Fantasyland began in the 1970’s when several downtown businesses donated their retired Christmas figures, first to Downtown Roanoke, Inc., then to the Roanoke Valley History Museum (now History Museum of Western Virginia) to preserve their magic for future generations. Children love the elves in Santa’s workshop, the penguins and polar bears in Arctic snow, characters from many countries in a chorus poised to sing songs from around the world and reindeer in their stalls waiting patiently for Santa to hook them to his sleigh and begin their most important journey around the globe. Many of its lovable characters are refurbished, returning them to their original luster.
In a warm and comfortable setting in the History Museum’s library, Santa, dressed in his green shirt with red suspenders and lace up boots, coat hanging on the rack by the fireplace mantel, welcomes visitors of all ages. Santa teaches important lessons of love and sharing as he tells original stories, sings, plays guitar and piano and interacts with the children through fun activities. Families often come together with the adults and older siblings joining in. Photographs are allowed so visitors may bring cameras.