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December 11, 2020

Where to Take Pictures with Santa in Tampa Bay in 2020

By Laura Byrne

It’s that time again to answer the question…where can I take pictures with Santa in Tampa Bay? And there’s no doubt, things are going to look a little different in 2020 due to the pandemic, but the magic of Santa is still very much here.

Each year, we put together a list of our favorite places to see Santa in Tampa Bay as he helps to spread some holiday cheer. And what better way to spread cheer than to take pictures with Santa himself!

Related: Best Places to See Holiday Lights in Tampa Bay

Keep in mind that it may take some extra planning as reservations are strongly recommended or even required at some places. We’ll continue to update this page as new dates and visits are added. Dates and events are subject to change.

Photos with Santa in Tampa Bay: Special Events


Santa’s Merry Meet & Greet at Busch Gardens Christmas Town

Santa at ZooTampa’s Christmas in the Wild

  • Sundays with Santa: This is not a Christmas in the Wild Event, but still allows your kiddos a chance to snap a socially distant photo with Santa during zoo hours!
  • Christmas in the Wild: Santa and one of his reindeer have traveled to Africa aboard a Safari truck to greet you for a unique safe photo moment and unforgettable holiday memory. Dates: November 27, 2020-December 30, 2020 on select nights
  • https://zootampa.org/christmas-in-the-wild/

Santa at The Florida Aquarium (pictured above)

Santa will be making a stop on Saturdays at the Florida Aquarium! To keep the jolly old elf safe and healthy, he’ll be sitting behind a snow globe (aka germ barrier), but you’ll still get to say hello and even snap cute photos! Professional photos will be available for purchase as well. He’ll be at the Aquarium the Friday after Thanksgiving on November 27 from 11am-7pm and then every Saturday after through December 19, 2020 from 11am-7pm.  Keep in mind that masks are required for all guests ages 3 and older at the Aquarium. flaquarium.org

Santa at Bass Pro Shops 

10501 Palm River Rd in Tampa
November 7-December 24, 2020

  • FREE reservations are required at all locations. Reserve your Santa visit time slot. (Reservations begin November 2)
  • Your visit with Santa will be contact-less, however your child will still be able to chat with Santa! There will be a “Magic Santa Shield” to protect the jolly old elf, because he needs to stay healthy for his big trip around the world on Christmas Eve!
  • Expect temperature checks for everyone visiting with Santa. All surfaces will be sanitized between each visit. (


Image courtesy of Bass Pro Shops

Santa Photos at Tampa Bay Area Shopping Centers

Santa’s visit at several Tampa Bay Area malls and shopping centers are being orchestrated by Cherry Hill Productions to ensure a safe visit and memorable photos with Santa!

There are some changes you’ll need to keep in mind:

  • Advanced reservation are strongly encouraged.
  • Face masks will be required for everyone ages 2 and older.
  • Physical distancing will be practiced during your visit.
  • Your child will not be able to sit on Santa’s lap, but they will most certainly be able to have a conversation with Santa!
  • Santa and his helpful elves will all have their temperatures checked before each day and the laundry elves will even make sure his suit is sanitized before the start of each day as well!

Santa arrives at the following locations on November 27, 2020 and will visit daily through Christmas Eve–there are some days off and varying hours, so check with each location when you make your online reservation.

You can book here now at one of the following shopping centers closest to your home and even schedule a virtual visit if you’re not quite ready for an in-person photo with Santa.

