|Note:||Seating at 6 p.m.|
|Date of next event:||December 12, 13, 19 & 20|
|Cost:||$21.95/adult, $18.95/adult member $11.95/youth (2-12), $9.95/youth member|
Located in Fishers, IN, Conner Prairie is one of our favorite places to visit. During the spring and summer there is a ton to do outdoors but it also has many options for fun around the Holidays. One event is one of our favorite and a new holiday family tradition. Dinner with Santa is a magical evening with good food, family and of course Santa.
We have been going to Conner Prairie for over a year now and still haven’t experienced everything there is to see and do especially around the Holidays. We want to go for the Candlelight Tour. Conner Prairie by Candlelight is a guided tour through Conner Prairie’s Prairietown. You get to see what the night before Christmas was like for many 175 years ago! Including a family who celebrated Hanukkah!
You can also visit during the day for Holiday Adventures where you can see how families prepared for the holidays back in the 1830’s. There is an adult only event, Holiday Cheers that sounds fun and Prairie Tykes events that are themed around the Holidays!
We will get to do those as the kids get older but one event we can enjoy while they are any age is Dinner (or Breakfast) with Santa! Plus they have the Gingerbread Village just downstairs and available to view no matter what event you are there for!
The magic of Christmas and Santa is too brief for kids and I love that mine are still young enough to find the magic of it all. While they are learning what Christmas is really about (being with family and friends and giving or helping someone without letting them know it was you or receive something in return) they still believe in the big man himself.
There really isn’t much to the event, which in itself is fantastic! You show up, give them your ticket and someone shows you to your table. As soon as you drop off your coat and things you can go up to the buffet and get your food. There are two sides and plenty so you don’t feel rushed to get up there.
There was turkey, ham, mashed potatoes, corn, green beans, mac and cheese, chicken fingers, tater tots, rolls, soup, salad, and a couple things I don’t eat so can’t remember. There was a separate dessert buffet and water, tea (iced and hot) and coffee were free. You could purchase soda or juice if you wished and the meal included a free cookie to decorate!
We arrived a little late…I know you’re shocked…but we didn’t feel at all rushed and there was plenty of food still and it was warm and oh so tasty. My son had seconds it was so tasty. Just a few minutes after we sat down with our plates the big man arrived. Santa himself along with Mrs. Claus made quite the entrance. He was waving and saying hello and Merry Christmas as he made his way to his throne….or chair.
Immediately my kids had to see Santa so we forgot about food for the moment and went to get in line. Turns out there were only a few of us who had that idea so we were second in line. There is a nice decorated and lit tree right next to him so we took a couple of pictures and spent the rest of our wait time giggling and keeping my kids from knocking themselves or anything over. Never dull with these two.
When it was our turn Santa greeted both kids, asked their names and if they were good and helpful. My kids both quickly answered yes and my son started to describe HOW helpful he has been. I’m just glad he doesn’t make stuff up yet. He asked what each child wanted and after each told him LEGO of different varieties he asked what else. I thought Santa’s were trained NOT to ask “what else?”! Luckily they said infinity characters and other surprises. Those I can handle.
He sat with them while we took a few pictures and then Mrs. Claus gave them each a candy cane and helped them down. We went back to our table and finished our dinner but maybe a bit more excited then when we sat down the first time. My son was explaining to us what he told Santa and my daughter was agreeing and adding in bits here and there. I don’t think either realized or cared that we were there and heard it all. Then again I am not sure any of us cared either since we listened like we hadn’t caught a word.
Santa was good. I mean really good. He looked the part even with the fake beard. More importantly though he acted like a Santa. He was kind, asked questions and got the kids to answer. He listened carefully to each request while the kids squirmed on his legs due to all the excitement with the patience of a saint. You could tell he enjoyed being there for the kids.
When we were done with dinner the adults hit the dessert buffet but the kids wanted their cookies. Decorating cookies is serious business and apparently requires frosting in amounts that will give you a cavity looking at it. Tis the season for no sleeping! They were proud of those cookies and they appeared to taste very good since it didn’t take long to eat them.
Once desserts were finished it was time to go. The staff, which were extremely polite and wonderful, were starting to clean up but Santa had a line still. Every kid got to meet with Santa and he spent as much time with each kid as they wanted. Never pushing away, never rushing them and always listening with a smile. Every kid left happy that we saw and my son paused to tell me “this was a great day mom” (he tries to stop calling me mommy already…at 6). It really was.
Conner Prairie’s Dinner with Santa highlights the magic of Christmas by allowing you to spend an evening with your family and not have to worry about the clean up or stress over the preparations. I can’t imagine a more magical evening for our family and I love that this is now a holiday family tradition.
Here is a gallery of Dinner with Santa and the Gingerbread Village.