Santa Claus is parking his sleigh in a new location in downtown Springfield this holiday season.
SantaLand has relocated to the Myers Market building, 101 S. Fountain Ave., better known recently as the former United Senior Services building. Santa’s previous home was at the neighboring Heritage Center.
Kids can visit Santa there from noon to 4 p.m. Saturdays through Dec. 17. Admission is free.
The building’s gym has been transformed into a local version of the North Pole with props and lights adding to the experience.
The revamped SantaLand opened to enthusiastic reviews during Holiday in the City on Nov. 26.
Terrance Walker Jr., 6, ran up to Santa during his visit and greeted him with a huge hug while visiting with his sister, Taniyah, 4.
“He’s the best,” the beaming Terrance said.
Mom Kristia Walker said the wait didn’t seem as long to visit and it was easier. One of the criticisms of the former location was having to travel to the Heritage Center’s second floor to get to SantaLand and it’s now on one level.
Another addition is a variety of children’s activities just past the exit from SantaLand, where kids can make crafts and explore other creative things.
Theresa Hartley has helped coordinate SantaLand for several years and her office, Ohio Real Estate Title, is sponsoring it this year. She said she’s heard numerous positive comments about the move, from ease of loading the props to the convenience of everything being in one area.
“We’re glad we’re able to meet our fundraising goals to make it free,” Hartley said.
Although they didn’t want to visit Santa, friends Ashlee Stockdale and Alyssa Stradling were thrilled by the look of SantaLand, particularly the figurines and lighting.
Connie Stockdale, Ashlee’s grandmother, said the figurines reminded her of when ice skating was offered in Snyder Park several years ago and is glad for continuing traditions.
“You always believe in the spirit of Santa. This is part of the history of Springfield,” Connie Stockdale said.