Just hear those sleigh bells jingling, that holly jolly season is almost upon us, and that means Santa is coming to Philadelphia! Whether you are looking for the traditional Santa visit at the mall, a special adventure, or you want to see Santa at a winter festival, there are Santa celebrations running nearly all holiday season long, leading right up to the final night before he takes off in his sleigh to visit all the good little kids. Here is a roundup of some of our favorite spots to get a Santa sighting and ask for those special gifts on your little one's Christmas list.
Make it a Santa Spectacular:
During this Christmas celebration, Santa illuminates the night on November 17 to kick-off A Very Furry Christmas! After some holly jolly singing and dancing with Santa’s trusty elves and everyone’s favorite characters, Santa arrives on a horse-drawn carriage to light up the night with millions of twinkling lights! The festive, family-friendly Very Furry Christmas celebration transforms Sesame Place into a one-of-a-kind Christmas wonderland with millions of twinkling lights, festive decorations, and whirling rides. Featuring Christmas shows, savory Christmas menus, super holiday shopping, and a visit with Santa in his Furry Workshop.
Although the Tacony library is temporarily closed for building renovations, it will reopen on December 2 for Winterfest. The event will be free; taking place rain or shine. Enjoy face painting, holiday celebrations, fun learning activities, food, music, giveaways, and more.
Meet Santa and Mrs. Claus at your child's favorite place! This meet and greet is free with museum admission.
The Philadelphia Zoo turns into a winter wonderland as visitors enjoy a delicious breakfast buffet with Santa Claus. Your kids can meet Santa and tell him what's on their wish list. Take professional photos with Santa (for purchase), or bring your own camera. There are two seatings at 8:30am and 9:30am.
Find Santa at the Mall:
King of Prussia Mall- King of Prussia
November 9–December 24, 2018
Holiday photos with Santa are in full effect at the King of Prussia Mall. Santa will be in the Court every day during holiday hours.
Cherry Hill Mall- Cherry Hill
November 10-December 24, 2018
Get in line for some one-on-one time with Santa to give him your wish list and snap a pic. Santa will be in the Grand Court throughout the holiday season, but be sure and check the event website for more info on hours and Santa's break times.
On November 10, Santa arrives for the season. Visit him at the Elevator Court near Macy's for SantaFest, a festival during which families can participate in holiday activities. Throughout the season, Santa is available for pictures. To expedite your experience, photo sessions can be booked online. The Willow Grove Park Mall is open daily.
Santa arrives for the season in the sidecar of a Harley Davidson on November 10. Visit him at the North Court for SantaFest. Throughout the season, Santa is available for pictures. To expedite your experience, photo sessions can be booked online. The Exton Square Mall is open daily.
Santa arrives for the season atop a Springfield Township Fire Co. truck on November 18. Visit him in his brand new Santa's Lodge during the holiday season where he is available for pictures. To expedite your experience, photo sessions can be booked online. The Springfield Mall is open daily.
Santa's house at Christmas Village- Philadelphia
November 22-December 24, 2018
Santa will be in attendance at his house in LOVE Park until Christmas Eve. Bring your children or even the whole family to take pictures with Santa and make heartwarming memories that will last for years to come! The exact times and dates will be posted in November.
Franklin Square- Philadelphia
November 15-December 31, 2018 (except for Thanksgiving and Christmas)
Take a weekend visit to Franklin Square and enjoy milk and cookies with Santa. He will make his way outdoors to the fountain where he’ll pose for photos with those on his “nice” list. More details will be available in November.
Special Needs Santa Events:
Caring Santa - various locations
December 2, 2018 9 AM-11 AM
Throughout Philly area malls, this Santa event takes steps to reduce sensory triggers, creating a more comforting environment for children’s cherished visit with Santa Claus. The subdued environment is likely to include:
• Silenced in-mall music, stopped escalators located near the photo set, dimmed lights and shut-down fountains for the duration of the event.
• Eliminated queue lines by using a numbering system where guests approach the set when their number is called.
• Special activities geared toward the needs of the child during the wait period to help the child understand what activities will occur during the visit.
Make sure to register for this special event!
Note: A previous version of this article included Zoo Noël, which is not occurring in 2017.
Photo courtesy of the author. This post is currently has been updated with the most current information in 2018.