“Those of us who are 50, 60, or 70 enjoyed a very different childhood then children today,” says Dana Klaus, who owns Castle Noel and Alien Vacation Mini Golf with her husband, Mark. “You would go downtown, and it didn’t matter where you lived. Everybody had a downtown somewhere, full of fantastic stores. You would be dressed to the nines. You would hop on the public transportation, or the Rapid if you grew up in Northeast Ohio, and then you would go to Halle’s or Higbee’s or May Company, and you saw Mr. Jingeling and the Sterling-Lindner Tree. That experience was incredibly magical, but it’s gone now. Or at least, it was, until Castle Noel revived it.”
Nestled away at 260 South Court Street at the southern end of Medina Square is a lovely little church, a quaint structure that dates back to 1867. Though it appears petite from the street, its facade conceals 40,000 square feet of spectacular holiday wonder, flawlessly preserved in the most celebratory of ways.
Those who have never set foot within the walls of Castle Noel can hardly comprehend the splendor that the former church contains. The holiday museum is open year-round, displaying actual Hollywood props and costumes from Christmas classics like Elf and Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas. It also features spectacular window displays from New York City, stunningly crafted decorations that would have otherwise been thrown or stored away and forgotten.
“Mark and I did Castle Noel in two different destinations before we found our permanent home in Medina,” says Klaus. “Mark is an artist on a completely different level. He wanted to create his own attraction, and he first designed and debuted a holiday attraction over in Hinckley in the 1990’s. That year, 20,000 people showed up. It was only 6,000 square feet, small enough to test the waters.”
It was safe to say that the Klaus family had found their niche. Which is no surprise, considering that Klaus is Mark’s God-given surname, and he sports a big white beard reminiscent of one famous jolly old elf. Christmas is the Klaus family’s calling, as evidenced by the hoards of people that came from 17 different states just in their first year of operation.
“This is our 5 year anniversary at our permanent location here in Medina,” explains Klaus. “Our motto this year is, ‘The most amazing things you’ve ever seen are at Castle Noel in ’17.’ There are many new additions this year. As you come in, you’re going to see the giant cuckoo clock from Lord and Taylor’s 2016 display. It is an incredible piece of artwork. We have all new windows from Lord and Taylor’s and Saks Fifth Avenue’s 2016 displays, so decorations that graced the streets of New York City just one year ago.”
As Castle Noel is open year-round, new decorations and props are constantly making their way to this museum. However, it is always bigger and better than ever during Medina’s most magical season. As the Square comes to life with warm lights and the sweet aromas of coffee and hot food, a new spark is introduced to Castle Noel. Their 25 foot tall Christmas Tree seems more stunning than ever, and the movie props seem less Hollywood and more magic.
“When we sought a permanent home for Castle Noel, we wanted it to be in a beautiful city that felt like you were going somewhere truly special. The Square exudes charm, and its restaurants are incredible. The town is absolutely beautiful, and whether you are driving from 10 minutes or 10 states away, it just feels like the picture-perfect Christmas town.”
If Medina is the penultimate Christmas town, Castle Noel is its crown jewel. This charming museum is overflowing with must-sees, including one ceiling that absolutely glitters and gleams.
“My favorite attraction here at Castle Noel is the 100,000 glass ornament ceiling. You can see it 1,000 times, and it will still be breathtaking. We adore that sense of wonder. No matter how old you are, we want you to feel like a kid again.”
Castle Noel offers locals and visitors alike an opportunity to indulge themselves in Christmas spirit, making it one of Ohio’s loveliest places to visit during Winter Vacation. For hours and pricing, visit CastleNoel.com/hours.