Do you want a picture of your children with Santa Claus, but the line at the mall is way too long for anxious children?
Frazzled parents don’t need to navigate the mall this weekend when Santa makes an appearance at the National Civil War Naval Museum at Port Columbus.
“Kevin (Rawlings) is such a wonderful Santa Claus and you can get to him without having to stand in line for a long time,” said Bruce Smith, the executive director of the museum.
The museum will be open 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday and Santa Claus will be available 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturday and noon-5 p.m. Sunday. Photos will be taken by Camera One and packages can be purchased from the business.
And the best thing? The museum has free admission for both days.
“It’s our annual gift to Columbus,” Smith said.
On Tuesday, the museum was being decorated for the holidays with Victorian era decorations of stringed popcorn, and hand-made paper cut-outs and cloth ornaments.
The greenery was “cut in the woods” and Smith said they will be replaced as they begin to wilt. Four trees are set up throughout the museum. They’ll keep those watered and Smith hopes they will last through the holidays.
For nine years, the museum has been presenting the Victorian Holiday Open House, but Smith cannot remember whose idea it was to have the event.
“We stumbled on Kevin through other contacts and thought it was an opportunity,” Smith said. The version of Santa Claus Rawlings portrays is the 1862 version.
“This Santa Claus was in a drawing delivering presents to Union soldiers” in Harper’s Weekly in 1862, Smith said. “So the first American Santa Claus is one that’s tied to the American Civil War.”
Besides the Victorian theme, the museum will be collecting toys for the Marines’ Toys for Tots program. Guests can drop off toys Saturday through Dec. 18.