Santa at International Plaza

2223 N Westshore Boulevard, Tampa

Make reservation at International Plaza

Santa at Westfield Citrus Park

8021 Citrus Park Town Center, Tampa

Make reservation at Westfield Citrus Park

Santa at Westshore Plaza

250 Westshore Plaza, Tampa

Make reservation at WestShore Plaza

Santa at Westfield Brandon

459 Brandon Town Center, Brandon

Make reservation at Westfield Brandon

Santa at The Shops at Wiregrass

28211 Paseo Drive, Wesley Chapel

Make reservation at The Shops at Wiregrass

Santa at Westfield Countryside

27001 US Highway 19 N, Clearwater

Make reservation at Westfield Countryside

Santa at Tyrone Square

6901 22nd Avenue N, St Petersburg

Make reservation at Tyrone Square

Santa at Gulf View Square

9409 US Highway 19, Port Richey

Make reservation at Gulf View Square

Santa at Lakeland Square

3800 US Highway 98 N, Lakeland

Make reservation at Lakeland Square

More Special Events Featuring Santa Claus


Gallagher’s Pumpkins and Christmas Trees in St. Petersburg (SOLD OUT OF TREES-NOW CLOSED)
Thursday through Sunday from 5:00 pm-8:00 pm
Head to the Insta-worthy Gallagher’s in St. Pete to pick up your Christmas Tree and experience more holiday fun like the snow machine, visits with Santa on the select dates and times above, apple cider with donuts, poinsettias and more! Note: Gallagher’s is allowing kids to sit on Santa’s lap at the discretion of parents and masks are optional.

Shimmering Lights Winter Festival at Sun Kissed Acres in Dover
November 27, 2020-end of December
Santa will be making visits at this outdoor festival which features a lighted walking trail that’s about 1/4 mile long, filled with shimmering lights, outdoor movies, games and holiday music. They ask you to wear comfortable close toed shoes and a face mask for when it gets busy. Tickets are $7 for everyone 3 and older. thesunkissedacres.com

Wonderland of Christmas Lights & Santa’s Christmas Village at Hillsborough County Fairgrounds in Dover 
November 26-December 27, 2020
This is a drive through Christmas lights event in Tampa!  First, you and your family will drive through Christmas lights for a mile to experience spectacular lights, and next if you choose, after seeing the drive through Christmas lights you can make a visit at Santa’s Village at the end of the drive through Christmas lights!  Santa’s Village features wagon rides, a Circus Show, camel and pony rides and more Christmas lights and Holiday activities for children and adults of all ages!. 215 Sydney Washer Rd, Dover, FL 33527. Thewonderlandoflights.com  

Photos with Santa at Curtis Hixon Park in Tampa
December 4-21, select days and times
With a little bit of Christmas magic (thanks to a green screen) you and your family can still get your Photos with Santa. Presented by the Friends of Tampa Recreation, Photos with Santa, or choose from several holiday backgrounds, will be available in Curtis HIxon Waterfront Park from December 4 – December 24: Monday-Thursday: 4-9 pm Friday-Saturday: 4-10 p.m. Sunday: 4-9 p.m. Christmas Eve: 10 a.m. – 6 p.m. *The Photos with Santa booth will be located under the palm trees, near Ashley Drive. Learn more here.

Wesley Chapel Holiday Tree and Light Display 
December 4, 2020- January 3, 2021
The Grove at Wesley Chapel is unveiling a 20 acre display of holiday lights including visits with Santa on Friday and Saturday nights, Christmas Trees, hundreds of thousands of lights, rides, music, real snow and more!  You will need to book your ticket to visit with Santa as visits are limited due to COVID-19. Learn more here.

Breakfast with Santa at the Humane Society of Tampa Bay
December 5, 2020 at 8:30 a.m. or 11:00 a.m.
Explore the new Humane Society building and have breakfast with Santa during one of two seatings. Your breakfast will include decorate your own pancakes, bacon, muffins, fruit, mimosas, juice, coffee and more! The kids can make a holiday craft, visit the Hot Chocolate Bar and of course, visit with and take a photo with Santa! You will need to wear a face mask and practice social distancing. Spots are limited. humanesocietytampa.org

Santa Paws at Largo Community Center
December 5, 2020 at 10:00 a.m.
Bring your family’s pup to meet the jolly old elf at the Largo Community Center! There will be pet vendors on site, pet swag bags, and of course, a family photo with Santa. Guests are reminded to stay 6 feet apart from others. Learn more by visiting PlayLargo.com/PlaySmart.

Breakfast with Santa at Clearwater Marine Aquarium 
December 5, 2020 from 9:30 am-11:30 am
Wear your festive sweaters or pajamas and visit CMA for a day filled with holiday cheer! A delicious, holiday style breakfast will be served with warm French toast, waffles, biscuits and gravy, and more! After breakfast, visit with Santa and Mrs. Claus for a family photo that’s perfect for your holiday card! This event ticket includes admission to the aquarium and photo with Santa. Tickets are $44.99 for adults and $34.99 for kids. Members receive a 10% discount. Learn more at cmaquarium.org.

