After scaring Ardmore’s collective socks off through October, Ardmore Parks and Recreation is preparing for all things merry and bright.
Along with the Santa’s Workshop at Ardmore Regional Park the department holds every year, the department is adding two new holiday attractions — a trolley ride through the city and a train ride for children at HFV Wilson Community Center.
“We always try to do something different every season,” Parks and Recreation Director Teresa Ervin said. “We keep what people love and we add new things.”
The Jolly Trolley will be an all-ages trolley ride that will start at Central Park, then make its way to Regional Park and through the Festival of Lights display. Ervin said the rides will be scheduled around the busiest nights at the festival. Volunteers will read Christmas stories during the ride. Tickets will cost $6.
“It’s such a neat family activity and we thought it would go over well,” Ervin said.
A second ride, “A Night at the Polar Express,” will be a short, trackless train ride for younger children at the HFV Wilson Community Center. The department will screen “The Polar Express” at 7 p.m. Tickets will cost $3.
Ervin said that with a fairly small parks and recreation staff, the department finds projects they can pull off. That hasn’t stopped them from branching out to new things every year.
“We have meetings, [Assistant Director Alicia Henry] leads them and we decide what we can feasibly do,” Ervin said.
Henry said last year’s stocking stroll, for example, was fairly well received, but wasn’t the family activity they’d hoped for. Santa’s mailbox in Central Park will be making a comeback this year.
Though it’s still early, both said The Haunted Forest, the department’s new Halloween attraction, will likely come back next year. Actors from the Ardmore Little Theater collaborated with the parks department to bring the elaborate nightmare to life.
“It took lots of moving parts in that,” Ervin said. “Everybody in this building had a hand in that.”
The haunted forest used lights, special effects and sets to hit on common fears, like spiders and clowns.
“We started meeting in early February, and so it had completely changed by the time we started building,” Henry said. “There were different themes thrown out there. We changed things almost every meeting. It just evolved between us and the Little Theater.”
Henry said the attraction continued changing throughout the month. When a young guest pointed out that there were no vampires in the forest, she ended up joining the cast as one.
“She was phenomenal,” Henry said. “She even scared me going through it.”