Kringle’s Inventionasium – A not-so-ordinary Christmas village.
Last night my family went to a “Christmas Village” gimmick called “Kringle’s Inventionasium” in downtown Cleveland, OH. My wife heard about it from a co-worker who said it was a lot of fun so we decided to give it a whirl. We checked it out online, made our reservations and bought our tickets.
This is what awaited us when we arrived. This dapper gentleman’s name is Eyesly. He’s Mr. Kringle’s eye for detail. Ah, good old-fashioned nightmare fuel right there. (Side note, we walked into one of the rooms in the Inventionasium to find Eyesly sitting on a child-sized chair, playing a miniature piano. It was quite possibly one of the creepiest things I’ve ever seen but I wasn’t quick enough with the camera to capture what would assuredly be my Christmas card picture for next year).
Anyway… Kringle’s Inventionasium is a modern Cleveland tradition. It’s been running for the past six years and broke their own attendance record this year. There’s a reason it’s growing to be so popular – it’s not your run-of-the-mill Christmas Village. There are actors and interactive elements throughout the walk-through. Here’s our experience:
At the beginning of the walk-through the kids are given lab coats and introduced to a tour guide. Our tour guide was “Professor Glitch”. Glitch talk to the kids about the wonderment of using their imagination and how important it is to use it all the time.
The walk-through consists of multiple stops at invention centers where the kids are asked to create something. The first stop was using the their imaginations to create toys out of a “memory” foam.
Then the kids were shown a bunch of “creature pieces” and instructed to make the craziest creature they could.
After that was the “snow making” laboratory where we were all shown how to make snow.
And then there was a toy making station where the kids were given access to modular toy pieces and told to create a wacky toy.
Finally, there was the visit with the big guy himself. Mr. Kringle.
After the kids visit with Mr. Kringle, you are then ushered into Mr. Kringle’s Toy Shoppe while you wait for your turn to look through the pictures for purchase. All the toys that were used during the walk-through are available for purchase in the Toy Shoppe, in case you really liked them.
Overall, it was a really fun time. The kids really got into it and the adults enjoyed watching the kids have fun. I was surprised at the amount of time and effort that must have gone into this endeavor. The actors really stayed in character and interacted with the children heavily. Even the actors that weren’t interacting with the children directly were often to the side doing “in-character” things.
Though it did cost about $100 for all six of us (two kids, two parents, two grandparents) to go through, the package we purchased allowed us to take as many pictures as we wanted to and provided us with 50% off of the Mr. Kringle photos if we chose to buy the professional pictures (yup, we were allowed to take pictures of the kids with Mr. Kringle’s with our own cameras and we did not have to purchase the professional photo if we didn’t want to).
Also, Mr. Kringle was the real deal. He was possibly the most expressive Santa I’ve ever seen. He interacted very well with kids and joked with them. I was quite impressed.
I would highly recommend this to any family. Even if you only do it once, I think the memories from your visit would last for years to come.
I hope you all have a very Merry Christmas and create some memories that last a lifetime.