Children will be transformed into ‘Elf Apprentices’ as they take a peek into a magical world as one of Santa’s helpers in the run-up to Christmas, at a new attraction at Stretford Mall.
The family-friendly Elf Towers experience takes youngsters on an hour-long fun-packed journey through a regional outpost of the North Pole, with a series of rooms each featuring a festive interactive challenge.
Led by experienced elves, they will learn key elf skills including solving festive puzzles, handcrafting a wooden Christmas decoration to take home using traditional tools, wrapping gifts, and helping to load Santa’s sleigh in time for Christmas.
The experience starts under the main Christmas tree inside Stretford Mall, from where groups of up to fourteen children at a time will be guided up to the fourth floor of neighbouring Arndale House, accompanied by their parents and guardians.
First stop is the transformation room, where each child will be kitted out with overalls and a personalised elf apprentice ID badge with photo.
They will then be led past a glittering snowscape scene, from where they will be free to explore the different rooms including Santa’s Toy Factory, Sorting Office and Wrapping Room, each with crafts, games and challenges suitable for every age.
Each room presents a different scene of elf life, designed to appeal to both children and adults. Decorated in a fun and funky kitsch style, featuring some of Santa’s vintage possessions he has collected throughout the years, with a nod to 1980s nostalgia.
There is also a playroom for apprentice elves aged three and under, where younger children can enjoy physical play activities, gingerbread Play-Doh, games and painting on a giant mural wall.
The final stop is Santa’s ski lodge where families and friends of all ages will have an opportunity to relax and enjoy fantastic panoramic views across the south Manchester area, stretching to the Pennines and Winter Hill.
Here, visitors will even get the chance to power the Christmas lights using their own pedal power – on a unique eco bike being created for the attraction.
There will also be an optional afternoon tea available to pre-book, and a dressing up area with festive costumes with a photo booth where people can take their own photos as a memento.
Families will be provided with a letter to Father Christmas for children to complete, and then post in Santa’s mailbox.
The Elf Towers apprentice experience is suitable for children up to the age of ten, who must be accompanied by a parent or guardian.
Creators of the attraction Haylea Obsorne and Heather Garlick said they were delighted to be able to transport a little piece of Santa’s world to Stretford.
Early years child care expert Haylea, who runs the Fleximinder nursery at Stretford Mall, said, “Elf Towers is something really different, new and unique created especially for the people of Stretford.
“We wanted to create a place which appeals to grown-ups as well as children, where they can relax and enjoy some family time together with the run-up to Christmas.
“We were keen to deliver something central to the community that local people can walk to, without having to drive to an anywhere, or be rushed through, which is why we have limited to small group numbers for each session.
“The ski lodge area has a fabulous view across Manchester, it looks particularly magical at night and we think people will love it.”
The Elf Towers elf apprentice experience lasts around one hour, with an option to stay for up to two further hours in Santa’s ski lodge.
Pre-booking is essential to guarantee entry. Tickets cost £12 per child aged 0-10 and any additional siblings up the age of three can enter for free. It is also possible to book out the whole experience for groups, by contacting: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Entry to Santa’s ski lodge is free. Afternoon teas need to be pre-booked and this includes sandwiches, a hot or cold drink, and cakes including Stollen, for £10 per adult or £5 per child.
Hourly sessions will run from 16:00 – 20:00 on selected week-days, starting on Friday, December 6.
The attraction will run every Saturday and Sunday from 10:00 to 18:00, on every weekend during December 7th & 8th, 14th 15th, 21st & 22nd.
Full details of opening times are available on the booking website here.