While Macy’s Santaland in downtown Minneapolis is no more, there are still plenty of fun ways to see Santa in the Twin Cities, from Twin City Moms Blog’s Donuts with Santa events to rides with the guy in red on the Como-Harriet streetcar. There’s even a brand new experience for 2017: the Winter Castle at Rosedale Center.
The mall’s new sparkly castle, with six towers – the tallest reaches 31 feet – and 30,000 LED lights that change from blue to pink to white, has a photo set tucked inside where visitors can sit on Santa’s lap. On a recent visit, a soft-spoken, friendly Santa chatted with my eldest about her Christmas list and chuckled when she told him she meant to give him lots of cookies last year, “but Daddy ate most of them.”
The set, designed by the Montreal company Studio Artefact, also has several 3D augmented reality animations, which bring things like snowflakes, a drum and a nutcracker to life when you look at them through your phone. You’ll need to download the free Rosedale Center Winter Castle app beforehand to see them. We had fun making them play, and my daughter liked trying to take her own pictures of them with the app, which also can make your photos look like it’s snowing inside.
The Winter Castle experience is technically free, but personal photos aren’t allowed with Santa – so if you want a photo with Mr. Claus, packages start at $24.99. The castle is located in the mall’s East Court, near Talbots, and there are other sparkly decorations and augmented reality spots designed by Studio Artefact scattered around the shopping center. The castle is scheduled to be up through February 5, but Santa will only be in residence through Christmas Eve.
Visit Santa at Rosedale Center’s Winter Castle:
Christmas Eve: 9am-5pm
Pet Photo Nights
6 – 8 p.m. on the following dates:
Tuesday, November 14
Tuesday, November 21
Tuesday, November 28
Tuesday, December 5
And, before your trip – download the free Rosedale Center Winter Castle app and position your device in the direction of marked holiday objects to see them come to life! The app allows you to take photos with a variety of holiday characters, add special effects and share with your friends and family!