Santa's Workshop

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Roc Holiday Village is excited to present Santa’s Workshop — a magical experience taking kids and their families back in time while waiting to see Santa and his helpers.

  • Visit with Santa and Mrs. Claus! 
  • Have your Picture Taken with Santa  Get a digital photo emailed for FREE! And, if you want a photo printed on the spot, there is a $5 fee. A portion of the printed photo proceeds is made to IACKids.
  • Remember the Midtown Monorail?  Come see a section of the original Monorail that ran in Midtown Plaza from 1968-2007. This elevated train was designed specifically for Midtown Plaza by Clinton B. Clark, whose Illinois-based company, Rocket Express Systems, began manufacturing monorails in the late 1940s. Clark sold his trains to department stores looking for an innovative way to attract children (and their pocketbook-holding parents) during the holiday season. He installed monorails in the toy departments of noted retailers such as Wanamaker’s in Philadelphia and Sears in Chicago, before unveiling his custom model for Rochester’s Midtown Plaza in 1968. Midtown’s Monorail featured two trains of two cars each that traveled 3 miles an hour along a suspended single rail in the mall’s central concourse. The five-minute ride accommodated thirty-two passengers at a time, and drew thousands of children each year between Thanksgiving and Christmas. The popular holiday attraction met its end after plans to demolish Midtown Plaza were announced in 2007. Following the monorail’s final ride that December, the train was dismantled and placed in storage.
  • See the Expansive Restored Model Train Display This beautifully restored display features operating trains in four separate scenes, with many features that are familiar landmarks in the Rochester area. The display is on loan from Gallina Development, which, with the help of the Rochester Model Railroad Club, restored the model railroad display.  This display has a long tradition in downtown Rochester, and has been a popular attraction for students, shoppers and downtown workers.
    • The layouts were originally constructed in 1975 by members of the ‘Iron Horse Club’ of Rochester for JP Morgan Chase.  The club constructed and maintained the layouts until 1983.  By then, the Iron Horse Club had lost enough members that they could no longer support the arrangement they had with Chase.  Newsletters indicate that the layouts were in poor repair and were not running reliably during the previous two or three Christmas displays.
    • Not long after this, the Iron Horse Club ceased to exist.  The original four layouts depicted a winter scene, a desert scene (including a frontier town with cowboys and Indians), a freight yard scene and a city scene.
    • In 1984, The Rochester Model Railroad Club unanimously agreed to take over the maintenance of the layouts.  And after the ’84 season was over, the Club observed the layouts looked and ran better than they had in years.
    • In 1985, they began a four-year project to completely rebuild each of the layouts from the ground up, one per year, starting with the winter scene.  The City scene was next, followed by the Freight Yard scene and concluding with the Desert scene.  The bank also invested in new locomotives, rolling stock and power supplies.
    • In the spring of 1986, the Strong Museum made arrangements with the bank to borrow the city layout for a transportation weekend they were putting together.
    • In 1990, the bank called for a meeting to discuss the ‘next generation of overhaul’.  For the 1990 season, lights were installed in various buildings in the winter scene.  The November 24 edition of the Democrat and Chronicle had a photograph of one or more of the layouts, Channel 13 News had some coverage on the 6 and 11 O’clock news and the November 29th Times Union also had some coverage of the layouts.
    • In 1991, the Genesee Country Museum expressed interest in setting up several of the layouts for their Father’s Day weekend program.  This arrangement continued every summer through most of the 1990’s.
    • All of the handling and trucking of the layouts to and from the Bank and Genesee Country Museum was hard on the layouts, so in 1993 and 1994, several layouts were extensively rebuilt again.  It was during this timeframe that the amusement park and new ‘Rochester Downtown’ scene including a semblance of Chase Tower were added to the layouts.  In 1995, the winter layout was once again completely rebuilt with the Fright Yard layout being rebuilt in 1998.  There was roughly a 10 year-cycle of completely rebuilding each of the layouts due to wear and tear.  State-of-the-art scenery techniques and locomotives, rolling stock and structures were utilized with each rebuilding.
    • The February 2001 newsletter reported that 216 man-hours were spent getting the layouts ready for the 2000 season and for the normal maintenance during the display period.  The Club did a lot of touch up on all four layouts for the 2005 season, including the addition of hundreds of state-of-the-art trees.  A coalmine scene was removed on one of the layouts and replaced with a golf course.
    • The train display has been dormant for almost a decade.  With a renewed interest by Gallina Development, in partnership with the Model Railroad Club, we look forward to sharing them with the general public once again.  The Rochester Model Railroad Club is proud of its long-standing relationship with these layouts and is excited to be involved with bringing them back to life.
  • Buy a Kazoo! We’re bringing back the tradition of selling kazoos at the end of the line! Kazoos and other toy instruments will be available to purchase with all proceeds going towards Camp Good Days!
  • Free Cookies and Milk! Enjoy a free delicious cookie and organic milk from Mrs. Claus’ Bakeshop courtesy of Wegmans.
  • Mail Your Letters to Santa  On your way in to see Santa at Santa’s Workshop, look for the big red Santa’s Mailbox just outside Santa’s Workshop to send letters to Santa,
  • See our Holiday Windows  Don’t miss the four holiday window displays specially designed by our sponsors, Five Star Bank, the Democrat and Chronicle, Wegmans and 13WHAM Fox Rochester and The CW.

Santa’s Workshop Hours:

Saturday, December 1, 6:30 –8 p.m.
Sunday, December 2, Noon – 6:00 p.m.
Friday, December 7, 4:00 – 8:00 p.m. (African-American Santa)
Saturday, December 8, Noon – 8:00 p.m.  (Children who are deaf or hard of hearing are encouraged to join us)
Sunday, December 9, Noon – 6:00 p.m.
Friday, December 14, 4:00 – 8:00 p.m.
Saturday, December 15, Noon – 8:00 p.m.
Sunday, December 16, Noon – 6:00 p.m.
Friday, December 21, 4:00 – 8:00 p.m.
Saturday, December 22, Noon – 8:00 p.m.
Sunday, December 23, Noon – 5:00 p.m.

Roc Holiday Village Map