Finding Santa: A dozen places in Denver (and beyond) to see St. Nick

Between decorating, light displays and purchasing, shepherding your own children to be delighted (or scared ) from Santa Claus is a ritual which remains central to the holiday experience for most families.

But you land around the scarring side of the divide, it’s nice to know you can find Santa in more places than ever this season. Listed below are a few we discovered for metro-area residents that combine holiday legacy convenience and a lot of innovation.

Note: While most of the photo sessions are free, picture and video packages — which offer sizes and various formats — can run up to $50, so be willing to shell out for the customized experience. Events continue through Christmas Eve.

Santa’s Village in Chatfield Farms
Location: 8500 W. Deer Creek Canyon Road, Littleton
Santa hours: 4:30-8:30 p.m. through Dec. 23 (last entry at 7:30 pm every day )

Immerse yourself in a winter wonderland while greeting Santa, Mrs. Claus and actual, live reindeer in this offering from Denver Botanic Gardens — which doubles as a walkable holiday-light series and shopping excursion. Admission includes images with Santa, somebody called Snow Man and the reindeer; crafting with Mrs. Claus; a hayride; the lighting display; Santa’s Cinema about Elf Boulevard; along with entry into the workshop featuring (naturally) an assortment of craft vendors. Children and adults (ages 3-65) are $20, while farmers and parents of the military are 15; children 2 and under are free.

Pro-parenting tip: Dress for the weather and expect lines and parking waits in case you arrive in peak times (around 6 p.m.) Grab tickets in advance on the internet or in the visitor’s center of the downtown/York Street Botanic Gardens place, because there’s ’s a good chance that they ’ll market out onsite.

Santa’s Flight Academy in Cherry Creek Shopping Center
Location: 3000 E. 1st Ave., Denver
Santa hours: 10 a.m.-9 p.m. Monday-Saturday; 11 a.m.-6 p.m. Sundays through Dec. 23; 8 a.m.-6 p.m. Christmas Eve

Photos with Santa are only one of several options at this marquee holiday-shopping destination, which also provides “flight-crew membership” using a personalized cadet badge, in addition to the chance to try on a virtual flight suit and find out to operate the sleigh. This ’s all on top of the snowfall and a holiday-light display that is kid-friendly. Note: Reservations aren’t mandatory, but Santa breaks daily at 1:30 pm and 5:30 p.m.

Pro-parenting tip: Visit to make your kid ’s cadet badge beforehand so you can pick this up after you arrive.

Santa’s Wonderland 2018 in Bass Pro Shops
Location: 7970 Northfield Blvd., Denver
Hours: 10 a.m.-8 p.m. photographs and 5-7 p.m. crafts Monday-Friday; 10 a.m.-8 p.m. photographs and noon-5 p.m. crafts Saturdays; and 10 a.m.-5 p.m. photographs and noon-5 p.m. crafts Sundays, through Dec. 24

If nearly all Santa photo ops leave your children needing longer, Bass Pro’s blizzard of fun ought to impress the Grinchiest of them. Offerings vary somewhat among Bass Pro and Cabela’s five Colorado locations, but the Denver (Stapleton) place provides nearly everything you could want from a brief visit to the North Pole: rotating interactive jobs (this week: Color that a Wood Elf), sundry standing-craft and action tables (arcade games, toys, Lincoln Logs, etc.), Christmas letter-writing, and a simulated winter setting in which to experience it all.

Tip: Photos are liberated, but stop from the Bass Pass Ticket Depot to procure a time slot for Santa.

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Santa’s Workshop in Park Meadows
Location: 8401 S. Park Meadows Center Drive, Lone Tree
Regular hours: 11 a.m.-8 p.m. Monday-Saturday; noon-6 p.m. Sundays
Special hours: 10 a.m.-8 p.m. Dec. 8 and 23; 11 a.m.-7 p.m. Dec. 9 and 16; 9 a.m.-9 p.m. Dec. 14-22; 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Christmas Eve

Given the prevalence of Park Meadows’ Santa photographs, be sure before going to make a reservation. Additionally, check to see whether there are additional holiday-themed goings-on, for example Pet Night (5-8 p.m. Dec. 10 and 17) or Ugly Sweater Day (all day Dec. 13), to ensure the children aren’t the only ones having fun.

Pro-parenting tip: Reservations and photo purchases aren’t needed to visit with Santa, but should you would like to get a jump on either, visit

Santa HQ in FlatIron Crossing
Location: 1 W. Flatiron Crossing Drive, Broomfield
Santa hours: 10 a.m.-8 p.m. Monday-Saturday; 11 a.m.-6 p.m. Sundays through Dec. 10; 9 a.m.-9 p.m. Dec. 10-23; 8 a.m.-6 p.m. Christmas Eve.

The base of the Grand Staircase in FlatIron doubles as Santa’s residence in Broomfield, in which children can shoot pictures, visit Santa’s Magical Observatory (which provides additional photo ops), scan at the Naughty or Nice O’Meter, and also produce — and star in — habit Elfie videos. Since this is Colorado, in addition, there are pet photographs, and because it’s 2018, there’s an all-day Ugly Sweater-themed day on Dec. 13.

