The North Pole is REAL, you guys! During my recent stay in Fairbanks, Alaska, I was asked if I wanted to pay a quick little visit to meet the man himself, Santa! Um, yes, please! I was transformed to a child like state immediately. Like in the scene in the movie, Elf, when Buddy is told Santa is coming to town…yeah, that was me, haha. “SANTA, YESSS, I know him!” Can’t remember that scene? Watch it here! We drove about 20 or so minutes outside of town to get there and all I could think about was how many destinations I could put on my Christmas list before Santa thought I was being too greedy. *wink, wink*
Things to do in North Pole, Alaska
Once we arrived, I was taken back in time a bit. As you would imagine, everything was decorated and ready for the BIG day, Christmas! It had a relaxed feel to it and there were friendly faces everywhere. I even saw a Blockbuster Video store open, with actual people there…what year was I in?! It was nice to wander about in the Santa Clause House, any Christmas treasure you could imagine, you can find it here. I bought my youngest a beautiful hand painted set of nesting dolls from Russia. I was also told you can send a letter to Santa. If you’re interested mail your letters to:
325 S. Santa Claus Lane
North Pole, Alaska 99705
Click here to get more info on how you can even request to receive letters from Santa! Unfortunately, I came on the only day Santa had off, Monday (Santa skips Mondays, of course he does, brilliant man!). However, I did get to sit in his chair…maybe I’ll send a photo to him letting him know I was “nice” enough to come for a visit (along with my travel list, of course, hehe). Click here to plan your visit to see Santa and another site to look into getting letters sent from good old Saint Nick himself.
Okay, guys, this next place has been kept a secret, but I wanted to share it with all of you. Seriously, after I had the best experience with the cutest reindeer ever (eight to be exact), I asked for their website or Facebook or Instagram so that I could share with all you lovely people. They informed me they didn’t have any. What?! Even after being opened for three years, this magical place only gets visitors by word of mouth. Once you go through a very brief explanation of the rules, you get to interact even feed, touch, play with all eight of Santa’s reindeer! I was like a giddy school girl! I actually got to FaceTime (the North Pole has internet, yay!) with my daughters back home so they could experience it with me. So much fun!
*A Few Fun Reindeer Facts*
-Reindeer are also called Caribou. In Europe they are called Reindeer all the time. In America, we call them Caribou in the wild and when domesticated we call them Reindeer.
-Both male and female reindeer and caribou can have antlers; only male deer of all other species have antlers.
-Reindeer antlers are bony appendages that grow every year! They grow quickly and are fuzzy, and velvety to the touch in the beginning (how they were when I experienced them) then later shed the mossy (fuzzy) layer and become more bone-like just before the antlers completely shed from their body in the winter months.
I adored these little guys! I was the last to leave and asked the most questions…thankfully, Kamry, our guide and Reindeer specialist was patient and happy to answer all of my questions. Cupid was quite the flirt, trying to get extra snacks, I guess, hehe!
125 St. Nicholas Dr.
North Pole, Ak 99702 (walking distance from Santa Claus House)
Open Mon-Fri (closing mid September, opening in May)
Hours: 9:45am-5:45pm (last tour at 5pm)
Prices: Adults 13 and older $12.95; Children 3 and up $9.95 (Fairbanks has a Reindeer ranch with tickets starting at $55 for adults and $35 for children.)
Although the Reindeer ranch in Fairbanks seems much larger, you’ll get a better price at Antler Academy and the charm just exudes from this place with such ease. I mean, who can compete with visiting Santa’s real Reindeer, right?! When you visit, be sure to tell them I said “hello” and give Cupid a little smooch from me!
I love when unexpected and unplanned travel experiences like this one happen, memories that I’ll have forever! I must have looked like I was only about ten or eleven as I played with my newest friends. Rudolf was a no show, must be a wanderer just like me. If I could just fly off to anywhere on my own, you’d probably never see me in one place for too long either. Thanks for reading, friends, and be sure to check back soon for my next post, Feeling Like Family in Fairbanks, Alaska!