 6200 Grand River Blvd E, Leeds, AL 35094
When: Sunday, November 22
Time: 6PM 
Price: $25-$30

4. Supper with Santa

Don’t miss your chance to eat Supper with Santa. Photo via Helena Hollow’s Facebook

Head to the farm for a breakfast-style Supper with Santa at Helena Hollow this November and December. 

Expect a magical night filled with activities including (but not limited to):

  • Lighted Hayride
  • Christmas Craft
  • Face Painting
  • Live Nativity
  • Reindeer Food Making
  • S’mores around the Fire
  • Supper with Santa
  • And more!

Where: Helena Hollow, 6027 Hwy 17, Helena, AL 35080
When: Friday, November 27 | Sunday, November 29 | Friday-Sunday, December 4-6
Price: $30 | Kids under 2 – FREE
Time: 6-8PM
Tickets: Check here for ticket link

5. Selfies with Santa at Leeds Downtown Christmas Tree Lighting

candy cane
Trees begin to light up around Birmingham. Photo by Christina Abken via Unsplash

When the holiday season hits, it’s all about that Christmas tree. On Thursday, November 19, head to downtown Leeds for the city’s annual Christmas Tree Lighting.

Here you’ll find holiday entertainment, lots of shopping and best of all—Selfies with Santa.

Where: Parkway Dr, Leeds, AL 35094
When: Thursday, November 19
Time: 6-7:30PM
Price: FREE

6. All is Bright

Vestavia City Center
Don’t miss the first annual tree lighting in Vestavia Hills. Photo via Vestavia City Center’s Facebook

Vestavia Hills is lighting up the city on Thursday, November 19 during their All is Bright event.

Not only will this be the city’s first annual tree lighting, but Santa will be there for photos.

Where: Vestavia City Center, 700 Montgomery Highway, Vestavia Hills, AL 35216
When: Thursday, November 19
Time: 6-8PM
Price: FREE

7. Christmas 2020 at the Heart of Dixie Railroad Museum

candy cane
Nothing says Christmas like candy canes. Photo by Isabella and Louisa Fischer via Unsplash

Located in Calera, the Heart of Dixie Railroad Museum is known for its family-friendly events—including a yearly Christmas celebration. 

Though this year will be a bit different, you can still celebrate the season during the museums Christmas at the Station event.

All-Inclusive Christmas Experience tickets include:

  • Rides on the Calera & Shelby train, the Shelby & Southern train
  • Access to the Merry Maze of Lights

You can also travel down the tracks in a car for two when you purchase a Couple’s Caboose ticket. 

But that’s not. You can also enjoy:

  • Games + activities
  • Hot chocolate
  • Food trucks
  • Write + deliver your letter of Christmas wishes to Santa

Safety precautions include:

  • Limited tickets available for each train ride to allow for social distancing.
  • Train coaches will be sanitized between each departure. 
  • Santa will be strategically stationed in a safe, but appropriate, position for family photos.
  • A socially-distanced boarding cue will be utilized for ticket holders to approach the Santa Station for a pose family photo. 

Where: Heart of Dixie Railroad Museum, 1919 9th St, Calera, AL 35040
When: December 4-5 | December 11-12 | December 18-19 
Time: Onsite Activities – 4PM | Train Departures – 5PM, 6PM, 7PM + 8PM
Price: All-inclusive Christmas Experience Tickets – $33 | Couple’s Caboose Tickets – $50
Tickets: Purchase online or call 205.757.8383

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Patience Itson
Patience Itson
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