Because we know sports fans like to have fun

By Suzanne Corbett, Travel/Food Editor

Union Station has become St. Louis’ newest holiday destination. Built on the success of last year’s Polar Express, Santa’s helpers at Union Station expanded the train experience to include the entire Union Station complex. This year the train shed has been transformed into Glacier Park and North Pole Village and Lodge. 

The North Pole Lodge housed in the Grand Hall is the setting for Twas Festive Feasts, a buffet dinner for children and adults featuring a Christmas-themed light show projected on the ceiling. The light show runs when the Santa Express trains are in operation. Yes you heard right - real trains leave Union Station bond for the “North Pole” and Santa’s House. The Santa Express travels past synchronized lights on the way to Santa’s House. During this interactive entertainment experience sounds of Santa’s reindeer landing on the train roof, steam train sounds and Santa’s sleigh “buzzing” the train along the way is heard. It’s a fun trip for both kids and adults who never outgrew the joys and magic of Christmas.

Inside Union Station is the North Pole Village featuring a variety of holiday-themed activities including Santa's office, Mrs. Claus' Kitchen, the North Pole Post Office, Peppermint Putt Putt Golf and Santa's Workshop. Nice, but I know I won’t be considered naughty by saying my favorite location is the more adult friendly Glacier Park located outside near Hark Rock Café where you can ice skate or take a ride down an ice slide.

Glacier Park’s show-stopper is the fire/water/light show (shown right), a $4 million installation boosting a 100-foot-long waterfall, eight "lotus" pods that shoot fire 25 feet into the air while the light, water and fire dances to synchronized holiday music. Show times for the Fire/Water/Light Show are 3:30 p.m., 4:30 p.m., 6 p.m., 7 p.m. and 8:15 p.m. and runs through January 6.

Hard Rock Café’s outdoor patio is the perfect perch to watch the fire/water/light show along with the other Glacier Park activities. Here you can take a s’mores and hot chocolate break while taking in the ice tubing and skating. 

As for me, I personally prefer to simply relax and sip one of the six new Hard Rock yuletide Mix It Up holiday mason jar cocktails.

Whiskey fans will appreciate the Bourbon Milk Punch made with Jim Beam Red Stag Bourbon, RumChata, Monin Spiced Brown Sugar and milk shaken together and topped with whipped cream, a caramel drizzle and spiced pecans. Yum. 

Two specialties worth giving a try for a great cause are the Maria Sangria (mix of Villa Maria Sauvignon Blanc, Havana Club Anejo Clasico, Lifewater® Yumberry Pomegranate and tropical juices shaken with fresh lime, orange and strawberries) and or the alcohol free Pomegranate Cooler (Monin Pomegranate, Lifewater® Yumberry Pomegranate, sweet and sour and fresh raspberries, rosemary and lime). 

Now until January 29, 2017 for every Maria Sangria and Pomegranate Cooler purchased Lifewater® Yumberry Pomegranate and Pepsico will donate 50 cents to the Hard Rock Heals Foundation. Hard Rock Heals Foundation aims to improve lives through the power of music. It’s a great way to help contribute and gain extra goodie pints with Santa by helping others during this season of giving. So order up and remember to enjoy responsibly.