The North Pole
The North Pole is where Santa Claus lives and from where he launches his trek across the world to deliver presents on Christmas Eve.
The North Pole is a beehive of activity year-round, with elves building toys and Santa making his plans for next year's jaunt. Mrs. Claus does her fair share as well.
There is another North Pole located in the American state of Alaska. The town is situated fourteen miles southeast of Fairbanks in the Tanana River Valley. North Pole, Alaska has a city-limit population of 2,226 (although there are actually 30,440 within a 15-mile radius of the city). The Alaskan township, founded in 1944, is approximately 140 miles south of the Arctic Circle. The name was selected to attract the toy industry, which in theory could produce material authentically labeled "made in the North Pole." However, the effort failed to take hold.
Streets and thoroughfares are often named in the holiday spirit in North Pole, Alaska: Santa Claus Lane, Snowman Lane, Holiday Road, Saint Nicholas Drive and North Star Drive to name just a few. Street lights are decorated with candy-cane motifs, and many of the city's buildings are painted with Christmas colors and designs. The community starts the holiday season with a candle-lighting ceremony and tree-lighting event on the first Sunday in December.
The real North Pole, roughly 1,700 miles south from its Alaskan counterpart, is at the earth's northernmost point. Located at the northern end of the planet's axis, it is the center around which the earth revolves. It is also the northern center from which all meridians of longitude begin. From the North Pole, all directions on the surface of the earth are south. The Arctic Ocean is centered on the North Pole, and is typically covered with packed ice. The first human expedition credited with reaching the North Pole was Robert E. Peary, who arrived in April of 1909. Peary was accompanied by an assistant named Henson, and four others. In 1958, the United States atomic submarine Nautilus became the first submarine to pass under the ice at the pole.
During the spring months, there are four hundred species of plants in the Arctic, including shrubs, grasses and herbs. Animals which inhabit the Arctic are polar bears, arctic foxes, ermines, arctic wolves, walruses, seals, caribous, reindeers and many species of whales.
The largest land areas near the Arctic are Canada, Russia, Greenland, Scandinavia, Iceland and Alaska.