Filled with millions of dazzling lights, the 35-acre drive-through fantasyland at Santa's Magical Kingdom brings the North Pole to children, along with a chance to whisper wishes into Father Christmas's ear as cameras flash. The 4-story-tall doors to Santa's kingdom sweep open to admit slow-moving cars or turtle-drawn racing chariots into the holiday fantasyland. Eyes widen in wonder while taking in a 300-foot waterfall flowing from the clouds, Santa's reindeer soaring overhead, the fancy footwork of the bulbs in the Tunnel of Dancing Lights, and the giant gingerbread bulldozers of Candyland. Kids are welcome to drop off letters to Santa in his North Pole mailbox before stepping out of cars and into Kringle's General Store.
Youthful believers outfitted in bright smiles climb onto Santa's lap as photographers snap vivid, waterproof memories that are copyright-free and ready to be reproduced for holiday-card mailings or magazine-cover submissions. Before and after pictures, little ones and adults can let imaginations run wild through shelves brimming with unique holiday toys, gifts, and décor. Every evening, Santa's elves bake fresh chocolate chip cookies and their special recipe hot chocolate along with other goodies available at the snack bar, made from a secret recipe that's as coveted as the gold medal in the reindeer-games Olympics. Santa's Magical Kingdom opens every night at 5:30 p.m., from November 15, 2013, to January 5, 2014.
Star Galaxy Stables furnishes aspiring equestrians with the skills and knowledge requisite for both horse riding and ownership. On the first day of class, an experienced instructor with a 40-year professional training background, shares a myriad of horse-care tricks, including proper grooming methods, nutrition, and bedazzling, while leaving plenty of time for sitting on a horse. The class also covers the differences between breeds, such as which are better for recreation or show, and the estimated costs of ownership. On the second day, take a field trip to The National Equestrian Center, a much larger horse-training operation that has both indoor and outdoor arenas and the stable of a professional trainer.
Since 1965, bowling buffs have decimated the pins at West County Lanes. Slip into a pair of piebald loafers ($2.75 for a rental) and practice perfect follow-throughs as you hurl sporty spheroids down any of the 24 lanes ($3.25 per person each game, $3.75 weekends and holidays; $15 per lane each hour, $18 weekends and holidays). Powered by a savvy system, hanging monitors display scores as well as embarrassing childhood photos of any player who rolls a gutter ball. On Fridays from 6 p.m. to 1 a.m. and Saturdays after 10 p.m., the futuristic lights and glow-in-the-dark lanes of cosmic bowling ($19 per lane each hour) comfort homesick time-travelers trapped in the ancient present.