Bass Pro Shops - Santa and So Much More
Oh my goodness! What a whirlwind of a holiday season. Have you guys survived? I think I survived just by the skin of my teeth. If you follow my personal blog at all, you know I've suffered from Holiday Spirit Fatigue a bit this year and if it weren't for the pictures I snapped, I'm not sure I'd believe we actually celebrated anything!
One thing we've made sure to do the last few years, is visit Santa. After our trip to Steve's Sundry to work on our letters to him, we made the trek to one of our favorite places to spend time as a family, with or without Santa: Bass Pro Shop's Outdoor World!
The fantastic thing about Bass Pro Shops around the holidays is they offer FREE pictures with Santa, but that is simply one thing on the long list of draws for our family. When you first walk in, you are awestruck by the truly gorgeous facility. The high ceilings and carefully placed lighting highlight a unique construction of what is essentially a giant log cabin. Everywhere you turn, you're surrounded by the outdoors coming inside with wooden beams, life-sized animals, and mini camp scenes!
There is a whole host of adventure to be had with exciting hats and gear to try on! I told my five year old he looked like Indiana Jones in this hat. He asked, "What's Indiana Jones?"
Oh well, he still thought the hat was cool!
Who says you have to go to the aquarium to see fish? At the center of the store, next to a huge indoor waterfall concealing the elevator, there's a grand fish tank. We always make a pit stop and say hello to the fishies.
Note: directly BEHIND this aquarium is a Starbucks. Yep. A real Starbucks counter. Coffee, smoothies, snacks, treats, gifts, the WHOLE shabang. That spells mommy's happy place to me!
As you head to the back of the store where Santa's Wonderland was, there are four wheelers lined up, and it's totally legal to climb on and try them out! You guessed it, one more thing we never pass up!
Where the wonderland was set up for the holidays is where they usually set up all of the pontoon and speed boats for sale. Again, it's totally legal to climb on and play. We have spent many an afternoon as a family playing make believe boat trip! The kids are really good drivers.
However, on this night, the usual boat space is home to the man himself, and all the little ones lined up to pay their respects!
The magical decorations transform the already beautiful surroundings, and even as an adult, I was excited about the moment awaiting us.
When we were in the car, I asked the littles if they were excited about seeing Santa, and was more than a little disappointed when they informed me they'd already seen Santa with thier dad. I was worried maybe they didn't care about seeing him again, or maybe even that some of the magic had been lost for them.
But when I caught their awestruck little faces in line as we approached Mr. Claus, I knew the spark was still there. My 4 year old kept saying, "Hi Santa!" as he watched child after child sit in the big man's lap and patiently awaited his own moment.
Then, the moment had finally come. I tried to pay close attention as the boys each told Santa what they wanted for Christmas, while also fumbling with my camera (and now for the life of me can't remember what they told him!) and quickly snapped a couple of keepers! After the picture is taken, the elves present you with your free picture in a cute little card for FREE, and you also have options of purchasing packages with all different sizes. It's a great option for family holiday gifts!
Though we had already made our own letters, I thought it was really neat that they had small child-sized tables and chairs set up with printouts and crayons so kids could write personal letters to Santa.
There was also a really cool electric car track set up that the boys LOVED. As always, they made a few friends as well! This was something special set up for the holidays, but every other day there are tons of cool games set up for kids to enjoy (while you sip your latte)!
Oh, they gave us coupons for free kid's meals at Uncle Buck's restaurant too. Did I tell you they have a restaurant?! Yup, it's a fun, homey place right in the middle of the store where you can get some belly warming goodies!
We'll be back to use our coupons for sure, and to visit the fishies again. It's a favorite free place to visit on a rainy or cold day, and we'll probably be back to visit Santa next year!
See you around town!