Christmas at the summit of Sulphur Mountain! With Santa and the elves, a reindeer challenge, a treasure hunt and all the other jingle bells and whistles, this is practically a slam-dunk for the kids. With so much of the fun included and kids riding free before noon, it's loaded with parent-appeal too.
This holiday season, there is a wonderful lineup of events for families to get in the spirit of Christmas on the mountaintop. And where better to meet Santa than up there, about 2,900 feet closer to his hometown.
If you're looking for a new family tradition, make this your plan.
Where and when to start
Take the Banff Gondola up before noon so the kids ride free. Then, climb up to the second floor of the Upper Terminal where most of the fun stuff is happening. As you go, look for the jolly guy in red and let the magic happen… He's promised to make an appearance every Saturday until December 23, from 10:30am to 1:30pm.
The kids don’t know it yet, but Santa’s Workshop should be in full swing by the time you arrive.
While up there, check in to the cookie decorating station A.S.A.P. to fuel up for the afternoon. Your kids can decorate cookies at Santa’s Bakeshop!
There may be reindeer on the loose…
From there, prance down to Level 2 for Santa’s Reindeer Challenge, a huge interactive board game that tasks kids with finding Santa’s lost reindeer. Once we locate Dasher, Dancer, Prancer, Vixen—you know the rest—we’ll move on to the second challenge: The 12 Animals of Christmas Treasure Hunt. To finish this exciting game, the kids will have to scour the Summit Building for animals hidden in key locations. Once the entire dozen is located and the answer sheet is complete, they get to collect a special treat.
It goes without saying, you’ll likely get outside for a break to enjoy the incredible view over the observation deck, or do the boardwalk hike up to the weather station. Families enjoy it. Even if it's cold out, it's a perfect short and safe family hike, about a kilometre all around. It is truly a beautiful place to walk and contemplate.
But back to the kids…
The Banff Gondola has another lovely offer for the little ones at Christmas: a gift-making station, where they can decorate a picture frame, fill it with a complimentary photo from the Gondola and wrap it up for a loved one. Then to ensure they receive gifts themselves, kids can draft a letter to Santa, with the help of one of his elves.
With time wrapping up and the kids losing steam, find your way to the Above Banff Theatre, also on Level 2, to have a few laughs and follow the adventures of Wayne and Lanny. This Disney Christmas film, called "Prep & Landing", is a 20-minute animated film featuring a high-tech team of elves who travel the world to prepare homes for Santa's visit. There are five screenings per day on the hour, beginning at 10:30 a.m. and up until 2:30 p.m., Saturdays and Sundays only, plus Christmas Day.
Final planning tips for the family:
- Tell the kids some of what to expect, but be sure to keep a few elements a surprise. That'll fill up the anticipation and ensure an unforgettable day.
- Check our Mountaintop Christmas event listings before you go, or call 1.866.606.6700 to ensure the activity you want is happening that day.
- Saturdays and Sundays between November 18 and December 17, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., are your best bets!
- And if you’re interested in a Christmas Day adventure, stay tuned for details - there are many activities planned for that day, too.
Have fun and happy holidays!