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Santa Visits with Special Needs Children in Chicagoland and Northern Illinois


When you talk about children with special needs you’ll find that covers a wide range of disabilities that can be mental, physical and so much more. Special needs children have many disorders to deal with. They can include such things as epilepsy, autism, blind and vision impairment, deafness and hearing loss, down syndrome, spina bifida, mitochondrial disorders, ADD/ADHD, and numerous other conditions little ones have to endure.


Kids with special needs not only require lots of physical care but also lots of love. It’s really difficult for parents of these children to have to stand in line and wait to see Santa Claus, so "special events" really fill a need. They serve every child, from those who may be mildly retarded to others with severe physical and mental disabilities. which is why these events give special meaning to Christmas and the Holiday Season.


While many malls don’t have specific Santa events planned for special needs children, if you call the mall management office normally you can make arrangements with them for visits for children or groups of children.

           (Days and Hours for all events listed below are subject to change)

Photo courtesy Special Kids Day Events © 2010



Santa on the Blackberry Farm Holiday Express on Special Needs Night  Friday December 1st, 2017
Sponsor: Fox Valley Park District
Train is located at: Blackberry Farm
100 S. Barnes Road
Aurora, IL 60506
(630) 892-1550 for additional information                                                                  Times: Friday Dec.1st, 5pm to 8pm                  
tickets online beginning mid-Nov. - avoid lines at the ticket window
Cost: $5.00 admission
Blackberry Farm is having a Special Need Night  just  for children with special needs. The farm will be all lit up for the season with thousands upon thousands of twinkling lights. Families and the special needs children can ride on the “Blackberry Farm Holiday Express.” Enjoy a great trip on the train which chugs its way around Lake Gregory before returning to the old-fashioned depot where you will meet Santa at the Early Streets Museum.

Santa at the Special Needs Holiday Celebration for the
Autism Family Foundation
Saturday, December 16th, 2017

Time: 1 pm - 5 pm
Sponsor: Autism Family Foundation
Event at: Stonebridge Country Club

2705 Stonebridge Blvd Aurora, IL 60502

advance registration is required - click on this link for additional information.


(630) 803-8471
This is a special event for special needs children and their siblings to visit with Santa Claus, enjoy refreshments, make crafts and celebrate the holiday season. The first 100 local special needs children—including siblings that RSVP will receive a confirmation that they have a reserved spot for this event which is held on the 3rd Saturday in December every year.


Santa on the Polar Express Storytime Train
for Families with Children who have Special Needs
Saturday, December 9th, 2017

Time: 12:45pm to 3:15pm (Train departs at 12:55pm)
Trips departs: Berwyn Metra Train Station
6801 Windsor Avenue

Oak Park Avenue & Windsor
Berwyn, IL 60402
between Grove and Oak Park Avenues
Sponsor: WSSRA - West Suburban Special Recreation Association
(847) 455-2100
Pre-registration required - tickets are limited
Cost: $15 - 11 years & older; $8 - 10 years and younger
This train trip is only for families of children who have disabilities and are members of West Suburban Special Recreation Association. Children take a real train ride, but make an imaginary trip to the North Pole (actually the Aurora train station). The delightful Polar Express story is used as the basis for the trip and will be read. Santa will join everyone at the North Pole and will be part of the joyful ride home. Light refreshments will be served and wheelchair seating is available. This popular trip fills up quickly.

Calumet City

Sensitive Santa at River Oaks Center
Sunday, December 3rd, 2017

Time: 9:30am - 11:30am
Sponsor: River Oaks Center
River Oaks Center Drive
Calumet City, IL 60409
(708) 868-5574
Cost: FREE SANTA EVENT                                                                                      Sensitive Santa, held on the first Sunday in December is an opportunity for children with special needs and their families to enjoy a photo session with Santa. Extra care has been taken to support the sensory, physical and other developmental needs of children so they can enjoy this wonderful holiday tradition. While the event is free, there is a charge for photo packages.


Santa at Special Kids Holiday Event
Wednesday, December 6th, 2017

Time: 3:30 pm - 8 pm
Sponsor: Special Kids Day Events
Event at: Wilder Mansion
211 Prospect   Avenue
Elmhurst, IL 60126
For additional information:
(630) 530-7700
Every year since 1990, on the first Wednesday in December about four hundred special needs children, with physical and developmental disabilities, and families are treated to a delightful afternoon and evening where they get to bond with Santa Claus. The children have their picture taken, receive specially selected and appropriate toys, enjoy cookies and ice cream and activities such as face painting, visits from clowns and other performers and activities. This event that has been growing in size and popularity every year. Santa at the Special Kids Holiday Event is a TOP 10 SANTA EVENT IN CHICAGOLAND AND NORTHERN ILLINOIS.

Gurnee Mills

Caring Santa at Gurnee Mills Mall
Sunday, December 3rd, 2017

Time: 9:30am - 11:30am
Sponsor: Gurnee Mills Mall
6170 Grand Avenue
Gurnee, IL 60031
(847) 263-7500
Caring Santa, held on the first Sunday in December, provides a subdued and welcoming environment at Gurnee Mills for children with special needs and their families to visit Santa. While the event is free, there is a charge for photo packages.


                                                     Graphic courtesy Simon Malls



Santa at Special Needs Nights at Riverwalk in Naperville
Tuesday, December 5th through Thursday, December 7th, 2017

Time: 5 pm - 8 pm

Sponsor: Naperville Park District

Santa House location
Jackson Ave. & Webster St.
Naperville IL 60540

(along the Riverwalk)
Advance reservations must be made: (630) 848-5000
One of the most important events at the Riverwalk Santa House is the Special Needs Nights. This is three evenings set aside for children with special needs and their families where they can visit Santa by appointment, so that there is no long wait. Santa and his helpers go all out to make this a special time for the children and their families. Space is limited and this event is very popular. Days and hours for the Special Needs Nights are subject to change.


                 Santa Claus at the Riverwalk in Naperville Photo courtesy Naperville Park District

Orland Park

Caring Santa at Gurnee Orland Square
Sunday, December 3rd, 2017

Time: 8:30am - 9:30am
Sponsor: Orland Square Mall
Orland Square Drive
Orland Parke, IL 6462
(708) 349-1646
Caring Santa, held on the first Sunday in December, provides a subdued and welcoming environment at Gurnee Mills for children with special needs and their families to visit Santa. While the event is free, there is a charge for photo packages.


Caring Santa at Woodfield Mall
Sunday, November 19th & December 3rd, 2017

Time: 8am -10am
Sponsor: Woodfield Mall
Event at: the multi-sensory Ice Palace
Woodfield Mall
Golf Road at Route 53
Schaumburg, IL 60173
(847) 330-1537                                                                                                                                           (Dates ans times subject to change - check with Woodfield Mall)
Cost: FREE SANTA EVENT - photo packages available for purchase                  Tickets required for this event - Click here for free tickets
Sometimes, the hustle and bustle of the Christmas season isn't the best thing for special-needs children. Woodfield Mall has set aside a special time and days for families with special needs who want to have a more calm encounter & visit with Santa. While the event is free, there is a charge for photo packages.


                                                             Graphic courtesy Simon Malls

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