Is it too soon to be talking about Christmas in November? I am definitely one of those people who thinks that Christmas should start on December 8th. Not the day after Halloween! However I might like to deny it, Christmas is definitely creeping up fast this year and most of us have a little someone in our lives whether its a nephew or niece, son or daughter, grandchild or just a mini me that is already talking about Santa. There are so many places to go Galavanting now that incorporate a visit to Santa in their attraction. So me being in a festive mood I have compiled a list of ten of them around the country who will not only attract the kids, but the adults too!
Santa’s grotto at Dublin Zoo
This had to be top of the list as this is where my Aunty Ann took us when we were small. A trip up to Dublin at Christmas was not complete without a visit to Santa at Dublin Zoo! I really don’t know how the woman managed to control 7 of us cousins at the one time! Santa’s grotto is open every weekend in December from 10am to 4pm and from the 20th December to the 24th December. Kids are €10. After visiting Santa you can then take a trip around the Zoo to check out all the animals! Perfect Day out!
Rathwood Santa Train- Carlow
Join the Santa train in Rathwood, Co Carlow for a trip through the enchanted forest and meet Santa and his elves! This experience has sold out in the past so if you are thinking of it, early booking is advised. It takes an hour and its €16 for kids. The kids get to meet Santa ,everyone gets a gift and a hot chocolate (I’m sold!) and an activity book. There is a restaurant on site too as well as a Christmas market so definitely something for the adults!
Discover at Fota Island, Co Cork
Following on from lasts years “Wish at Fota Island” you can now take the kids directly to the north pole at Fota Island resort. Kids start at €20 and go all the way up to €26 to visit Santa and the Christmas markets. It is necessary to book this online along with the time you want to visit. Santa is also visiting Fota House this year. This visit would set you back €15 for kids and you also have full access to the house and gardens. There’s also a Christmas fair on December 4th and Carols by candlelight on the 6th.
Airfield Estate, Dublin
The Christmas experience at Airfield estate looks pretty magical also. They are running tours every half
an hour and it includes a visit with the elves in teepees! (that sounds like so much fun), story time with the man himself and a gift, a visit to the elves kitchen to see how much damage they can do and a hot chocolate. You can also have a trip around the entire estate. It sounds like a great day out for everyone! Kids are €21 for the experience.
Green Santa at Belvedere House, Co Westmeath
Now here’s something different- an environmentally friendly Santa! You need to book this visit in advance also online and its €12 for the 1st Child and €10 for each additional child. The best bit is that up to 2 adults are free! Santa arrives by boat across Lough Ennell and meets the kids in his grotto. Kids get a free potted tree then to plant at home! Genius!
Kia Ora Farm, Gorey, Co Wexford
Santa visits Kia Ora farm every weekend starting from this weekend and once you pay to visit Santa you can visit the entire farm also. That includes the go carts, the aviary, the musical light show and lots lots more. So something for adults and children here. And there is a coffee shop on site also. Kids are priced at €17 a head.
Westport House, Co Mayo
Westport house is beautiful at any time of year but when better to go than to go and visit the big man too! Santa is in residence every weekend from now until Christmas to meet the kids and hear their wish list for Christmas. There is face painting, a visit to Santa’s grotto where they will receive a gift also and decorating their very own ginger bread man in the long hall!
There’s a glass of mulled wine for the adults too! Its priced at €28 per child.
The Ailwee Caves, Co Clare
I have heard great things about Santa’s workshop in the Ailwee caves. Here you will find face painting, puppet show and carnival entertainment. From the cave you can take the train to the birds of prey center which is a must visit in itself (I am speaking from personal experience here). Kids are priced at €34 but there is a special offer on this weekend for €24.
Stonehall visitor farm
Stonehall visitor farm and wildlife park is situated in Kilcornan in Co Limerick. From the 03rd of December you can go to visit Santa and his grotto and experience the park and animals also. There’s mulled wine for the adults (to warm you up), a play area for the kids and then a walk through of the park itself even before you get to visit the grotto. You get a framed photo of the kids and Santa included in the price and a visit to see the larger animals also. Tickets are €20 per child.
Glendeer Pet farm
Glendeer pet farm is situated just outside Athlone, across the border in Co Roscommon. The farm itself is a mecca for kids and from the 03rd December it transforms into Lapland to facilitate the visit of – you’ve guessed it- Santa! All the facilities for Lapland are undercover so it could be pissing rain outside and you can still bring the kids- perfect! The animals are involved too obviously and the kids get a chance to feed them and pet them, as well as getting in a visit with Santa and getting a gift! Kids are priced at €16 here.
So there you have it, no excuse to be sitting on your todd in December at all! Most of these attractions include a charge for adults also so make sure to check these out before you travel also! I have attached a link to all the spots below. Tune in next week when we start exploring the Christmas Markets! Happy Galavanting! xxx