By James Waterson
Festive parades, trees decked out in colorful lights and ribbons, and a sprawling winter wonderland where it snows every night. These are just a few of the ways you can experience the magic of the most wonderful time of the year in College Station, home to multiple events in November and December. Say “howdy” to jolly old Saint Nick in the fun-for-all-ages Santa’s Wonderland, go on a tasting tour of a first-class winery, and shop for unique gifts in our many shops. Add a touch of Texas charm and make your holidays your own in College Station. Here’s how.
Experience Santa’s Wonderland
Towering slopes blanketed by fresh white snow. Horse-drawn carriage rides though breathtaking displays of three million lights. Visits with Santa in his very own cottage. A full stocking’s worth of holiday cheer awaits at Santa’s Wonderland in College Station. Feel like you’re in the North Pole as you sip hot cocoa and revel in all the Christmas cheer. Go on a hay or carriage ride to see the lights, slide down a snowy hill on an inner tube, and enjoy your favorite festive tunes performed by some of the Lone Star State’s most talented musicians.
Although these activities are more than enough to keep you busy, we’re just getting started. Find some one-of-a-kind gifts for the fine folks on your shopping list in Santa’s Town, home to 25,000 square feet of covered shopping. Take photos in one of two Texas-sized snow globes or with the giant polar bear statues that guard the bright lights of the Lone Star Grand Illumination. If you’re traveling with your kids, take them to meet Tinsel the Elf to see if they’re on the naughty or nice list, and let them ride Santa’s Wonderland Kid’s Train before visiting the petting zoo.
When your appetite arrives, there’s no better place to be than Frostbite’s Food Village. Dig into delicious barbecue, homemade pizzas, and Texas-sized burgers, then roast your own s’mores or get some fudge, pie, or peach cobbler topped with ice cream for dessert. Cap it all with a tasting of reds and whites from Wonderland Winery, then buy a bottle or two to take home with you. Since you won’t find them in any store, this is a unique way you can bring all the joy of Santa’s Wonderland home with you.
Add Yuletide Cheer to Your Next Hotel Stay
Visiting the College Station area during the holidays doesn’t mean you have to go without all the festive fun you’d have at home. The area’s biggest and best hotels deck their halls with seasonal delight that’ll put you right in the Christmas spirit. Yet there’s more. The Texas A&M Hotel and Conference Center hosts breakfast with Santa throughout December. Breakfast with Jolly Old Saint Nick includes cookie decorating, face painting, and the chance to snap a photo with the big man himself while he’s visiting from the North Pole.
Enjoy Family-Friendly Holiday Fun
Is it really the Christmas season without cookies, hot cocoa, and a Texas-sized tree? Enjoy all this, and more, at the George Bush Presidential Library and Museum’s Holidays in the Rotunda. This free event features all the family-friendly holiday entertainment you need to kick off the most wonderful time of the year. Get a cookie and a cup of hot cocoa and admire the 19-foot Christmas tree, then let your little ones make ornaments and play in Santa’s workshop. Kris Kringle will also be on hand, so make sure your kids have their wish lists handy.
Embark on Santa’s Safari
Watch lounging camels and strutting ostriches, feed a giraffe by hand, and make the acquaintance of a friendly pygmy goat before meeting Santa Claus himself. This is what you’ll get at Aggieland Safari’s own holiday-themed walk on the wild side. See zebras, buffalo, and more as you follow the Drive-Thru Safari, then enjoy a close-up view of hippos, kangaroos, wallabies, and warthogs in the Adventure Zoo.
Along the way, check out the live nativity scene, warm up with hot cocoa or apple cider, get photos taken with Safari Santa, and stick around to roast marshmallows over a fire pit. There’s even face painting and train rides for the kids, so everyone can find a bit of holiday cheer. Santa’s Safari is held every weekend in December, and you can find more information about it here.
Whether you’re taking in all the yuletide cheer of Santa’s Wonderland, watching a festive parade march by, or relishing the succulent tastes of world-class wines, there are many ways to welcome the holiday season in Bryan College Station. Plan your visit here.
About the Author: James Waterson is the head writer and content specialist for Tour Texas. When he isn’t writing about the many great places in the state of Texas, he’s planning his next epic adventure in the Lone Star State.