COLLEGE STATION — Santa’s Wonderland is a place I’ve been wanting to see since we moved here last summer. The bubbly advertisements via Facebook lured me in, but if I’m being honest, it was being able to see Santa Claus wearing a Stetson that I was most excited about.

The Christmas-themed amusement park is situated in College Station, roughly two hours from Fort Hood. It’s located right off Highway 6 and can’t be missed at night. The brightly colored lights beg passersby to see what’s going on and what’s going on is fantastic.

We started by watching a little show with Marshal Frostbite, Santa’s Wonderland’s version of Frosty the Snowman. After getting a few photos of him, while he was posing with families, we hopped on the West Pole Express, a little train ride to Santa’s Station, enjoying all the Texas-themed Christmas lights along the route.

The area has a petting zoo, a Texas-shaped jumping area and Santa’s Station, where families can go take pictures with the big man in red. There are eight reindeer statues at the entrance of Santa’s Station, which frustrated my little partner-in-crime, who quickly pointed out that Rudolph was missing. After a little investigating, she was told Rudolph is a celebrity and is living it up big inside the penthouse of the building. It was funny and cool that the employees are quick thinkers.

The inside of Santa’s Station is stunning, with strings of blue lights hanging from the ceiling and giant Christmas ornaments decorating the center of the giant room. We looked around and found a cute station where people can find out if they’re on the naughty or nice list and are even given a little certificate. My little side-kick and I are both on the nice list, although she thought for sure I would be on the naughty list since I’m an adult.

The building also features a North Pole post office and a miniature Christmas village that was anything but miniature. It was probably around 20 feet by 10 feet. As you stand in line to meet jolly ‘ole Saint Nick, you have the opportunity to see it close up. While we waited in line, a lady calling herself Carol Christmas entertained the crowd, singing Christmas carols with the children and even getting some adults involved as they danced around the large ornaments in the middle of the room.

I have to admit, I had butterflies in my stomach as we inched closer to Santa. I felt like one of the kids, and when we finally seen him in person, I was on Cloud 9. The Santa has a real beard, which is the best kind of Santa. The parents of a two-month-old baby allowed me to take his picture. Most babies don’t like Santa, but this kid was clearly born to be a star, as he cheesed for the camera.

After finishing up at Santa’s Station, we took the train back to the front of the park and walked over to the West Pole area, which featured a hayride trail of Christmas lights and Frostbite’s Mountain, a snow tubing mountain. My partner-in-crime went down the mountain at least 10 times and then went over to the play area where other kids were having a big snowball fight. It was a great memory, especially since the last time we were around snow, she was afraid of touching it.

The line for the hayride was pretty long, so we decided to skip it. On our way back to the front of the park, we noticed people roasting marshmallows and stopped to enjoy making our own s’mores and enjoying some hot peach cobbler with vanilla ice cream. It was the perfect way to cap off the night.

We had a wonderful time and are looking forward to return again before Christmas. We happened to go on a good night, so the weather wasn’t extremely cold. There are large fire pits located throughout the park, so if you do find yourself a little chilly, they will warm you right up.

Santa’s Wonderland is located at 18898 Highway 6 in College Station. Hours vary, depending on the day of the week. You can find hours and prices at https://www.santas-wonderland.com. The website will also tell you what days will have the least amount of attendance, so you’ll be prepared.