Guided Tour: Village du Père Noël
Village du Père Noël (Santa's Village)
Address: 987 Morin St., Autoroute 15, Exit 76 in Val-David, around 45 minutes north of Montreal
Hours: Weekends from Dec. 1-16 (2012) and daily from Dec. 21, 2012 to Jan. 6, 2013 (closed Dec. 25) from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Cost: $18 for ages 2-65, $16 for seniors, free for ages 2 & under, season pass $50.
Telephone: (819) 322-2146
This family attraction has been around since 1953, based on the idea that its Val-David location is Santa's "summer residence" - an outdoor play area and petting zoo where kids can feel the Christmas spirit year round. Le Village du Père Noël is also open during the winter, and is a super place to take the kids during the school break. It has all the bases covered, with a huge variety of activities to keep toddlers up to 10-year-olds happy, in a beautiful outdoor setting. The weather will influence your decision to visit, but don't worry about being stuck outside in the cold for hours - there are lots of places to go inside for a break or to warm up.
Playground and petting zoo
The rustic, gingerbread-style houses of the village are the first sign that you're entering a fantasy land for kids. Next you'll see a giant Christmas tree and candy canes towering over the outdoor playground. There are swings, playhouses, slides of various sizes and a small skating area. One of the main highlights for young ones will be the mini train, which circles a small track. Is that a llama over there? Yes, and there are also ducks, goats and reindeer to pet and feed in various enclosures. For an extra $2, children can take a pony ride.
Lots of action for older kids
Older kids will enjoy activities like tubing (they have the tubes, so no need to bring your own), sliding down a hill on gunny sacks, two zip cords, the skating rink and an area with giant building blocks. As you explore the village, you'll notice cabins that house different activities: one is a fun-house-style maze, another is filled with xylophone-type instruments that kids can use to make their own music. In one of the cabins, you'll find Santa, who is more than happy to have his picture taken with the kids.
Lunch is taken care of
For lunch, there's a casse croute on the premises that sells hot dogs and hamburgers, as well as soup, sandwiches, paninis, vegetarian pizza and fruit. You can eat in heated, enclosed tents that have picnic tables inside.
The Pacifier Swap
The Village has its own special tradition called the Pacifier Swap. Santa collects pacifiers from visiting children who no longer need them, which he keeps in a big drawer in his summer home. If your child is almost ready to give up her pacifier, and just needs a little push, this might be the perfect place for them to take that big step. To help prepare children, explain that they can give it to Santa to help poor children in other parts of the world. Suggestion: discreetly pass a little gift to Santa in advance, which he can give your child in exchange for the pacifier. It works like a charm every time!
Head to the Village du Père Noël website for more fun and special treats:
- Write to Santa
- Printable colouring pages
- Site-map and directions
- Discount coupons
Have you visited Le Village du Père Noël? What did you think?