Looking for the perfect way to kick off the holiday season with your kids? Well, New York families are in luck because HGTV has brought their wonderfully immersive Holiday experience, Santa HQ, to Queens Center in Elmhurst, NY! This new installment is the latest of 15 Santa HQ exhibits across the country. We were able to visit the newest Santa HQ location with our boys this week, and were treated not only to amazing Santa photos, but an entire experience full of fun and surprises.
Upon arriving you’ll check in at the front desk. Make sure to download the Elf-Ray Vision app for iOS and Android – the augmented reality app works with triggers placed throughout the exhibit. Simpy point your phone at any of the marked areas and watch as what look like simple gears and cogs turn into magical holiday scenes before your eyes! Keep an eye out for dancing elves, working gears and magical doors. In the control room turn your phone towards the ceiling for a stunning display of snow covered gears overhead – or watch as elves busily clean Santa’s workshop unseen to the naked eye!
As soon as you enter Santa HQ you’ll see the Naughty or Nice O’Meter where kids are scanned to see if their names pop up on the naughty list or the nice list. My kids were terrified the whole time, because they knew they hadn’t cleaned their rooms like they were asked. There was an audible sigh of relief as their names appeared at the top of the nice list!
From there you’ll take photos against a winter backdrop before heading into Santa’s workshop. Inside the workshop you’ll find a table of tablets where the entire family can take “elfies”, then upload their photos onto the bodies of dancing elves. Have your Elfie delivered to your email address for sharing with friends and family later on!
Once you’ve had a chance to share your Elfie with the world you’ll move on to Santa’s control room. Take a moment to grab a tablet and check out all the Elf-Ray-Vision surprises in store! This was one of our favorite rooms, because there is so much to see. Many of the Elf-Ray-Vision scenes are interactive as well!
After checking out the goodies in the control room you’ll find yourself at the main attraction – photos with Santa himself! We were treated to some wonderful caroling as we waiting our turn. Mr. and Mrs. Clause were wonderful, taking time to chat with the boys and pose for plenty of pictures!
It wasn’t until after the photos that I realized not a single child heard me when I asked them to put on their good shoes. Come to think of it, someone may need to come out and service that Naughty or Nice O’Meter, I think it needs to be re-calibrated!
We had such a great time, and all the holiday fun put us in the perfect mood for some Christmas shopping at Queen’s Center! If you’re ready to begin your own holiday adventure make sure to grab a reservation now!
Santa HQ will be open from November 11th – December 24th on the 2nd floor (center court) of Queens Center! Follow Queens Center on Twitter to learn about special events and offers!