Wednesday, December 8, 2010

This is the Place Heritage Park

We went to Candlelight Christmas at This is the Place Heritage Park for our family outing on Monday night.  It is located across the street to the North from Hogle Zoo.  This park has historic buildings from the days of the Utah pioneers.  Certain buildings were set up with Christmas activities that were authentic to pioneer days.  You could print a Christmas card at the print shop, learn a dance in the school, or make lots of different crafts.  My boys most enjoyed the train ride (mostly because they are boys).  This is a train that drives on the pavement and circles the park to see a few Christmas lights.  We rode both the open-car train and the closed train.

One trick we learned is that you can ride the train to the top of the park and then walk down hill. You walk down Main Street and hit almost all of the main attractions, which was nice since it was dark, and the pioneers didn’t have electricity.  We wondered why the park isn’t open during the day because it is hard to see some things in the candlelight, and the effect of the Christmas lights is pretty minimal. 

It was fun to see “Father Christmas” (don’t say Santa Claus), and they have a few live reindeer.  They also have a live nativity so you can walk among the animals and visit the manger scene.  You will be outside quite a bit, so make sure to dress warm.

One of our favorite activities was writing letters to Father Christmas. After we wrote our letters, we went outside and burned them in the fire so that the smoke could take them away to the North Pole.  I thought my 4 year old was going to cry when he saw his hard work go up in flames!  He had a hard time understanding this pioneer custom.

We did think this adventure was a little pricey at $9/adult and $7/child.  The nice thing was, once you paid the admission all the crafts and activities were free.  You did have to pay for any treats or hot chocolate, but we got a free mini-candy cane from Father Christmas.

We also felt that the volunteers weren’t very prepared for their presentations.  Some of them seemed at a bit of a loss as to what to say or do. We did enjoy our visit to those that had something to tell us about the history (as opposed to a craft or activity), but I don’t think the kids cared about the acting and stories.  They enjoyed the crafts (and puppet show) the most.  We felt this event was best for children ages 3-8.  Older children might think the crafts were a little childish.

You can find more information about this event at the website:

Here are some pictures of our family at Candlelight Christmas.
They have reindeer.

We got to print a Christmas card.

Dancing with dad.

The boys in the Elf Village.

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