A few weeks ago I was flipping through the channels and came across a commercial for Bass Pro Shops Santa's Wonderland. I have never stepped foot inside such a store before. If you are not familiar, Bass Pro Shops Outdoor World is like the Disneyland of Outdoor Stores. They sell everything for hunting, fishing, camping, canoeing, kayaking, boating, etc. Inside the store, there is a giant waterfall and a pond full of real trout. Surrounding all this, is realistic outdoor scenery complete with a huge collection of taxidermy, strategically placed to enhance the whole ambiance. I use the term "taxidermy" because the animals appeared real, but I'm not really sure if they were "real". I DO know that they were not "real" as in "living". That is how exciting this place is year round.
For the holidays, they set aside a special area where they have all kinds of fun things for the kids to do. That is what they call "Santa's Wonderland". Following the outdoor theme, there is a carousel complete with reindeer, moose and bears, instead of horses. They have a shooting gallery, a sling shot gallery, slot car races, a real Lionel Christmas train, remote control monster trucks and activity tables. Santa was also nestled in a corner waiting to hear the kids' Christmas wishes, with a professional photographer ready to snap a 4x7. All of this, including the 4x7 is F-R-E-E!!!!
When we walked in the door the children's heads came dangerously close to exploding. They looked around at all of the things to see and do and their brains just went into sensory overload! They were so excited and they wanted to do everything NOW! We managed to calm them down and restore some kind of order but they were amped, stoked, and ready to roll. We spent half of the time in Santa's Wonderland and the other half just enjoying the rest of the store. During our visit, Connor looked up at me and said, "Mama, this is the best day ever!"
I love finding little gems of fun like this. Seriously, the kids enjoyed this more than a visit to Chuck E. Cheese and it didn't cost a penny! If you are fortunate enough to have a Bass Pro Shop near you and you have children you can't miss this opportunity to visit Santa's Wonderland. Because we went in the afternoon on a weekday, we were lucky enough to to be one of the few families there and we didn't even have to stand in line to see Santa.