Jolly Old Elf coming to Springbrook Nature Center
It's only natural to spot Santa during the cold, dark month of December.
Be it fleeting glimpses of him with his sled and team of eight tiny reindeer or long conversations with the bearded elf himself, encounters of the Santa kind are easy to come by if you know where to look.
If you're lucky, you can catch him having breakfast or chilling out in his Santa House. Or, if you're in Itasca this Friday and Saturday, Dec. 9 and 10, you'll find him busily meeting with children inside a replica of his North Pole workshop.
The village has teamed with Itasca Park District to bring Santa and some of his favorite craft-making techniques to Santa's Workshop, temporarily housed inside the Springbrook Nature Center.
"We decorate the nature center. It looks really pretty. It's all lit up," said Beth Rodriguez, the park district's marketing and communications superintendent.
Children who attend the free event will learn how to use craft foam to create holiday ornaments shaped like owls, reindeer and gingerbread creatures, said Katy McKinnon, park district recreation supervisor.
"They're self-adhesive and they're for preschool-age and up," she said.
A kitchen magnet-making craft, traditionally a popular pick, will be offered on a first-come, first-served basis, she said.
While all this craft-making is going on, Santa will be greeting children and getting his picture taken with them.
A visit with Santa wouldn't be complete without treats. Visitors will be invited to partake in candy, cookies and hot chocolate, McKinnon said.
There also will be games, such as a holiday-themed bean bag toss, music and a movie screening, she said.
And the nature center, home to several animals, will give children an introduction to some of the resident species.
"Chris Carling is our nature center supervisor. She'll bring out some of the animals," McKinnon said, noting that those could include snakes, tarantulas and/or turtles.
Turnout at Santa's Workshop is influenced by weather, McKinnon said.
"Last year we had nice weather, so we had a lot of people come out," she said.
If you goWhat: Santa's Workshop
Where: Springbrook Nature Center, 130 Forest Ave., Itasca
When: 5:30 to 8 p.m. Friday, Dec. 9; 11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 10
Info: (630) 773-2257 and itascaparkdistrict.com