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Day-trip Destination: North Pole & Santa’s Workshop – Colorado Springs

The Santa slide at the North Pole & Santa’s Workshop has been a favorite ride at the amusement park since it opened in 1956 at the base of Pikes Peak just west of Colorado Springs.


Kids, parents & grandparents ride the rides together, shop the toy shops & meet Santa Claus at this Christmas-themed amusement park just west of Colorado Springs

CASCADE, COLO. — Mapmakers might tell you the North Pole is way up in the Arctic, but generations of Colorado children know better. After all, they’ve seen the North Pole & Santa’s Workshop with their own eyes – it’s right here in Colorado at the base of Pikes Peak.

The North Pole & Santa’s Workshop is a third-generation, family-owned kids’ amusement park. (Click here for a map of all North Pole attractions.) Located at the base of Pikes Peak just west of Colorado Springs, the North Pole and Santa’s Workshop is open from May through Christmas Eve, but there’s a palpable feeling of excitement in December.

Proof that magic is real

For children old enough to understand the idea of Santa but young enough to be free of doubt, the North Pole is proof that magic is real. Parents and grandparents keep their eyes glued to their children to see the waves of raw giddiness wash over the kids’ faces when stepping into Santa’s village.

And yes, there is a literal North Pole you can touch that, no matter what the weather’s like, is covered in a perpetual sheet of ice.

North Pole, Colorado, hasn’t changed all that much since it opened in 1956, evoking warm memories of Christmases past in adult visitors. The norm is for three generations of families to visit together, with kids 2 or younger and grandparents 60 or older getting free admission. For everyone from ages 3 to 59, admission is $24, but you can always find a $3 off coupon on the North Pole’s website.

Ridiculously cute shops

The village shops are inside ridiculously cute gingerbread-style log buildings, with two separate toy shops for boys and girls. The Boys Shop is stocked with cars, planes, dinosaurs and old-fashioned toy guns; the Girls Shop has baby dolls and horses. At the nearby Candy Shop, children can buy chocolate, marshmallows and graham crackers and trundle over to the open fire pit to roast s’mores. The most Christmassy of all the shops is the Christmas Shop, which specializes in every sort of ornament and other item of holiday paraphernalia. No money changes hands in any of the shops. To preserve the magical aura, shop clerks write down purchases on a card and just make sure visitors pay for their purchases before exiting the park.

Santa himself

The magic is strongest at Santa Claus’ log house, where children meet the big man in his very own living room and talk toys and holiday wishes. Unlike your standard mall Santas and other wannabe St. Nicks, this Santa is the real-deal Kris Kringle. Probably.


Kids meet Santa in the living room of his gingerbread-style log house.


The rotating Christmas tree ride has delighted Colorado kids for generations.

The carousel has a lot more than boring old horses. The music is provided courtesy of a century-old band organ that is almost as fun to watch as it is to listen to.

The North Pole’s locomotive  and other classic rides are non-scary enough for kids but still pack a decent thrill for adults.