Santa’s Grotto – Design Ideas and Safety Considerations

November 8th, 2009 - 

When designing a Santa’s Grotto, care must be taken to ensure that everyone will remain safe and well, Christmas should be full of festive cheer, not tears and upset.

It really doesn’t matter to what scale you design and create a Grotto, it maybe a small space as part of a school or playgroup party, maybe a shopping center feature, a charity event or other location or purpose.  Below is some of the basic and most important points to consider.

Care needs to be taken to protect visitors and operating staff, the possible risks are numerous, but simple, common sense thinking during planning and construction should take care of most potential risks.

Remember that this is an attraction for all the family, so you may expect to have visitors of all ages and physical ability.  You may have elderly visitors, grand-parents, so be mindful of the distance to travel between rests points and how long visitors may be standing in one spot.  Toddlers will be lurking around, these little people wander wherever they can get and touch everything they can reach.  Smaller children, being pushed around, ensure that there is sufficient space to maneuver a pushchair and people.

Also remember toilet access, depending upon the scale of your attraction, you may be able to have a rest, refreshment and nature break area part way through.  Otherwise, at least place a sign indication ‘no toilets’ and/or expected waiting and duration times.

When constructing any part of a Santa’s Grotto or Christmas Attraction, remember that you are dealing with every make and model of human.. From the young to the senior, the short to the tall, the small to the not small, the considerate to down right disrespectful.. Keep this in mind and think what is the worst that someone could do to your Christmas Props and Christmas Decorations, what could they pull, push, bend, lean on, stand on, kick etc – Keep this in mind and your attraction should stand the test of the human being.

It should not need to be mentioned, but never use materials that can catch fire easily, always ensure access to fire fighting equipment and power turn-off points.  Consider fitting smoke and fire alarm systems, and always consider how your staff and visitors will make their way to safety if an emergency situation occurred.

You will more than likely have lighting, ideally, use low voltage where possible, particularly where there is the slightest chance of visitors touching, if possible use LED lighting, as this also reduces the chance of heat and broken glass.  Any mains driven lighting should be out of the reach of visitors, as should plugs, sockets and cables.

I will be adding more information regarding Santa’s Grotto Lighting, Layout, Decorations, Animated Christmas Decorations, Music, Presents, Staff and Santa himself, please check back soon.

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