‘Tis the season to be jolly, and search for a place to take a picture with Santa. If over-crowded malls just aren’t your thing, then consider bringing the kids to one of these DC destinations. Not only will you be able to snap a photo with jolly Ol’ Saint Nick but also enjoy plenty of holiday-related events and activities as well.
Santa’s Workshop at the Ellipse
1600 Constitution Ave. N.W.
Washington, DC 20002
Date: Dec. 9-24, 2013
Perhaps the most well-known place to take a photo with Santa, the Holiday on the Ellipse features a variety of events and activities that are sure to please every member of the family. Swing by Santa’s workshop and catch the elves in action as they create toys and games for all of the good little boys and girls on Santa’s list. You and the kids will get a kick sitting on Santa’s lap and letting him know what they want for Christmas. In addition, the special holiday event features the lighting of the National Christmas tree, Christmas carols and the Christmas Pathway of Peace.
Brunch with Santa at Kennedy Center
2700 F St. N.W.
Washington, DC 20566
Date: Dec. 15, 22, 2013
Why settle for just a picture when you and the kids can have brunch with Santa instead? The Annual Brunch with Santa event takes place at the Roof Terrace Restaurant, located atop the Kennedy Center. The brunch is served buffet style from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., so be sure to get reservations early. Guests will also be treated to a live jazz performance. Why not complete the day with a performance of holiday favorites such as “The Nutcracker,” NPR’s “Jazz Christmas,” “Elf the Musical,” “Messiah” sing-along or the “Lion, the Unicorn and Me,” a Washington National Opera family-friendly holiday event?
3001 Connecticut Ave.
Washington, DC 20008
Date: Through Jan. 1, 2014 (Closed Dec. 24 and 25, 2013)
For a completely different photo experience with Santa, head over to the National Zoo where you will find Zoolights. This wildly (no pun intended) popular event features more than 500,000 environmentally friendly lights set to transform the zoo into a winter wonderland. See animal silhouettes and musical light displays or catch all of the animals in their natural habitat. Many of the exhibit buildings, including the small mammal house, reptile discovery center and great ape house, will be open to the public. The event also features snow tubing, train rides, a carousel and plenty of photo opportunities. Don’t forget to take a photo with Panda Claws, the official ambassador of the Zoolights event. Although he’s not Santa, Panda Claws will make for a pretty memorable photo op.
Carousel Rides with Santa
165 Waterfront St.
National Harbor, MD 20745
Date: Dec. 7, 14, 21, 2013 from 12 p.m. to 2 p.m.
With plenty of activities and events planned, the National Harbor is another great place to enjoy the beauty of the holidays. Hop on the carousel and take a little ride with Santa. Santa will also make a special appearance waterskiing down the Potomac along with his friends the flying elves and the Jet-skiing Grinch with Frosty the Snowman leading Christmas carols in the pavilion. Other exciting events include Ice! featuring ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas, an amazing display of more than two million pounds of ice shaped into the heartwarming tale. Sign up for the Christmassy DreamWorks Experience or simply look in awe at the beautiful holiday decorations, lights and nightly indoor snowfall.
Susan Diranian is a freelance writer living in Ashburn, VA. She is covering Travel & Outdoors. Her work can be found at Examiner.com.