Where’s Santa 2013? Check This List!

I had an epiphany driving T to school this morning, all thanks to this Facebook post: Where are we taking T to see Santa Claus this season?!

And that then led me to this thought: Where can I refer you, RMT’ers, for a personal visit with and/or public sighting of Santa yourselves?!

I guess you could say I am making lists and checking them, well, constantly.

So before I forget completely what I brainstormed, here’s a list of 10+ options – some tried and true, some unique and different – as to where you can take your kids to see The Big Guy this month!

Discovery Science Center’s Holiday Member Events 2013 and Science of Gingerbread Exhibit
THIS THURSDAY, FRIDAY, AND SATURDAY, Dec. 5-7, 6-9 p.m. (members); Weekends through December (general admission)
I just got an email from DSC today about their member events (and we love DSC!), so how’s that for timing! From DSC’s website and an email I received: “Check out the Science of Gingerbread exhibit and get into the holiday spirit with these fun activities: Meet Santa and take your photo with him! Build a candy car and race in the Gingerbread Derby! Decorate holiday cookies (and eat them too)! See over 100 gingerbread creations! Enjoy holiday treats, special entertainment, and more!” Online registration required, but the email also said tickets are available at the door, so you might want to call (714) 913-5040 or e-mail members@discoverycube.org for more details and clarification. While the three evenings this week are members-only events, members may bring non-members for just $10 per person! FOR NON-MEMBERS: Other dates for holiday events open to general admission (including Santa photo opps) are as follows (subject to change, please check website for updates):  Dec 7-8; 14-15; and 21-24.

6th Annual Bixby Knolls Tree & Menorah Lighting Ceremony
THIS FRIDAY Dec. 6, 6 p.m., FREE
This neighborhood’s once-monthly community event known as “First Friday” (held the first Friday of every month, that is) is switching on the holiday lights and fun for December’s gathering! From this Facebook page: “(The lightings) will take place by the fountains at Nino’ Italian Restaurant, 3853 Atlantic Avenue, beginning at 6:00PM. The entire community is invited to come celebrate this tradition with the lighting of the Christmas Tree and Hanukkah Menorah, listen to holiday music, and enjoy some hot chocolate. Lights get turned on at 6:30PM.” Oh, and Santa will be stopping by at First Bank along the same main street of the festivities!

Bounce U Huntington Beach (CA) “Jingle Bounce”
THIS FRIDAY Dec. 6, 6-7:30 p.m., $10 per child, Accompanying Adults FREE (Reservations Required)
From the website: “The Holidays are a busy time for jolly old St. Nick, but he’ll be dropping by Bounce U to enjoy cookies with all good boys and girls. Join us for a holiday themed event full of bouncing, games, story time and good times…..topped off with a visit from Santa too, so bring your camera!” Please note that bounce cards and other coupons will not be accepted for this event. To reserve your spots, call (714) 892-4842 or click here

35th Annual Seal Beach Christmas Parade 2013 – “Surf, Sand, and Santa”
THIS FRIDAY Dec. 6, 7-8:30 p.m., FREE
Never been to this one ourselves, but as the theme indicates, I’m guessing you can see Santa here, too! Though I’m also guessing given that it’s a parade that there won’t be a personal photo opp… but since everyone loves a parade, there ought to be plenty of opportunities for pictures with family, friends, and community entertainment to last the night long! I cannot locate weather information, so you may wish to check social media and the link above for updates should there be rain in the forecast Friday evening.

T's visit with Santa last year at Emigh Dental Care in Long Beach was such a great community event that we hope to make it again this year, too!

T’s visit with Santa last year at Emigh Dental Care in Long Beach was such a great community event that we hope to make it again this year, too!

Print this out and have your child color it for a free gift at Emigh Dental Care in Long Beach during their Santa event on Saturday Dec. 7!

Print this out and have your child color it for a free gift at Emigh Dental Care in Long Beach during their Santa event on Saturday Dec. 7!

Emigh Dental Care FREE Photo with Santa
THIS SATURDAY Dec. 7, 10 a.m.-Noon, FREE

We went to this event last year and it was holly-jolly FANTASTIC! Just remember to print off the coloring page (one per child, print-out available above or at this link) so the kid(s) can color it up and bring it in to get their free gift, too!

Aquarium of the Pacific’s Holiday Treats for the Animals
THIS SATURDAY AND SUNDAY Dec. 7-8, 9 a.m.-5 p.m., Events FREE for Members and w/ General Admission
We love the Aquarium and try to swim, err, I mean, drive over there any chance we can get! In regards to this upcoming event, let me share from their website: “Guests can see Santa diver with sharks and watch the Aquarium’s animals receive their special treats and enrichment gifts during the Holiday Treats for the Animals weekend. Families can enjoy holiday music, crafts, special presentations, unique photo opportunities, shopping, and more.” No reservations required. PS – Unsure what to get those animal lovers on your gift list this year? Why not adopt an animal or two, or go see what you can directly donate off of the Aquarium’s Animal Care Wish List? We’ve adopted a few animals for a few years now, and these are the types of gifts that make those animal lovers, you, and the adoptee feel warm and fuzzy (or cold and scaly depending on the species I suppose!).

Huntington Library’s Santa Days (Members Only)
THIS SATURDAY & SUNDAY Dec. 7-8, 10:30 a.m.-4 p.m. (Members Only, Free)

I think T’s grandma and grandpa are taking him one day this weekend to this event. I can’t remember if he’s been to this before during previous holiday seasons, but we have been to the Huntington a few times before and love it! From the website regarding this special event: “Members can bring a camera and take a photo with Santa in the Botanical Center. Enjoy a holiday puppet show by Bob Baker’s Marionettes, Sat. and Sun., 11 a.m., 1:30 p.m., and 3 p.m. The Rose Garden Café will be open to the public 11 a.m.–4 p.m. The Chinese Garden Tea House will be open 12-4 p.m. Please note this event is for Members only.” But don’t let that members-only disclaimer stop you. What better time to join the Huntington Library? Come on, do it for the kids… and Santa!

