Kris Kringle himself will set up shop next month in the indoor DreamWorks Animation Water Park inside East Rutherford’s American Dream mega-mall.

By Alison Fox
Updated November 24, 2020
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American Dream
Credit: KENA BETANCUR/AFP via Getty Images

Santa is trading in his sleigh for a surfboard at a New Jersey waterpark, teaching kids (and kids at heart) to hang ten this holiday season, all in the name of charity.

Kris Kringle himself will set up shop next month in the indoor DreamWorks Animation Water Park inside East Rutherford’s American Dream mega-mall, offering private surf lessons for 10 people with an extra dose of holiday-themed goodwill, the company shared with Travel + Leisure.

The program, which kicks off on Dec. 3 and runs through the holiday season, costs $1,000 per group for a 30-minute session with The Big Guy.

The Surfin' Santa program is run by Skudin Surf, which operates surf lessons year-round in the waterpark’s wave pool, with proceeds from the Santa program benefiting Surf for All, a Long-Island-based non-profit that helps people with special needs learn to surf.

“Santa traditionally sets up shop on 34th Street during the holiday season. This year, Old Saint Nick is slipping into his wetsuit and catching a wave straight across the Hudson River, right to American Dream’s Wave Pool inside DreamWorks Water Park,” Patti Costantino, a spokeswoman with American Dream, told T+L. “There, Santa and his elves, aka the pro surfer team from Skudin Surf at American Dream, will be on hand to teach kids of all ages how to Hang Ten as they usher in a new holiday tradition at American Dream."

Tickets can be purchased on American Dream’s website.

The DreamWorks Animation Water Park reopened in October with COVID-19-based protocols in place. While visitors are not allowed to wear masks in the water or on a slide for safety reasons, they are required to wear them in common areas like changing rooms. Costantino said further measures like temperature checks have been implemented to help stem the spread of the virus.

In addition to the water park, attractions like the massive indoor Nickelodeon Universe theme park and the Big SNOW American Dream indoor ski mountain have reopened.

If you can’t make it out to see Santa in person, he’s also available for Zoom sessions (as long as you’re on the nice list, of course) and customized video messages straight from the North Pole.

Alison Fox is a contributing writer for Travel + Leisure. When she’s not in New York City, she likes to spend her time at the beach or exploring new destinations and hopes to visit every country in the world. Follow her adventures on Instagram.