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 sensory, signing or Black Santa.
Please note: Reservations are recommended or required at some of the places. Prices vary at each location.
I will continue to update this page as new locations and dates are added. Make sure to subscribe via email to stay updated on the latest posts.
The Shops at Wiregrass, Wesley Chapel | November 11 – 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, Tampa | November 9 – 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 11-12 & December 1-2. A SIGNING SANTA will be available on November 19 and a SENSORY SANTA on December 3. Visit the website to reserve a specific date and time.
Lakeside Village, Lakeland | November 25, December 2, 9 & 16 | 11 am – 4 pm
Get ready for some festive fun with FREE photos with Santa & Mrs. Claus. Reservations open on November 8 at 10 am. Please visit the ticketing link to secure your spot—one spot per family or group. In an effort to allow as many people to see Santa as possible, each appointment is limited to around 3 minutes. This event is absolutely FREE, but we kindly invite you to consider making a toy donation to support the RUDOLPH ROUND-UP HOLIDAY TOY DRIVE. A collection box will be available on-site for your convenience. Santa will be located – at 1473 Town Center Dr., Lakeland, FL 33803.
Countryside Mall, Clearwater | November 9 – December 24 | Hours Vary
Be sure to make a holiday visit to say “hello” to Santa and capture your memorable moment. Reservations are highly recommended for pictures with Santa, with limited walk-up availability. Visit the website to reserve a specific date and time.
Hyde Park Village, Tampa | November 25 – December 24 (Saturday & Sunday only) | 1 pm – 5 pm
Celebrate the holiday season with Santa Claus at Hyde Park Village. He will be at different stores on Saturday and Sunday. See website for more details. Please bring your own camera!
Bass Pro Shops, Brandon | November 4 – 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. Visit the website to reserve a specific date and time.
Citrus Park Town Center, Tampa | November 24 – December 24 | Hours Vary
Share your Christmas wish list and have your picture taken with Santa. Santa’s workshop has several photo packages available, and prices vary. Visit the website to check specific hours.
Special Events with Santa Claus
Season Spectacular at Water Street Tampa | November 17 | 5 pm – 9 pm
Experience the magic of the season and discover the annual holiday tradition at Water Street Tampa. This event features the unveiling of the holiday décor across the neighborhood, festive food and beverages, themed kids’ activities, and cheerful live entertainment. There’s something for everyone to enjoy including a holiday-themed silent disco, hot chocolate bars, seasonal cocktails and bites, photos with Santa and more. Visit their website for more details.
Sea of Holiday Joy at Clearwater Marine Aquarium | November 24 – December 26 (select nights) | Hours Vary
See Santa underwater and meet him in person for a memorable holiday photo opportunity. Enjoy lights and decorations celebrating the season throughout the aquarium and participate in fun holiday crafts and activities surrounded by marine life. cmaquarium.org
Enchantment Christmas at Tropicana Field | November 24 – January 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
Holiday Celebration at Deaf & Hard of Hearing Services of Florida, Inc. | December 9 | 12 pm – 2 pm
Come out and meet SIGNING SANTA in New Port Richey! Your child(ren) will enjoy getting entertained by Santa and having a photo opportunity. Refreshments will be provided for everyone. Please call the office at 727-853-1010 or VP 727-478-0217 to reserve your spot with Santa! RSVP: Nov. 25th. Visit the website for more details.
ZooTampa Christmas in the Wild | November 24 – 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
Photos with Santa at the Florida Aquarium | December 2 – December 17 (Saturday & Sunday) | 11 am – 3 pm
Santa will be spreading holiday cheer and jolly good times at The Florida Aquarium! Photos with Santa will take place in Santa’s workshop off the second-floor lobby and are free to members and included with general admission. Grab a cell phone or personal camera to commemorate another year of holiday memories. A special sensory-friendly experience will take place on Saturday, December 2 from 8-9:30 a.m. Photos with Santa are complimentary with paid admission to the special event. flaquarium.org
Christmas Town at Busch Gardens | November 11 – January 7 (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. Santa Claus will be at Busch Gardens Tampa Bay from November 11 through December 24 in the Nairobi section of the park. 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 1, 8 & 15 | 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 2 | 1 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.