Santa in the Belmont Shore Christmas Parade 2011. (Photo Credit: Ambyr Hardy)

Santa in the Belmont Shore Christmas Parade 2011. (Photo Credit: Ambyr Hardy)

The 31st Annual Belmont Shore Christmas Parade – “Christmas by the Sea/ Pearl Harbor Remembrance”
THIS SATURDAY Dec. 7, 6-9 p.m. (give-or-take, usually runs a little longer), FREE (Rain or Shine)
Did I mention above how everyone loves a parade? Well, folks in Long Beach (CA) especially love this parade (and we LOVED being in it ourselves a couple of years ago)! Head on down to 2nd Street in Long Beach to watch over 100 float, band, and other organization participants march and roll up and back along this approximately two-mile loop through one of the city’s most popular living, gathering, shopping, and dining areas in town! And don’t leave before it’s over, RMT’ers, as Santa arrives at the end of this parade each year! No personal photo opps with The Big Guy here, but plenty of other family and friend memories to capture during this popular three-hour community event. Please follow the link above for more information, including where to set up, what time streets will close ahead of time, and where to park.

Bella Terra: Santa Visits!
Saturday Dec. 14 and Saturday Dec. 21, 1-2 p.m.
From their marketing team: “Bring the kids to the new Bella Terra Pavilion to visit Santa and pose for a photo! The Pavillion is located across from King’s Fish House.” The details are unclear if you BYO camera and/or if there’s a photographer on-site. If I get more details I will post.

T aboard the South Coast Plaza's Holiday Express in 2011. We haven't missed this train since T turned two-years-old or so. This is also a wonderful place to visit with Santa and take home a holiday craft!

T aboard the South Coast Plaza’s Holiday Express in 2011. We haven’t missed this train since T turned two-years-old or so. This is also a wonderful place to visit with Santa during this season and take home a holiday craft!

South Coast Plaza: Holiday Essentials 2013 Catalog
Visit Santa and MORE! NOW through Tues. Dec. 24, Mall Hours (See Above Link)
To call South Coast Plaza just a mall would be a disservice: It’s a spectacle on a normal day, and during this season it’s a Winter Wonderland of Holiday Delights for the entire family!  Please note there are two places to see Santa: One is in the Macy’s Home Store wing and the other is in Carousel Court near Sears. A tip from a fellow blogger and friend: You can take the kids to see Santa for FREE (no photo opp though) and get a candy cane by just “Saying Hi to Santa” (thanks M!). Their online catalog is bursting with holiday fun at every turn, so be sure to click-through all four pages of this online treasure trove of holly-jolly holiday information: Page one offers Santa photo pricing and other information along with mall hours through the season; page two offers Santa’s Express Train information (and you know T loves that train – & still just $1 a ride!), Santa’s Village/ North Pole details (where kids can do crafts, prices vary and limited hours on this one), and mall concierge information; page three lists a seasonal store directory, gift wrapping, and gift certificate details; and page four offers valet parking and new store information.

Lakewood Center: Santa Photos and Offers
NOW through Tues. Dec. 24, 2013, Hours and Prices Vary
Yep, you can always go to the good ol’ mall to see jolly ol’ St. Nick! This year, Lakewood Center’s made it very easy to go onto their website for coupons and other group offers and discounted pre-paid photo packages for planning your trip to see Santa! There are links there for hours, pricing, special group rates, and more! See above link for more information.

Los Cerritos Center: Santa Photos and Offers
NOW through Tues. Dec. 24, 2013, Hours and Prices Vary
Again, you can’t go wrong with the mall, especially when short on time and time to make multiple stops in the car with kids. That and sometimes it’s just what the season ordered after dragging the kids through a marathon shopping excursion to knock all those items off your gift and to-do lists (right?). This mall also is offering some pre-paid photo package offers, along with other coupons, discounts, and group rates. See above link for more information.

Westminster Mall: Caring Santa Event
THIS SUNDAY Dec. 8, 8:30-11 a.m., FREE ADMISSION (Photo Pricing Varies)
I learned from my friends at Autism in Long Beach (CA) that the Santa at Westminster Mall has been especially kind and caring with those with special needs. After reading that, I immediately knew I had to add them onto this list. And then after looking into the Santa details at the same mall further, I learned that there’s a one-time event Sunday morning called “Caring Santa.” From the website: “Caring Santa is a private event designed for children and young adults with special needs and their families to have an opportunity to visit and have their photo taken with Santa. The event will be held during private mall hours in order to provide a calmer sensory-friendly environment, so please enter the mall using the Lower Level Macy’s entrance.” Visits with Santa are free (photos additional cost), but an RSVP is requested for the Caring Santa event. Though if you can’t attend Sunday, it sounds like you are in excellent Santa company here anytime now through December 24.

santa t at emigh dental 2012

Happy Santa’ing, RMT’ers!

RMT’ers, especially those near us and around Long Beach (CA): Where will you be seeing Santa this season? Please share with us in the comments below! Also: If you are reading this and are a part of an organization where Santa will be stopping by and you wish to be added onto this post to publicize your event for the 2013 holiday season (always free here at RMT so long as it’s a good fit for my audience), please leave a blog comment or contact me at: realmomtime@gmail.com. Ho, ho, ho… and thanks!