The highlight of the holiday season is a photo with Santa and there are many venues to make that perfect memory. Families may experience that thrill with their children, and at the same time, engage in activities that are historical, cultural and educational. The Pittsburgh region takes pride in offering locations that will present an opportunity to capture the Yule celebration, and the smiles and giggles are a testimony that a prized photograph with Santa is well worth the wait. Santa may be found at a special breakfast, museum, mall, parade or department store, but the true entertainment belongs to the children as they pose with Santa Claus.
Pennsylvania Trolley Museum
1 Museum Road
Washington, PA 15301
Dates: Dec. 7, 8, 14, 15, 2013 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Quicker than a sleigh ride to the North Pole is a jaunt to the Pennsylvania Trolley Museum for a trolley ride and a photo with Santa Claus. After sharing a holiday pose with Santa, the families may venture over to the museum to view the toy train display. Children have the opportunity to participate in some play time at tables that are set up from their favorite television programs or watch the toy trains traverse through the well-designed villages and winter scenes. The history of the museum may be an interesting educational experience and foster dreams of the children becoming a conductor or finding the shortest distance to visit Santa.
Related: Best Places To See Santa
Breakfast & Lunch with Santa
528 Trax Road
Finleyville, PA 15332
Dates: Dec. 7-22, 2013 at 9:30 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. (Sat. and Sun. only)
Children and families waiting for an opportunity to strike a pose with Santa will find Trax Farms in the South Hills to be a perfect place to capture a holiday memory. The family-owned farm is a great place for families to experience home-grown products, a garden center and seasonal events. The relaxing environment of the farm setting makes for a memorable occasion for all members of the family with Santa for a delicious breakfast or lunch. Don’t forget to bring the camera and a special gift list for Santa to read.
Peoples Gas Holiday Market
23 Market Place
Pittsburgh, PA 15222
Dates: Through Dec. 23, 2013
Santa plans to take residence at Market Square in downtown Pittsburgh during the holiday season for a brief respite at his special house. Market Square is arranged in an historic replica of a market in Germany that comes replete with gifts, food and a holiday spirit that has memories of a celebration of Christmas past that blends perfectly for an educational experience. One of the favorite venues of the market is a stop at Santa’s House for a priceless photograph, as the sparkling lights make for an amazing magical adventure for the entire family. There is musical entertainment to get the holiday season rocking, and the spirit of the Pittsburgh region abounds from the help from Peoples Gas Company and the downtown partnership for the best place to be for families.
Kennywood Amusement Park
4800 Kennywood Blvd.
West Mifflin, PA 15122
Dates: Through Dec. 22 from 5 p.m. – 9 p.m. (Fri., Sat. and Sun. only)
If you are looking for one of the most exclusive and delightful backdrops for a photo with Santa, then try the annual Holiday Lights event at Kennywood Park. Among one of the awesome roller coasters will be Santa, who will be waiting at the Racers venue in one of the cars for a photo that has a radiant display of lights with Santa’s name flashing in the background. There are lights in vibrant colors on selected rides that make the holiday mood even more impressive. Families may choose from the available activities and food to highlight the Kennywood Park experience for a remarkable winter extravaganza. For an extra-special occasion, visit the park on December 7 for a chance to have dinner with Kris Kringle himself.
Allegheny Commons West
700 Arch St.
Pittsburgh, PA 15212
Dates: Dec 7, 14, 21, 2013 from 11 a.m. – 3 p.m.
Photos with Santa and an adorable penguin helper will be waiting for families at the National Aviary for an extraordinary holiday memory. The exhibits and tropical environment make for a breathtaking background and an educational event that enhances the holiday celebration in a unique and special way. The sights and sounds of the Aviary and the hundreds of birds may be enjoyed for a fun learning experience. There are beneficial interactive programs and an opportunity for a return visit to learn more about conservation and bird species.
Gerry Cernicky is a retired health and physical education teacher with 36 years of experience. He is a former teacher of the year and a sports writer for the Vandergrift News. He delivers podcasts, and maintains a website and blog. He currently resides in Pittsburgh. His work can be found at Examiner.com.