This is the most exciting time of the year! Families will get a chance to take their yearly pictures with Santa. My boys are at the age where they can truly appreciate this magical season. There are so many places to take pictures with Santa but don’t feel overwhelmed. If you are looking for something traditional or elaborate, Tampa Bay offers the best with affordable options. Here’s a list of the top venues to see the man in a red suit while he is in town.
Every year around this time, Santa gets to enjoy some sunshine in Tampa Bay. Make sure to bring your camera to capture the smiles (or tears) of your little ones. I also included options for families who are interested in taking pictures with a Black Santa.
Please note: Reservations are recommended or required at some of the places. Prices vary at each location.
The Shops at Wiregrass | November 12 – December 24 | Hours Vary
Come visit Santa and enjoy this memorable moment with the family. Reservations are strongly encouraged. Pets are welcomed on select days. Visit the website for more information.
International Plaza and Bay Street | November 10 – December 24 | Hours Vary
Santa’s Flight Academy provides an innovative holiday photo experience while delivering the magic and tradition of the season. Children have the option to take pictures with a Black Santa on November 16 & 17. Hopefully more dates will be available next year. Visit the website to reserve a specific date and time.
Lakeside Village, Lakeland | November 26, December 3, 10 & 17 | 11 am – 4 pm
An appointment is required to help limit the number of people in line and shorten your wait time. Reservations open on November 14 at 10 am. Please visit the ticketing link to secure your spot—one spot per family or group. This is a FREE event! Santa will be located – at 1473 Town Center Dr., Lakeland, FL 33803.
Countryside Mall, Clearwater | November 10 – December 24 | Hours Vary
Be sure to make a holiday visit to say “hello” to Santa and capture your memorable moment.
Hyde Park Village | December 3 – December 23 (Sat & Sun only) | Hours Vary
Celebrate the holiday season with Santa Claus at Hyde Park Village. He will be at different stores each night. See website for more details. Please bring your own camera!
Bass Pro Shops | November 5 – December 24 | Hours Vary
Experience the magic of Christmas at Santa’s Wonderland. Advance reservations are recommended for pictures with Santa. During your visit, families can mail their letter to Santa and receive free giveaways while supplies last.
Special Events with Santa Claus
Enchantment Christmas at Tropicana Field | November 25 – Jan 1 | Hours Vary
Bring your children to Santa’s Landing. Professional photographers will capture the moment for you with different Santa photo packages, and snap your own. Santa is located in The Village. enchantchristmas.com
ZooTampa Christmas in the Wild | November 25 – December 30 (select nights) | Hours Vary
It’s the most wonderful time of the year at ZooTampa with the return of Christmas in the Wild, featuring one of Tampa Bay’s largest light displays, delectable holiday treats, amazing wildlife and new festive adventures. This year is BIGGER, better, and brighter than ever, with festive entertainment that the whole family will enjoy. zootampa.org
Christmas Town at Busch Gardens | November 14- January 9 (select nights) | Hours Vary
Join the elves as they guide guests to see Santa in his workshop as he prepares for the holiday season. Great for Christmas photo opportunities, this fun and festive activity is perfect for making memories with your family and friends. You can also experience the joy of the season up close with animal encounters, thrilling rides, holiday inspired culinary delights and festive shows like Christmas on Ice. Keep the holiday spirit shining bright from day to night with millions of twinkling lights and dazzling fireworks. buschgardens.com
Winter Village at Curtis Hixon Park | December 2, 9 & 16 | Hours Vary
Take pictures with Santa at the Winter Village at Curtis Hixon Park. Follow @WinterVillageTampa Facebook and Instagram pages for clues as to what times you might be able to catch a glimpse of the man in red yourself. Bring your camera and prepare for a Santa experience like no other.
City of Tampa Santa Fest | December 3 | 1:30 pm – 4 pm
After enjoying the parade through downtown, come by Curtis Hixon Waterfront Park for Santa Fest entertainment and activities. Bring a camera to take pictures with Santa.
Santa in the Park (North Straub Park) | December 10-11, 16-23 | 6 pm – 9 pm
Enjoy a meet-and-greet with Santa in North Straub Park! Cameras are welcomed. This year’s event will feature Santa in a rocking chair with a designated area for participants to chat and take photos with Santa.
Yacht StarShip Santa Brunch Cruise | December 11 & 18 | Boards: 12 pm, Cruise: 12:30 pm – 2:30 pm
This holiday cruise features a special photo opportunity with Santa at boarding, a delicious brunch menu, along with great views from the top deck paired with your favorite holiday classics. This two-hour cruise is sure to be filled with enchanted surprises including a special visit from Santa during the cruise and enough holiday cheer for the whole family to enjoy! yachtstarship.com
Dr. Carter G. Woodson African American Museum | December 17 | 10 am – 12 pm
Bring your children to this festive event to eat popcorn and take pictures with Black Santa! To RSVP, email firstname.lastname@example.org. Don’t forget to wear your pajamas!
Check out the video below from last year’s event!
Looking for more Christmas activities for your little ones? Visit my Pinterest board as well as these fun holiday activities:
Christmas Stew Counting Math Game
DIY Christmas Ornament Station
Candy Cane Water Play Sensory Activity
Dinosaur Christmas Sensory Bin