A Red Ryder BB gun, the gift 9-year-old Ralphie craved in the classic movie "A Christmas Story,” is still a popular present. Just ask the Santa at Bass Pro Shops. Many people seeking Santa for a cute photo opportunity with their children head to the shopping mall. But Old St. Nick also can be found at this giant, outdoor store for the season, in front of a rustic log cabin and flanked by two reindeer. This is the second year the Santa’s Wonderland display has been set up in Bass Pro Shops nationwide, including the one in downtown Oklahoma City. It is designed to "take you back to the classic Christmas,” said store manager Mike McClure. Photos with Santa are free and the elaborate backdrop is part of the appeal. "It doesn’t just look like Santa sitting in a rocking chair. It’s a traditional Christmas scene,” he said. Seeing Santa is just part of the fun. The 3,500-square-foot area is filled with games and activities such as a classic model train, remote control monster trucks, a Red Ryder laser arcade, a soft gun arcade, slot car racing and virtual fishing on "The Strike” bass fishing game for Nintendo Wii. The ultimate goal is to "drive footsteps into the store,” McClure said. Especially folks who aren’t familiar with the selection of items the retailer carries, which goes beyond traditional hunting and fishing equipment and includes clothes from Tommy Bahama and The North Face, homemade fudge and candied nuts.
An excuse to visitChris Dennis on Friday watched as his son, Aiden, 4, spun a race car around the track in Santa’s Wonderland. They came to play the week before, too. "He loves it,” Dennis said. "He has so much fun and it gives me an excuse to come to Bass Pro.” The retailer surely is pleased when visitors like Aiden write Santa a wish list, and pretty much every item on it can be found in the store. Of course, Santa’s Wonderland is sprinkled with gift ideas, including a display of Daisy Red Ryder Model 1938 BB Guns (for $34.99, in brown and pink.) Just don’t shoot your eye out, kid.
At a glanceGIFT IDEAS AT BASS PRO SHOPS
• Under $10: Fleece throws.
• Under $20: Girls’ brown hooded sweatshirt with "Cute as a Button Buck” and deer on the front.
• Under $30: Marshmallow shooter, in pink leopard print.
• Under $40: Daisy Red Rider Model 1938 BB Gun.
• Under $50: Bass Pro Shop’s "The Strike” fishing game for Ninentdo Wii. Source: Bass Pro Shops (prices subject to change.)
• Thanksgiving Day: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
• Friday and Saturday: 10 a.m. to 9 p.m.
• Sunday: Noon to 7 p.m.
• Other hours vary. To contact the store, call 218-5200.