Santa roundup: Where to see the Jolly Old Elf in Central Virginia

Where to visit with Santa in RVA

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - He’s a tough guy to track down this time of year. Santa is busy and so are you, trying to get everything done for Christmas.

That’s why we’re here to help you with when and where to catch the man in red, right here in RVA. We teamed up with Richmond Family Magazine for a Santa rundown.

“This weekend is a huge weekend for special things and special ways to see Santa," Margaret Thompson, owner of Richmond Family Magazine, said. "Of course, I feel like shopping and Santa has gone together ever since the ‘Miracle on 34th Street.’ Nowadays, and that’s still the case, all of the area malls have Santa.”

Get your shopping done, and grab your pictures at the time same time.

“Over at Westchester Commons, that’s the only mall with a 19-foot Santa train to take your picture on, so that’s kind of cool, Thompson said.

Don’t want to wait in the line? Because of toddlers or tired kids or whatever else? You don’t have to. Cabella’s and Bass Pro Shop let you set an appointment.

“You go to the ticket depot, you get your ticket and then you can do the crafts and activities and go shopping, and then you just come back when it’s ticket time so you don’t have to wait in line,” Thompson said. “So, yes, it’s free at Bass Pro and Cabella’s, which is awesome.”

For more information, visit the Santa’s Wonderland website.

Santa’s Wonderland is celebrating its 10-year anniversary at Bass Pro Shops as the ultimate free family Christmas event and, for the first time ever, the fun is coming to Cabela’s, too.

And if you’ve already gotten your shopping done and still want to see Santa, but don’t want to wait in line, you can have breakfast with Santa on either Dec. 8 or Dec. 15 at Virginia Center Commons. Seating is limited and tickets must be purchased in advance. Ticket benefit The Arc of Hanover. Call 804-496-4700 for availability.

Maggiano’s in Short Pump Town Center is having breakfast, story time and pictures with Santa on Dec. 9 and 16 at 9 a.m. The $40 ticket includes time with Santa, a printed picture, breakfast buffet and crafts.

Midlothian Family YMCA will have Breakfast with Santa on Dec. 15 at 8:30 a.m. and 10 a.m. You must register in person.

North Avenue Library will have free Breakfast Story Time with Santa on Dec. 22 from 10:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. Children will be able to enjoy a story, food, music and lots of fun. Attendees must be registered by Dec. 15.

Fire stations in Hanover, Beaverdam and King William are also offering a chance to meet Santa. This usually comes with the added benefit of being able to climb up on a fire truck.

Tea with Legendary Santa is a long-standing Richmond tradition being held on weekends in the old Miller and Rhoads tea room at the Hilton Richmond Downtown.

If your child needs a calmer Santa event, there are sensory friendly Santa event this weekend and next.

Short pump, Chesterfield and Regency are all on the list.

“The music is softer, the lights are lower, you can take private pictures with Santa,” Thompson said.

Santa Cares at Short Pump Town Center will be Dec. 9 from 9 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. and at Chesterfield Towne Center. from 10 a.m. to noon. Tickets can be reserved on Eventbrite.

Sensitive Santa at Regency will be Dec. 9 from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. The event is free and attendees should RSVP to 740-1518.

And Santa isn’t just for children. Pets can have their pictures taken with Santa too at Willow Lawn, Short Pump and Stoney Point.

Pet Valu at Willow Lawn will have pet pictures Dec. 8 and 15 from 12:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. Doggie goodie bags are available with a donation to Richmond Animal Care and Control.

Santa Paws will be held at Short Pump Park on Dec. 8 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Local vendors will on-hand and concessions will be available for purchase.

Pet photos at Stony Point Fashion Park will be Dec. 9 and 16 from 6 p.m. to 7 p.m.

There are also several Santa special events:

  • Candlelight Walk and Caroling in Church Hill on Friday, Dec 7. This begins at Union Hill at 7:15 p.m. with drummers and bagpipers leading the way. It proceeds to St. John’s Church and then on to Libby Hill for caroling and a visit from Santa.
  • Soul Santa at the Black History Museum on Saturday, Dec 8 from noon-4 p.m. 
  • Three Centuries of Virginia Christmas at Henricus Historical Park on Saturday, Dec. 8 from noon- 5 p.m. The festive journey through time ends with a visit from Father Christmas.
  • Santa will be at Historic St. John’s Church for Court End Christmas on Sunday, Dec. 9 from 1-4 p.m. 
  • Meet Santa and Elf Cow at Chick-fil-A Winterpock on Monday, Dec. 10 from 6-8:30 p.m. Santa has a little helper this year. Joining him as a helper, new this year is the Eat Mor Chikin Elf Cow. 
  • Santa Photos & Reception at the Ashland Theatre on Saturday, Dec. 22 from 4-7 p.m. Meet jolly old St. Nick, Mrs. Claus and Rudolph and be among the first to see the newly-renovated Ashland Theatre.

Here are some of the old standbys:

  • Legendary Santa at the Children’s Museum of Richmond
  • Santa at most of the malls throughout Central Virginia
  • At Westchester Commons, you’ll see a unique display with giant snow globes and you can have your pictures taken inside the 19-foot North Pole Express, Santa’s North Pole Annex Train Station
  • Bass Pro Shops and now Cabela’s – Free photos with Santa, plus games, crafts, and activities. 
  • RVA Santa at Green Top in Hanover County from Dec. 15-23

You can also catch Santa at:

  • Illuminate Light Show – visit Santa’s Village after you drive through the lights at Meadow Event Park
  • Lewis Ginter Gardenfest of Lights in the conservatory every Monday
  • Winterfest at Kings Dominion
  • Santa will be at Boulevard Flower Gardens in Chesterfield weekends from 1-4 p.m. and at an open house on Dec. 7 from 5:30-7 p.m. 

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