Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Shillito's Elves--A Cincinnati Tradition Brought Back for the Holidays!

People who grew up in the Cincinnati/Northern KY area remember going downtown during the holidays to view the elves at Shillitos department store.  It was an annual holiday tradition for many families.  Children's eyes lit up and smiles were abound.  Even parents and adults became enchanted by the little mechanical elves.  For many years, they brought joy to up to 100,000 visitors annually.  But then they were packed away 25 years ago.

But, donors raised money in an online campaign to bring the display back to life at Newport on the Levee, across the river from Cincinnati.  And this year, the magic returned!

My family was excited to visit the elves.  I didn't grow up in the Cincinnati area, but recall the days of visiting Lazarus in downtown Columbus, Ohio, to see the holiday windows.  It was an exciting time!  I was eager for my girls to experience a similar kind of awe and amazement.

I didn't really know what to expect when we went.  I wasn't sure if this was going to be an indoor or outdoor display.  The display is indoors, which is wonderful in case there is cold weather.

The first part of the display is actually a Lego train display of a complete city during the holidays.  This was very cute and the girls enjoyed watching the train run through the town.  There are also blow up Christmas characters which are good spots for snapping photos.  Then there is an area where children can write a letter to Santa, to be mailed in the next section.

Shillitos Elves, Newport on the Levee Holiday


Shillitos Elves, Newport on the Levee Holiday, Lego Display

Shillitos Elves, Newport on the Levee Holiday, Lego Display

Shillitos Elves, Newport on the Levee Holiday, Lego Display

Shillitos Elves, Newport on the Levee Holiday, Lego Display

Shillitos Elves, Newport on the Levee Holiday, Lego Display

Shillitos Elves, Newport on the Levee Holiday, Lego Display


The next section is across the hall.  Upon entering, the children can mail their letters in the mail room.  From there, you walk through the animated display.

The display is magical and amazing!  You view the North Pole mail room, Santa's workshops, the weather center, his sleigh and more.  You can even track where Santa is in the night sky from the weather room.   The displays are animated and quite fun to watch.  You can see the reflection of my daughters faces in the window in some of the photos below--it is priceless!  The only thing that was missing is Santa, which I am told, used to be at the end of the original display.

Holiday Window Display, Shillitos Elves, Newport on the Levee

Holiday Window Display, Shillitos Elves, Newport on the Levee


Holiday Window Display, Shillitos Elves, Newport on the Levee

Holiday Window Display, Shillitos Elves, Newport on the Levee

Holiday Window Display, Shillitos Elves, Newport on the Levee


Holiday Window Display, Shillitos Elves, Newport on the Levee

Holiday Window Display, Shillitos Elves, Newport on the Levee

Holiday Window Display, Shillitos Elves, Newport on the Levee


Holiday Window Display, Shillitos Elves, Newport on the Levee

Holiday Window Display, Shillitos Elves, Newport on the Levee


Unfortunately, years ago, this show was free for all.  Now, ticket prices are $7 per person.  Early on, sites like Groupon and 1/2 price Cincinnati had deals for 50% off, but they are all over now.   But, although not free, it is still a nice holiday tradition.  My entire family enjoyed it.




4 comments:

Maureen Timerman said...

What an awesome place. Our children would "love" this. Wish we lived closer!

Amy said...

This place looks amazing! I do not live anywhere near Cincinnati, but my sister does. I will have to tell her about this place and see if she is going to get to go there.

Hobbies on a Budget said...

This looks really cool! We used to come up and go to Krohns every Christmas season and one year we went down to Duke Energy to the train display. What a beautiful way to spend time with the family and make memories!

Remus said...

That is so cool! Any kid would have a blast seeing all that. My favorite thing was the town made of legos.... impressive!

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