Winter Wonder Wharf | December 2, 9, 16 | 6 pm – 9 pm
Visitors of all ages can enjoy the magic of the season with photo-ops at themed areas, which include a colorful tree forest where guests can find Santa and holiday-themed performances at the Sparkman Wharf stage. Visit their website for more details.
Scents of the Season at Fairgrounds St. Pete | November 30 – January 8 | Hours vary
Are you seeking a unique holiday experience to share with your loved ones? Scents of the Season is a limited-time activation featuring a series of seasonal aromas and dazzling holiday lights at Fairgrounds St. Pete. There will be meet & greet photo opportunities with Santa and Mrs. Claus. Visit this link to learn more.
Avalon Aglow (Wesley Chapel) | December 9 | 5 pm – 8 pm
Get the whole family together for a fun night of pictures with Santa, bounce houses, snow slide, music, food, fireworks, and much more!
Tampa’s Holiday Gift Market (Tampa) | December 3 | 11 am – 5 pm
Join Tampa Bay Moms Group and an amazing variety of small businesses, crafters and artisans at our largest annual shopping event at Water Works Park. This event is free and open to the public and character visits are FREE, but there are a limited number of fast passes you can claim here for the character visit of your choice. You can expect to get visits from Santa and his Elf, cookies and milk with Mrs. Claus, meet and greets with the Peppermint Princess, an appearance by The Grinch, holiday themed entertainment all day on the stage, holiday photo ops, delicious food and drinks and much more!
Santa at MOSI (Tampa) | December 11 | 11 am – 2 pm
Meet Santa and do some hands-on activities! Included free with general admission. No registration required. mosi.org
Santa in the Park (North Straub Park) | December 9-10, 15-23 | 6 pm – 9 pm
Enjoy a meet-and-greet with Santa in North Straub Park! Cameras are welcomed.
Dr. Carter G. Woodson African American Museum (St. Pete) | December 16 | 10 am – 1 pm
Come out and experience this holiday tradition at the historic Dr. Carter G. Woodson African American Museum with BLACK SANTA! There will be crafts, popcorn and pictures with Santa in The Woodson’s Legacy Garden. To register, email firstname.lastname@example.org. Don’t forget to wear your pajamas!
Check out the video below from the 2021 Christmas event!
Breakfast/Brunch/Lunch with Santa
Lunch with Santa at Oronzo (Midtown Tampa) | December 2-3 & 9-10 | 11 am – 2 pm
Enjoy a heartwarming holiday experience at Oronzo Italian. You will have fresh Italian lunch with all your favorite dishes. Meet and greet with Santa as well as FREE pictures. There will be a photo booth available for groups and selfies. oronzo.com
Yacht StarShip Santa Brunch Cruise | December 10 & 17 | 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
Breakfast with Santa at Clearwater Marine Aquarium | December 3 | 9 am – 12 pm
Dive into the holiday spirit while enjoying a scrumptious breakfast with your loved ones in the enchanting marine-themed surroundings of our aquarium. Ticket includes pictures with Santa, hot chocolate and mimosa bars, breakfast and entrance to the aquarium. Guests will have access to the aquarium for one hour before regular guest admission. cmaquarium.org
Santa at Weeki Wachee Springs State Park | December 9, 10, 16 & 17 | 8 am – 10 am
Enjoy a wonderful breakfast that includes buttermilk pancakes, applewood smoked bacon, and so much more! Get ready for some magical photo ops with Santa, elves, and enchanting mermaids! There will be coloring, games, and lots of festive fun in store! Reserve your spot here: https://bit.ly/461uSGc
Seminole Recreation Center Breakfast with Santa | December 16 | 9 am – 12:30 pm
Enjoy a holly jolly breakfast with Santa Claus himself. There will be two seatings (9 am-10:30 am &
11 am-12:30 pm). Pre-registration is required. Call: 727-391-8345
Order these Christmas activity bundles to get your child excited about the holiday season!
Looking for more Christmas activities for your little ones? Visit my Pinterest board as well as these fun holiday activities: