Every year parents all over force their kids to stand in long lines to see Santa and get their picture taken. What if I could tell you about a new way to stand in line for Santa? How about a new fun way to wait for Santa that is interactive and hands-on fun for all ages? Even better news for parents, it is free! The Flight Academy at the Mall at Green Hills in Nashville was added to help children have fun while waiting to meet Santa.

green-hills-mall-santa-flight-academyWe arrived at the Flight Academy area, on the second floor of the Green Hills Mall, and were greeted by several very friendly Santa elves. They showed us how to make our kids’ badges, and we watched them be printed and come out the machine. The sweet elf helped make them into necklaces and scan them into the entrance machine. My kids watched in awe as the screen welcomed them by name. The elf then took them into the area that fit them for flight suits. The kids each had their feet measured to see if they were elf sized or Santa sized, they had their height measured, and lastly, their hand size measured on a really cool heat sensitive board.

Then, each child scanned their badge in front of a large TV screen and had to stand in a certain spot. Magically each child was shown on the TV to be wearing a flight suit and got to dance around in it. They were amazed and thought it was pretty cool. After they got done dancing, they moved into the sleigh. They helped fill the sleigh using a computer, checked out the flight routes Santa takes, and checked the weather forecast. The elf we had really made it fun with lots of laughing and enthusiasm by her and the kids. They rounded the corner from the sleigh and had to help power the sleigh to get it off the ground. After much button pushing and yelling of Merry Christmas, they got to go play in the snow room. This may have been the favorite part for all of us. It was snowing on us gently and snow was piled all over the floor. My son threw it over and over again. My daughter spun in circles in the fun lights and falling snow. It was truly a magical part of the academy. (My kids are still talking about the snow!)

After dragging them out of the snow area, and shaking the snow off of them, we scanned their badges one more time to find out if they were on the naughty or nice list. The man in the red suit was waiting just around the corner to greet them. He cheerfully welcomed both kids by name and had plenty of room on his bench for them to sit either on his knee or beside him if they preferred. He asked them what they wanted him to bring them and laughed and talked with them as they got their pictures made. I really loved that instead of a candy cane they get a backpack clip that says “Santa’s Hero 2016”. We got to talk to the very sweet ladies who were running the photo area; they were actually mom and daughter. They helped us pick out a photo package and talked to the kids while it printed. I was so glad that they were so sweet and took care of us quickly.

I did not know a lot about this new experience when we arrived, but honestly I thought it was amazing. It does not take very long to go through but it is super fun for the kids. The elves are fun and full of joy. They really make it fun to go from station to station. The photo badges and backpack clips are great mementos for the kids, and mom gets a Santa photo with happy, smiling kids. They offer a wide range of photo packages and fun little add-ons. If you are looking for a new fun tradition, then you should head to Green Hills Mall and check out the Flight Academy. You will add great new memories to your Christmas tradition.