Tip: Make your bookings online. And should you bring your pets, make sure that they ’re cats and dogs only — leashed or in a pet store.

Holidays at The Orchard Town Center
Location: 14697 Delaware St., Thornton
Santa hours: 11 a.m.-8 p.m. Monday-Saturday; noon-5 p.m. Sundays; 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Christmas Eve

Santa arrived during Thornton’s Winterfest to shoot over “his brand-new winter wonderland expertise in Town Center Square,” in accordance with The Orchard. That ’s where he’s staying every day before Christmas Eve — minus the occasional (3-4 p.m.) reindeer-feeding breaks every day.

Pro-parenting tip: Visits are free, but picture packages and bookings can be seen at

Breakfast with Santa in Downtown Aquarium
Location: 700 Water St., Denver
Hours: Seating begins at 8:30 a.m. on Dec. 8, 9, 15, 16 and 22-24

What’s & rsquo;s buddy Santa doing in the Downtown Aquarium? You may ask him yourself in such festive breakfasts, which comprise not just Saint Nick, but in addition the volcano ’s mascot, Sharkey. You might even catch Santa swimming with the fish as you dine to the buffet.

Pro-parenting tip: While adults cost $20 and children (ages 3-10) cost $14, the cost of each admission includes a 50 percent-off aquarium exhibit ticket and parking.

St. Nick on the Bricks
Location: Downtown Boulder Visitor Information Center, 1301 Pearl St., Boulder
When: 11 a.m.-2 p.m. Saturdays through Dec. 22

Given the traffic across Boulder’s ever-popular Pearl Street Mall, Santa would be crazy not to visit. Bring your camera because photographs are free and bookings aren’t required. Children 10 and below (with an accompanying adult) may take a free ride around the 100-percent electric Tebo Train, a.k.a. the Snowflake Express, which chugs across Pearl Street and boards facing the Capitol One Cafe in the corner of 13th and Pearl streets (where you can also grab free hot chocolate samples). The last train leaves at 2 p.m.

Tip: Look up the area’s shops and restaurants so you may use the Santa visit as the incentive or reward and waiting.

Saturdays with Santa in Olde Town Arvada
Location: Olde Town Square, 57th Avenue and Olde Wadsworth Boulevard, Arvada
Hours: Noon-3 p.m. on Dec. 8 and 15

Yet another bring-your-own-camera occasion, Olde Town’s Santa visits have been surrounded by holiday activities and purchasing options — the most important and nearest function as the Olde Town Holiday Market. Children visiting with Santa receive a sugar cookie out of Rheinlander Bakery, while Colorado Home Realty is handing out the free hot chocolate. There’s free, live entertainment in the kind of Arvada Chorale (Dec. 8) and bFlatirons (Dec. 15).

Pro-parenting tip: Pop to the marketplace for local food once the children get hungry — and get your knives sharpened, purchase some handcrafted candles, clothes, soaps and jewelry, or have a look at the toys while you’re .

Santa in Town Center in Aurora
Location: 14200 E. Alameda Ave., Aurora
Hours: 11 a.m.-8 p.m. Tuesday-Friday; 10 a.m.-8:30 p.m. Monday and Saturday; 11 a.m.-6 p.m. Sundays through Dec. 24

In addition to the free, annual Cookies With Santa occasion from 1 to 3 pm on Dec. 13 — which features a story time and letters to Santa — the jolly old guy is going to be put up daily for free photos to combine to your frenzied shopping.

Pro-parenting tip: This season provides a FastPass for Santa photographs, which can be available through Dec. 21 and prices $8 for daily visits and $10 on weekends. It is also possible to use it in order to pick up online orders and photo packs through

North Pole, Colorado: Home of Santa’s Workshop
Location: 5050 Pikes Peak Highway, Cascade
Hours: 10 a.m.-5 p.m. through Dec. 24; closed Tuesdays and Wednesdays, and shuts in 4 pm Christmas Eve

This amusement park west of Colorado Springs specializes in cheer, in order to better believe rsquo for the holiday season & they. Kiddie and rides, displays, activities and gifts surround the major event: Santa’s House. The staff as well as visit with him there will probably snap a picture with your camera. It’s most probably not going to be the only thing you’re quitting with.

Pro-parenting tip: Admission is $24 for attendees old 3-59 (free for two and below, and for 60 and above ), but should you receive a group of six or longer together, you save $2 per person; 10 or more and you also save $5 per person.

Santa on the Square
Location: Lincoln Hall Lobby, 1415 Larimer Street, Denver
Hours: 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Saturdays; noon-6 p.m. Sundays; 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Christmas Eve

Santa and Mrs. Claus will visit you of Denver’s most historical shopping/dining districts and present to get free pictures (make sure you bring your camera) while handing out free treats for the children.  Don’t leave the pets in the home on Dec. 8, as “Paws and Claus” invites cats and dogs to present with all the red-besuited couple — with suggested contributions benefiting Denver Animal Shelter.

Pro-parenting tip: Larimer Square could be pricey, so stop from the pedestrian- and – tourist-friendly 16th Street Mall (about a block east of Larimer Square) for cheaper snacks and beverages, or the Christkindl Market in Skyline Park (Arapahoe and 16th Streets) for conventional German wares and refreshments.

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