Several people have contacted me over the past week about Santa’s Workshop, the charming little cabin that’s part of the holiday attractions on the Ellipse, where (historically) every year at Christmastime, you can see Santa’s operations in action and take a photo with him. A visit to the workshop is a seasonal favorite for many, including our family — we always make a point to go every year.
However, it seems that this year Santa is…busy. Word has it that he’s not spending time at his workshop. And, apparently, the elves haven’t been able to keep the place running much either.
I’ve put some calls in to the North Pole, but haven’t heard back. Luckily, after some discussion on the KFDC Facebook page about what’s going on there, one of you got the scoop:
“So we went today and it was closed. A park ranger came and told us that funding was gone this year so no Santa at all, and volunteers were responsible for opening up the workshop, and they weren’t showing up often.”
Hopefully, Santa’s Workshop will be open this final weekend before Christmas — the website says hours will be 12:30-9:30pm both days — but I just wanted to give a heads-up that there’s a chance it might not be, so you can manage expectations of children excited to see Santa in his element.
An outing to the Ellipse wouldn’t be a waste of time — there’s still the National Christmas Tree and National Menorah to see, plus a great model train and other holiday displays. And it’s close to other attractions on the National Mall and downtown, so you can tack on some other fun. If you go, post a comment here and let the rest of us know about your experience.
2 Responses to What’s Going on at Santa’s Workshop?
We went on Sunday, Dec 14 and it was a mess. The Secret Service were yelling that the whole thing was closed. Then, one told everybody they could walk around the ellipse and enter the lights/tree show from the other side. When we got in, all the state trees with state particular bulbs were gone and replaced by Google Girls coding that made the lights look very computery. But, the trees only had lights so to label each tree by a state was silly. There were somenew paper popup trees at the other end with state specific bulbs. But, it was two states per paper tree. And, the one big sign even said, “The Territory of Kansas.” Embarassing. And, the big blow was that we always go to see Santa on a weekday. But, we were surprised that he was only listed as there on weekends this year. So, that’s why we went on Sunday. But, then we were shocked and angry to see there was no Santa. The shop was open but no Santa. So, we had one of our nephews dress and sit like Santa in the chair for a photo. Lack of funding? No way. Google can bank roll a new light show but no money to have a guy sit in a chair? That’s ridiculous. This thing was a bust this year. Not worth it unless you live right near by or have a lot of time on your hands.
Echo the sentiments of the above commenter. We went because the website only said weekends. And we went 2 weekends in a row just so the kids can see Santa since after last year the kids now believe the National Tree Santa is the real one. Wish there was better communication from National Parks And Rec since even the people we ask said he’d be there at another time hence the return visit. Sad and frustrating and money blown for parking. Also felt the brushing off of the state trees was a little disconcerting and look cheap and thrown together like an afterthought.