[Editor's note: This story has been updated with information about 2018 events.]
Santa Claus is coming to town, sure, but he's not always how you imagined him. For example, you can find him underwater, in a Stetson and doing backflips on skates. Here are unusual places to see him before he comes down the chimney.
Seeing Santa at the mall is normal, but seeing him do a backflip on skates? You won't usually spot that anywhere else except at Galleria Dallas during the holiday season.
Missile Toes the skating Santa also has skates that shoot sparks during free Macy's Grand Tree Lighting ice shows, which also feature Olympic and national champions at Galleria Dallas Ice Skating Center in the mall's Center Court.
Saturdays through Dec. 22 at 6 p.m. galleriadallas.com/holiday
Scuba Diving Santa
Have yourself a very merry Fishmas at this holiday celebration with an underwater theme. Scuba Diving Santa and his elf take the plunge into the 160,000-gallon ocean tank with fish, sharks and stingrays on Wednesdays and Saturdays, Dec. 12-22, at 11:30 a.m. You'll also find fish swimming with holiday cheer throughout the aquarium decorated with fun tank clings. Meet the costumed character Santa Sharky from noon to 3 p.m. on Fridays and Sundays, Dec. 14-23.
Scuba Diving Santa on Dec. 12, 15, 19, 22 from 11:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.; Santa Sharky on Dec. 14, 16, 21, 23 from noon to 3 p.m. at Sea Life Grapevine Aquarium, 3000 Grapevine Mills Parkway, Grapevine. visitsealife.com
Santa rocks a white Stetson and cowboy boots when he hangs out in the Fort Worth Stockyards. Cowboy Santa is available for visits and photo purchases (no cells phone or personal photography allowed) at the Stockyard Stations every weekend through Dec. 24.
Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays, Dec. 1-24, from noon to 5 p.m. at Stockyards Station, 131 E. Exchange Ave., Fort Worth. fortworthstockyards.com
Swim With Santa
Kids 12 and younger can splash around in the pool with Santa and even whisper to him what they would like for Christmas. Parents are welcome to snap photos. Admission for each child is $10, parents swim for free with paid child.
Dec. 21 from 5:45 to 7:45 p.m. at Don Rodenbaugh Natatorium, 110 E. Rivercrest, Allen. Register online.
Bowl With Santa
Bowlers who dress up as Santa, Mrs. Claus or wear an Ugly Christmas Sweater receive one hour of free bowling and a photo with Old St. Nick. The boutique bowling alley also offers a fun menu of sandwiches, salads, boards and plates to share, local craft beers, specialty cocktails and wine by the glass or bottle.
Dec. 16 from 6 p.m. to close at Bowl & Barrel, 8084 Park Lane, Suite 145 (in The Shops at Park Lane).
Skate With Santa
Lace up your skates and take a spin on the ice with Santa at
Dec. 7 from 6 to 8 p.m. at
Saddle Up With Santa
What's more Texan than a trail ride with Santa Claus? How about a horseback ride with the red-suited guy through iconic Southfork Ranch? You can hit the trail with Santa and his horse wrangler on Dec. 22 during hourlong rides through the scenic ranch, once home to the TV series Dallas. There will be candy canes for all and photos ops with Santa in his cowboy boot chair and in a classic Southfork stagecoach. Call 972-442-7800 for advance reservations (required). Riders must be at least 8 years old.
Dec. 22 from 10 to 11 a.m., 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. and 1 to 2 p.m. at Southfork Ranch, 3700 Hogge Road, Parker, Texas. $45 per person.