The holiday season is truly one of the best times to be in the Cleveland area. Between the Christmas light displays, delicious Christmas ales, and incredible holiday themed attractions, the whole month of December is enough to make even the biggest Grinch’s heart grow 3 sizes.
So after you’ve had your fill of the famed Christmas Story House and been charmed by the decadence of the Stan Hywet mansion dressed up in holiday decor, it’s time to check out one of the best places to feel like a kid again: Castle Noel!
Castle Noel was founded back in 2013 by Mark Klaus (yes, that is his real name!) in Medina, Ohio. An abandoned church was transformed into a nostalgia-inducing Christmas explosion of a museum. And, let’s be honest: we’re all here for it.
Mr. Klaus himself is a real-life Santa, with his jolly expression and long white beard. His love for the holiday stems from his own childhood; he claims that his father was exactly like Clark Griswold when it came to Christmas.
Now you can visit this incredible museum in Medina, about 45 minutes from Cleveland. It’s full of all kinds of Christmas displays, including old holiday movie memorabilia, toys from yuletides long ago, and even famous New York department store’s Christmas window displays.
Ready to visit this amazing museum? Let’s talk all about what you need to know before exploring Castle Noel!
8 Must-Sees at Castle Noel
1. Movie Memorabilia
Love Christmas movies? Castle Noel is full of incredible Christmas movie memorabilia. Some favorites include Buddy the Elf’s costume from the movie Elf, the Grinch’s sleigh, the Christmas Vacation RV, and even the snowman from Christmas With the Kranks.
There are several costumes and props from your favorite holiday movies that you’ll want to see here. The last room you’ll visit is chock full of fun props and movie costumes from lots of holiday films, from The Grinch to The Santa Clause to even Jingle All the Way!
2. New York Holiday Storefront Displays
The iconic Macy’s, Saks Fifth Avenue, and Bloomingdales window displays are a huge reason to visit NYC during the holiday season.
But if you can’t get to the Big Apple during the month of December, Castle Noel has millions of dollars worth of old window displays to admire!
We’re talking display after display with animated dancers, twirling gumdrops, and elaborately designed figures! These displays are always a favorite part of the tour for everyone.
3. Blizzard Vortex
This is a bit trippy, but the Blizzard Vortex makes you feel like you’re in a dizzying blizzard as you walk through a seemingly-spinning tube with light-projected snowflakes swirling around you. (Nothing is actually spinning, but you’ll certainly feel like it is!)
You’ll pass through this vortex in order to go “back in time” to when you were a kid.
4. Vintage Toy Display
The toys of holidays past are on display in one section of the museum. Reminisce on your childhood or awaken your inner child as you admire board games like Battleship and Kerplunk, check out Toss Across, and smile as you see Raggedy Ann and Andy!
So whether you miss your Easy Bake Oven or tin lunch box, there are items from the 50’s through the 80’s on display!
5. Santa’s Chimney Squeeze
Ever wondered what it would feel like to squeeze down through a chimney like Old St. Nick? At Castle Noel, you’ll be able to squish your way through “Santa’s Chimney Squeeze” (an inflatable half-tunnel that you squeeze through) and find out just how this jolly man delivers toys for the good girls and boys.
6. Ornament Ceiling
Feel festive as you wander into a room that has a ceiling completely covered in over 75,000 ornaments. Enjoy the baubles as you enter the chimney squeeze mentioned above!
7. Santa Slide
If you visit a museum dedicated to Christmas, you have to go see Santa, right? Luckily, at the end of the tour, you get to hang out with Santa, get a photo, and let him know what you’d like for Christmas!
The best part, however, is riding down the Santa Slide a-la Ralphie in A Christmas Story! (In fact, this is THE slide from that classic Christmas film.) Everyone gets a chance to ride down on a rug, after being pushed down by an “angry elf.”
They even have a Wall of Fame for riders over 80; so far, the oldest child at heart was 101.5 years old!
8. Gift Shop
Last, but certainly not least, you have to pop by the gift shop after your visit. For starters, there are a lot of incredible things to purchase from ornaments to memorabilia.
Mark Klaus also has his famous sculptures available for purchase!
Tips for Visiting Castle Noel
If you’re planning to visit Castle Noel, check out these tips below!
1. Castle Noel Admission and Hours
Did you know that Castle Noel is actually open year-round? It is known as “America’s largest indoor year-round Christmas entertainment attraction!”
So while it is incredibly popular around the holiday season, you can actually go throughout the year.
Hours vary by time of year, but they are always closed on Mondays, with rare exceptions. They typically are open between 12:30-3 p.m. outside of the holidays, but are open 10 a.m.-8 p.m. in November and December.
Also, you’ll need to book your tour tickets in advance. This can be done online here. Tours last between 1.5-2 hours, and are fully guided.
Admission for adults is $27.95-$29.95 and children 12 and under is $22.95. There are small discounts for seniors and military. Private tours are also available.
Parking onsite is readily available and free in surface parking lots. There is also street parking and a parking garage nearby.
2. Prepare to be on your feet
The guided tour of Castle Noel lasts up to 2 hours, and you’ll have trouble deciding where to look next! Know that you’ll be moving and on your feet for the majority of the tour.
Is Castle Noel accessible? YES, there’s now a lift to take guests with mobility needs from the first floor to the second floor, so the whole museum is now wheelchair-friendly.
3. Want More Fun? Check out Alien Vacation MiniGolf!
This 3D MiniGolf is co-located with Castle Noel, so for even more fun, you can enjoy the freaky experience of this out-of-this-world minigolf.
Guests who do both Castle Noel and Alien Vacation Mini-Golf on the same day will get $2 off their tickets.
The price for minigolf is $11.95. Children 3 and under are free.
Whether you’re searching for things to do in Cleveland during the holiday season or you want to feel the spirit of Christmas mid-year, Castle Noel is a lovely place to feel the magic of Christmas as well as the nostalgia from years past.
Would you visit Castle Noel in Medina? What would you most like to see there?
Kat is a Cleveland transplant and has lived here for over 5 years. She loves to eat, drink, and explore all across the city, and has made it her personal mission to find the best breweries and pizza in Northeast Ohio. She also runs a couples travel blog and podcast called World Wide Honeymoon.