Santa Claus Flies into Winter Wonderland at John Hancock Observatory

Santa Claus, at John Hancock Observatory.

It’s not every day you get to talk to a celebrity, and this week we were excited to talk to none other than Santa Claus himself.  His sleigh flies into Winter Wonderland at John Hancock Observatory to greet families and pose for photos, every weekend in December.

Santa grabs a bite to eat in John Hancock Observatory's cafe.First, welcome to Chicago! How did you arrive at the top of the John Hancock Observatory? Did you come by sleigh, or elevator?

By sleigh, of course!  The specialty landing pad for sleighs on the roof is one of John Hancock Center’s best kept secrets!

Do kids have to get dressed up to come visit you? (You’re kind of a big deal, you know.)

Of course not. I understand taking a picture with me is an important tradition for some families in the season, and some people like to include me in their Holiday cards, but I like to see all my friends, whether or not they decide to dress up for the occasion.

If it’s a child’s first time visiting you in person, do they get a little nervous?

Ho, ho!  It’s hard to believe anyone would be afraid to talk to me, I suppose the beard is a little intimidating, but it happens from time to time.  I usually thank them for the delicious goodies they left me last year and ask if they liked their gifts, and then remind them I’m simply here to listen to their Christmas wishes, and not to be afraid.

I see there’s a John Hancock Observatory Christmas Coloring Competition where kids can color and win a birthday party at the Observatory. Are you artistic? What inspires you at Christmas?

I’m a toy maker, so I’m inspired by all kinds of things; these days though, mostly technology.  Kids are getting smarter and smarter every year, and I have to keep up!  I wouldn’t say I’m artistic, I leave that to Mrs. Claus; you should see how well she decorates Christmas cookies!

What’s your advice for someone trying to make their belly shake like a bowl full of jelly?

Eat lots of cookies!  And remember, laughter brings happiness and joy to all.

On a related note (ho ho ho), what’s your favorite kind of Christmas treat?

Oh I’m not picky; I love all the goodies that are left out for me on Christmas Eve. (Particularly those of the sugar cookie persuasion…)

Visit Santa at John Hancock Observatory (JHO) on weekends from 12-4pm during Winter Wonderland, through December 31. JHO is open daily 9am-11pm, including holidays. During Winter Wonderland, get one free youth admission (kids age 3-11) with each full fare paying adult.

After the New Year, Skating in the Sky returns to Hancock Observatory, January 1 – April 8, 2012. Skating with views of Lake Michigan and The Magnificent Mile, is $5 on top of Observatory admission, and skates can be rented for $1. Free learn to skate clinics are offered by Chicago Blackhawks Youth Hockey coaches every Monday for three 30 minute sessions at 4:30pm, 5pm, 5:30pm.

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