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‘Wonderland’ wows kids in 49th year

Tam-O-Shanter continues with holiday tradition

  • NBRW-wonderland03p-1

    Youngsters ride the train through a Christmas display at Children’s Wonderland at Tam-O-Shanter. The traditional event, which opened Saturday, is in its third year at the Sylvania site.

    <The Blade/Amy E. Voigt
    Buy This Image

  • NBRW-wonderland03p-2

    Jan Higgins and her granddaughter Leah Foreman of Holland, sit on Santa's lap at Children’s Wonderland on Sunday. The event, a holiday treat for 49 years, is open every day, except Christmas Day, through Dec. 28.

    <The Blade/Amy E. Voigt
    Buy This Image

NBRW-wonderland03p-1

Youngsters ride the train through a Christmas display at Children’s Wonderland at Tam-O-Shanter. The traditional event, which opened Saturday, is in its third year at the Sylvania site.

The Blade/Amy E. Voigt
Enlarge | Buy This Image

The holiday season is in full swing at Tam-O-Shanter, which is hosting its third year of a nearly half-century-old tradition, Children’s Wonderland.

Facility manager Kyle Schaetzke calls the event that opened Saturday “a long-time Toledo staple,” a walk-through where children and parents can see holiday-themed displays and participate in an interactive zone. That zone includes unlimited train rides, ornament-making crafts, a coloring station, and even a mailbox to send a letter to Santa at the North Pole.

Although it is only the third year for the event at Tam-O-Shanter, the community event is in its 49th year overall. Children’s Wonderland’s former home was at the Lucas County Rec Center.

NBRW-wonderland03p-2

Jan Higgins and her granddaughter Leah Foreman of Holland, sit on Santa's lap at Children’s Wonderland on Sunday. The event, a holiday treat for 49 years, is open every day, except Christmas Day, through Dec. 28.

The Blade/Amy E. Voigt
Enlarge | Buy This Image

Mr. Schaetzke said Tam-O-Shanter staffers haven’t looked back since becoming the new location. “We’re averaging close to 25,000 people per year,” he said. While many of the attractions and activities are carried over from previous years, new this year is a schoolhouse scene that was built by Sarah Snead, Southview High School art teacher, and her husband, Craig Snead.

“It comes with a school bus and an old-time schoolhouse. They put the whole thing together for us,” Mr. Schaetzke said.

Southview art and carpentry students refurbished and repaired all the figurines in the scenes, which Mr. Schaetzke called a “huge undertaking this year.”

Nancy Crandell, a Sylvania Schools spokesman, said the students gave many hours to the project. Northview High students helped out by setting up a table and a display, she said.

Setting up for the event takes planning and patience. Mr. Schaetzke said he and his team have only about five days to get everything set up, with all that goes on at the center. “It’s nonstop,” he said, about the week preceding opening day.

Children’s Wonderland is open every day, except Christmas Day, from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. from now until Dec. 28. Special hours on Christmas Eve are from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Admission at the door is $5 for adults, $2 for seniors 65 and over, $3 for children from 3 to 12, and free for children under 2.

For more details, visit childrenswonderland.org.

 

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