Santa Claus, Indiana – Santa Claus, Indiana - Atlas Obscura
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Santa Claus, Indiana

Santa Claus, Indiana

You thought Santa Claus didn't exist, but it turns out you were wrong. 

Not only that, but you can can totally send a letter to Santa Claus, provided you are sending mail to Indiana…Santa Claus, Indiana, that is.

Labeled “America’s Christmas Hometown,” Santa Claus, Indiana was initially established as Santa Fe, Indiana. However, perhaps after being informed by the US Postal Service that there was another Santa Fe and showing up to the post office wearing the same dress was totally gauche, the town changed its name to…Santa Claus.

That means that the post office is the Santa Claus post office. And the police department is the Santa Claus PD. And the DMV is the Santa Claus DMV, but…maybe not so jolly.

If there are Grinches in Santa Claus, they don’t make themselves known around Christmas, when volunteers respond to each and every letter to Santa that comes through the post office. That’s right. Every kid who is smart enough to figure out that Santa has an entire town named after him and write to him there gets a personal letter in return from the Santa Claus Elves. Volunteer elves have been doing this since 1914 (it is doubtful that this is what caused WWI).

There is plenty to do in Santa Claus. There is Santa’s Candy Castle, where Santa’s woodworking shop can be found and actual toys are made (sorry kids, no Transformers–just stuff made of wood). Kids can also play with toys in various buildings representing various toymakers. There is the Santa Claus Museum, housing a number of Santa Claus mummies. Just kidding. It’s actually all about the history of the town and its transition from Santa Fe to Santa Claus.

The Holiday World & Splashin’ Safari is a Holiday-themed amusement and waterpark (originally named Santa Claus Land) once visited by Ronald Reagan. It offers non-frostbitey wintery watery fun for the whole family. You can also visit Frosty’s Fun Center (mini-golf, snacks, etc.), which doesn’t sound at all like the setting for an 80s slasher flick. Dad can play the links at the Christmas Lake Golf Course, and the kids can feed apples and carrots to the depressed horses in Santa’s Stables. 

If you are feeling like your Christmas isn’t Christmasy enough, you know where to go.

Know Before You Go

April-May is a great time to visit, as the weather is tolerable, and the numbers of visitors is low. Go for the AO twofer with a visit to the Abraham Lincoln boyhood home, just a couple of miles to the west.