Santa’s sleigh is packed and ready to make a pit stop at The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis to visit with good little girls and boys.
Santa will arrive at the museum on Friday, Nov. 27, and will greet children through Dec. 24. Unfortunately, he cannot zip into the museum in a two-seater Indy racecar as he has in the past, however; two of his favorite chauffeurs will still help welcome him in style. Tony ‘TK’ Kanaan, winner of the 2013 Indianapolis 500 and the 2004 IndyCar Series championship and Ed Carpenter, driver and owner of the #20 Ed Carpenter Racing Indy car will drive Indy-style pedal cars down the ramp that wraps around the large Chihuly glass sculpture. It will be part of a new Santa’s Holiday Parade complete with Mr. Claus, elves, Rex and some of our Jolly Days characters. This event is sold out, but tune in to Santa’s arrival on Facebook Live at 9:30 a.m. Friday, Nov. 27. Facebook.com/childrensmuseum.
For the first time, families will get to pose for photos in front of the sleigh in Jolly Days Winter Wonderland. The Jolly Old Elf will sit in it at a safe distance, providing a perfect picture with families for their Instagram, Twitter and Facebook accounts. A professional photographer will also take pictures for purchase. Masks are required; but you can make it more fun by purchasing an ugly sweater or other festive mask from the Museum Store. COVID-19 restrictions will prevent children from sitting on Santa’s lap. Mr. Claus found yet another way to keep kids safe this season so he is asking children to write letters and wish lists before they arrive and drop those off in a special mailbox. Santa also knows that some children and families will not be able to visit in person so he is going high-tech. He will meet virtually with families this season. For more information visit https://www.childrensmuseum.org/holiday-events
Jolly Days Winter Wonderland opens Nov. 21 and runs through Jan. 3 (the museum is closed most Mondays but will be open on two of the winter break Mondays (Dec. 21 and Dec. 29). Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the exhibit has been modified for the health and safety of both visitors and staff. Therefore, families won’t be able to ride down the Yule Slide; but, they can pose for pictures alongside it with animals from our Steiff collection. Faux ice fishing, pretend holiday baking and reindeer grooming will also not be possible at this time.
Don’t worry—there are still plenty of fun activities to enjoy including some new ones:
– Sock skate on the pond.
– Explore the ice castle.
– Turn on and off colorful lights in the kitchen.
– Make it snow inside a giant snow globe in the Sunburst Atrium.
– Meet extraordinary Jolly Days characters, from Scrooge to Ms. Claus.
– Watch lights and patterns dance across a Christmas tree and ornaments in a new display (NEW).
– Watch popular holiday movie and TV show clips in the kitchen (NEW).
– Turn on the candles of a menorah and make frost appear on the kitchen windows in a new interactive display (NEW).
– See museum icon Martimus the polar bear and other arctic animals from the museum’s collection (NEW).
– Search for holiday decorations in a miniature house (NEW).
– Take family photos with Santa’s reindeer and Jolly Days friends at the reindeer barn (NEW).
Christmas Eve is a Free Admission Day from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. The museum closes early on that date so that Santa’s Museum Helpers can celebrate with their own families.
Santa’s Workshop: Santa’s elves need more help and they want families to create family memories together. Activities will include building and coloring a wooden puppet, writing a letter to Santa with custom stationary, and making a candy cane ornament out of pipe cleaner and pony beads. Families will be escorted one at a time to see Santa and there will be a mailbox to drop off their letter. Dec. 5, 6 and 12. For times and tickets visit https://www.childrensmuseum.org/holiday-events
Jolly Days Breakfast: Enjoy a light breakfast and holiday activities. Write a letter to Santa to deliver to him in Jolly Days. Create a photo frame for your holiday family memories, and more. Dec. 13 and 19. For times and tickets visit https://www.childrensmuseum.org/holiday-events
2020 Holiday Show: The Santa Clues: Ever wondered “Who exactly is this Santa guy anyway?” Well the United States special agency, The Bureau of Oddities, would like to know too! Join special agents Drake and Fletcher as they delve into the mystique surrounding the jolly old man dressed in red. The secret of his true identity is hidden somewhere in old stories and legends, but be prepared, because the answer might not be what you expect!
*This live production will have reduced capacity and be socially distanced in Lilly Theater. The shows are free with general admission but tickets are required. https://www.childrensmuseum.org/exhibits/lilly-theater
Countdown to Noon: Celebrate the final day of 2020 with special activities, music from Grammy-nominated musician Zak Morgan, and countdowns to 2021 at noon and 2 p.m., which allow families to experience the excitement of a countdown at a reasonable hour for the youngsters! Receive a festive favor for the big moment while supplies last!
*Both countdown celebrations will be socially distanced in Lilly Theater. They will also be broadcast live in the Sunburst Atrium.
Jolly Days Winter Wonderland is Presented by OneAmerica and Supported by Donatos and Indiana Farm Bureau Insurance. Coundown to Noon is Supported by Donatos Pizza and Indiana Farm Bureau Insurance. The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis is proud to partner with Riley Children’s at Indiana University Health, Old National Bank and Ice Miller LLP.
PHOTO ABOVE: Jolly Days Winter Wonderland will continue at the Children’s Museum through Jan. 3.