Visits with Santa are still possible this year in San Antonio despite pandemic

Bass Pro Shops carries on with Santa’s Wonderland

SAN ANTONIO – He’s making a list and checking it twice, gonna find out whose been naughty or nice... Santa Claus is already in town.

Santa’s sleigh arrived to the Alamo City over the weekend and was welcome by elves at his wonderland nestled inside Bass Pro Shops.

The Christmas celebrations have officially kicked off in North San Antonio with letters to Santa, pictures with the man himself and safety measures against COVID-19.

Things may have shut down across the world, but Santa said there won’t be a shortage of toys or cookies this holiday season.

“All things are looking great in the North Pole,” Santa said. “The elves are busy! Mrs. Claus is awesome with their cookie making, of course.”

The magic of Christmas will carry-on like years past at all Bass Pro Shops, including San Antonio’s location near The Rim.

“It’s really important to connect with kids, make sure that, you know, this is something that does carry on,” Anna White said. White is the special events coordinator for Bass Pro Shops San Antonio. “It’s something to take their minds off of the rest of the problems out there.”

Temperature checks, frequent sanitation, face coverings and social distancing are standard practices implemented through the wonderland experience. The major change visitors will experience this year is when it’s their turn to see Santa and take a picture with him.

“They’re going to be sitting on a little bench,” White said. “They’ll have a personal connection with Santa, but it’s a safer practice this year.”

Santa’s helpers created an acrylic barrier for visitors to see Santa while staying safe at Bass Pro Shops. Reservations to see Santa are required this year to assure social distancing. (Copyright 2020 by KSAT - All rights reserved.)

The elves created the Magic Santa Shield for a contactless visit. The shield is an acrylic barrier that will remain in place between Santa and families. The camera is set up at a precise location to avoid a glare in your Christmas pictures.

Although many, including Santa, would prefer visits to be like before, the changes are to help keep everyone safe and in good spirits. “Santa Claus is still very happy to see them,” Santa said. “I still love them.”

Santa’s helpers will work even harder this year as they clean all surfaces between visits. Photos with Santa are free, but this year it’s mandatory for families to book a reservation days ahead of their visit.

“Reservations are 100% required this year just to ensure that we do have each family in there at a separate time,” White said. “We don’t have lines here at all. They are able to register online, (and will) be contacted via text message when their time approaches.”

Reservations must be made through the retailer’s website, found here.

As for Santa, he said there’s still room to add more kids to the nice list this year.

“I would like to tell the children here in San Antonio that I am so proud of the way they have been taking care of things this year, helping their mothers and fathers and adults at home during this hard time,” Santa said. “I’m so proud of those kids.”

For more information of Santa’s Wonderland, click here.

RELATED: Santa photos are still happening at Bass Pro Shops but will look different this year

About the Author:

Alicia Barrera is a KSAT 12 News reporter and anchor. She is also a co-host of the streaming show KSAT News Now. Alicia is a first-generation Mexican-American, fluent in both Spanish and English with a bachelor's degree from Our Lady of the Lake University. She enjoys reading books, traveling solo across Mexico and spending time with family.