Record turnout expected at Santa's Cave exhibition
A festive institution for people who call Manawatu home, Santa's Cave has been ever-popular with the punters.
Almost 6000 visitors have been through the halls of the 95-year-old exhibition this year, and more are expected after Christmas.
Te Manawa chief executive Andy Lowe said the team was expecting to top last year's tally of 8000.
"People talk about it from 50 years ago when they used to go with their grandparents," he said.
This year the exhibition will be held until January 13 after public feedback showed people wanted to attend after their holidays.
Lowe said the extension would encourage more people to check out their favourites, including the monkey band and carousel.
"We had comments last year that ‘I came in when I was staying with my parents in Palmy and it was closed' so we will leave it open a bit longer this time," he said.
"Santa Claus won't be there, he will be back in the North Pole, it would be wrong for him to be there, but people will still be able to play in there and have a good time."
Santa's Cave has been staged around Christmas every year except one when there was a polio epidemic during World War II.
The mechanical display underwent a $20,000 shift, sponsored by its former landlord Farmers department store, to Te Manawa in 2010.
It was given its own exhibition space in 2011.
Santa's Cave will be open every day from 10am until 5pm, except Christmas Day, Boxing Day, and New Year's Day.
Santa will be in his cave from 10am until noon, and 3pm till 5pm. Entry is by gold coin.