Mom Report: Bass Pro Shop

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It begins. I think it starts earlier and earlier every year. It is merely mid-November and I have already found myself humming along with Christmas songs while out and about, and my kids have pointed out many twinkling lights, and fully decorated evergreens. I have decided to just go with it, in hopes that having longer to celebrate the holidays means less rushing and more enjoying.

I would like to share my families first holiday outing of 2016 with you, because it may be one you hadn’t considered visiting, AND it is open during the week, AND it is free! Bass Pro Shop has a section of their store decked out like the North Pole, complete with stations for the kids to test out this year’s must-have Bass Pro toys, a free craft station, and of course … the jolly old elf Santa is there, too.

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Starting with the toys …

You may want to mentally prepare your kids that this is Santa’s  workshop, and you will not be buying anything, just testing it out to see what they want to add to their Christmas lists. You will find that there are some super fun toys your kids may actually want for Christmas. My boys enjoyed playing with the construction cranes, model trains, rc truck, a foam arrow toy at a shooting range, and they loved building with the Lincoln logs. In fact, Dominic and Luca are getting to the age where they like to sit and build with one another, so they might just end up getting some Lincoln logs under the Christmas tree this year.

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Moving on to the free craft…

It was actually really cute! So many times, “free craft” means coloring pages, but not at Bass Pro Shop. They had cute felt bags with adhesive felt stickers. Kids were able to assemble their Santa’s piece by piece and add “HO HO HO” and “2016.” Both my kids were into making their own bags (which they chose one bag of $1.19 candy each to put in — their only purchases from our whole two-hour adventure at Bass Pro). BUT I must be upfront: crafts are during weekday evenings, all day during weekends, and I have no clue what other crafts they have planned … only that they change weekly. A photo of the weekly craft is featured on the website, here.  By the craft tables, they had a laser shooting range that my boys loved. I loved it, too, because it was … FREE (unlike the shooting range game by the snack bar of Bass Pro Shop, which is 50 cents a game). I like that they had to use their fine motor skills and really concentrate on their target. The boys liked the “pew pew” sound the guns made.

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Onto Santa …

We hardly had to wait to meet the big man himself. Bass Pro gives out timed “Santa Passes” at a kiosk in Santa’s Wonderland, so you can walk around or play with toys then arrive back for your scheduled meeting time with barely any waiting in line. Santa was jovial and kind, and also very pleased that D + L brought him colored and signed pictures of what they would like for Christmas (Thor and Wolverine costumes). Elves took the dudes’ photo, and Santa even gave them small candy canes. We received a free 4×6 photo, were given the option to purchase more, and the option to include our email address so we could view the photo later. I was happy we were allowed to take our own pictures on my cellphone, too!

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The store in general …

So I am not a hunter, or fisher, or outdoors enthusiast … but I enjoy  taking my little guys to Bass Pro Shop. They love the 24,000-gallon aquarium and all of the fish and turtles that dwell within. They also enjoy looking at the many animal displays within the store (if taxidermy isn’t your thing, I would maybe advise a different venue altogether). The whole store is decorated with lights and huge ornaments! It is really a lot of fun just to walk around and browse. And hey! If you have any outdoorsy folks on your shopping list, I bet you’d be able to find them a great Christmas gift at Bass Pro Shop!

Santa’s wonderland at Bass Pro Shop in Cincinnati (300 Cincinnati Mills Drive) is open during these hours:

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Amanda Ciani lives in Northern Kentucky with her husband and their three terrific sons. She enjoys writing haiku parenting poems for her Instagram account (@cinciciani), and Twitter account (@haikuciani).

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