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Exciting Holiday Events for All Ages!

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Can’t-Miss WinterFest Experiences for Every Age

Danny Messinger

As communications manager, I get to tell the incredible stories of our park to the world—and take our biggest fans "Between the Lines." I’ve been an incurable amusement park fanatic since I was a kid and have worked at two other parks (shout-out to Cedar Point and Valleyfair!). Now, I can’t wait to share my passion with our readers!

There is no better time to visit California’s Great America than during WinterFest. This holiday season, you’ll find more to do than ever before—with nearly a dozen live shows, ten magically themed areas, millions of twinkling lights, sweet and savory treats, and rides for all levels of thrill seekers. Every group is a little different, so here are some absolutely-can’t-miss experiences for every type of group. Keep these tips in mind as you visit the Bay Area’s best holiday event!

Families with Tweens

Go Ice Skating on Snow Flake Lake
The reflection pond at the front of Great America has been transformed into a holiday ice skating rink. Santa has even provided skate guides for beginners, meaning the whole family can enjoy this picturesque experience together regardless of skating expertise.

See the It’s Christmas, Snoopy Ice Show
What would the holidays be without an ice show starring America’s favorite beagle? Snoopy and his cast of singers, skaters, and fellow PEANUTS friends, including Charlie Brown and Linus, remind everyone of the true meaning of Christmas. This show runs three times every night.

Split a Funnel Cake
Try one of our limited-time funnel cakes, like the gingerbread cookie funnel cake (with a gingerbread cookie right on top!), the horchata funnel cake, or the cherry cordial funnel cake. Any family with a sweet tooth will find the perfect holiday treat at WinterFest.

Take in all the Lights from Above
Don’t miss two breathtaking vantage points for light peeping: aboard the North Pole ride or on the aerial gondola ride, Delta Flyer and Eagle’s Flight. Soar 200 feet into the air on the North Pole for a relaxing and jaw-dropping overhead view of WinterFest’s seven million holiday lights.

Take a Horse-Drawn Carriage Ride
Make even more magical WinterFest memories by taking a relaxing ride on a horse-drawn carriage. The perfect voyage for families with all ages, our classic carriage rides will take guests through Candy Cane Lane on a fanciful journey that’s both timeless and unique.

Families with Little Ones

Snap Family Photos with Santa
A picture with Santa is a holiday tradition, and Mr. Claus will be taking toy requests throughout WinterFest. A variety of photo packages are available, with options including photo prints, customized souvenirs and personalized decorations.

Decorate Cookies with Mrs. Claus
Making cookies for Santa is one of the most traditional Christmas activities of all. The only person who makes cookies better than mom is Mrs. Claus, and she invites you to stop by and decorate with her. Her oversized creations leave plenty of room for frosting and extra sugar.

Decorate an Ornament
Sally has set up her own special section in the park for all her friends to enjoy holiday crafting. Little ones receive a personal bag of crafts upon entering Sally’s holiday hangout. From there, they can let their creative minds loose and decorate a special ornament.

Ride More than a Dozen Kids’ Rides
At Charlie Brown’s Christmas Town, families will find more an a dozen kid-friendly rides that they can ride together. Favorites like the Woodstock Express and Lucy’s Crabbie Cabbies roller coasters as well as the kiddie carousel are open every night.

Thrill Seekers

Challenge Great America’s Biggest Coasters
Great America’s most thrilling coasters are open during WinterFest. If you’re brave enough to keep your eyes open on RailBlazer, Flight Deck, Patriot and Gold Striker, you’ll be able to see WinterFest’s lights zooming by!

Warm Up at Starbucks
Stay fueled for the thrills with a seasonal drink from Starbucks. With a peppermint mocha, chestnut praline chai tea latte, or gingerbread latte, your taste buds will be singing with delight. Grab a grande, and then stroll into Hometown Square to stand underneath the peaceful WinterFest snowfall.

Catch a Stunning Light Show in Orleans Place
The Christmas light competition is on, and Orleans Place is overloaded with thousands of chasing, flashing and sparkling lights on buildings and above the midways! The show takes place every 10 minutes.

Watch a High-Energy Drum Show
Any drumline is bound to get your heart pumping, head bobbing and feet tapping, but when is a drumline not just a drumline? When it’s Christmastime, the Christmas drummers are toy soldiers from the North Pole, and they are cranking out awesome beats of the holiday season!

No matter your group’s age or interests, WinterFest at California’s Great America is guaranteed to dazzle everyone who steps into this magical experience. For the best deals on tickets, buy online and save up to $13.

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Danny Messinger

As communications manager, I get to tell the incredible stories of our park to the world—and take our biggest fans "Between the Lines." I’ve been an incurable amusement park fanatic since I was a kid and have worked at two other parks (shout-out to Cedar Point and Valleyfair!). Now, I can’t wait to share my passion with our readers!

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