Drive-Thru Santa Visit at Safety Harbor City Park
December 5, 2020 from 10:00 a.m.-1:00 p.m.
Santa is waiting to meet you in the kids during this unique photo opportunity! You don’t even have to get out of the car for your photo which is the whole point to keep everyone safe. You will want to pre-register to get your photo. Learn more and pre-register here.

Santa in the Park at North Straub Park in St Pete
December 11-13 and December 18-23, 2020 from 6:00 p.m.-9:00 p.m.
Meet with Santa himself on select nights under the stars at North Straub Park! Be sure to bring your own camera. stpeteparksrec.org

Hunsader Farms Country Christmas in Bradenton
December 11, 12, 13, 18, 19, 20, 2020 from 6:00 pm-10:00 pm
The annual Country Christmas is back at Husander Farms with more than 300,000 holiday lights, train rides, visits with Santa, a petting zoo, outdoor movies, snow tubing and more! Parking is free and tickets are $10 per person. Kids 5 and younger are free. hunsaderfarms.com

Cookies and Cocoa with Santa at the YMCA
December 12, 2020 at 9:00 a.m.
The East Pasco Family YMCA in Zephyrhills invites you and the kids to sip on hot cocoa and eat some yummy cookies while you snap a quick photo with Santa. The kids can even make a holiday themed craft to take home. Learn more by visiting tampaymca.org.

Photos with Santa at the Humane Society of Tampa Bay
December 12, 2020 from 11:00 a.m.-2:00 p.m.
The annual tradition corniness this year at the new Humane Society building for guests and their four-legged friends! A $10 donation to the Humane Society of Tampa Bay is suggested. Masks are required when visiting the facility. humanesocietytampa.org

Santa’s Holiday Brunch Cruise with Yacht StarShip Cruises
December 13 and 20, 2020 at 12:30 p.m.
This two-hour cruise is like taking a visit to the North Pole, but on the water in Tampa! Along with the brunch, there will be a visit from Santa and more fun surprises. The cruise is $55.95 for adults plus tax and a $5 gratuity. Kids ages 2-12 are $39.95 plus tax and a $5 gratuity. yachtstarship.com

Photos with Santa at Sundial in St. Pete | Friday, December 18, 22 & 23 from 5:30 pm-8:30 pm
Bring your camera to snap a free photo with Santa on his sleigh at Sundial! He has a special windshield in place to keep him healthy for his big journey around the world! There will even be a nightly snowfall in the courtyard every half hour. Learn more here.

Photos with Santa at MOSI  | Saturday, December 19 from 11:00am-1:00 pm
Snap a photo with Santa in the safely spaced toy shop! While you’re there, play in the exhibits, attend the Minecraft Mania session and even give the ropes course outside a go! mosi.org

Photos with Santa at Armature Works | Saturday, December 19 from 1pm-4pm
This is an outdoor opportunity to snap a photo with Santa and Mrs. Claus. While it is complimentary, a $5 donation for Toys for Tots is suggested. To keep Santa and Mrs. Claus safe, the photos will be socially distanced, but he’s still close enough to have a chat with your kiddos! They’ll be back next Saturday too, December 19. armatureworks.com

Breakfast with Santa at Largo Community Center
December 19, 2020 at 8:00 a.m. (10:00 a.m. seating is SOLD OUT)
The Largo Community Center is hosting his special breakfast with Santa with crafts, games, story time with Mrs. Claus and of course an opportunity to snap a Santa selfie! Pre-registration is required and tickets are selling fast! Tickets are $7 per person. PlayLargo.com/PlaySmart

Write a letter to Santa via the USPS’s “Greetings from the North Pole”

Your child can write a letter to Santa and send it directly to the North Pole and even receive a letter back from the jolly old elf with a North Pole postmark! You’ll want to get the letter in the mail by December 7, 2020 and it’ll take a few extra steps on your end as the parent, but well worth the effort! Learn more here!

Visit with Santa Virtually!

Cherry Hill Productions which is organizing the Santa visits at shopping centers across the country also has an option to arrange a virtual visit with Santa Claus via a live Zoom call! Get started here.

Telephone Santa

Santa makes phone calls too! Enchant Christmas which is on hiatus at a Tropicana Field this year due to Covid-19 is arranging Santa Calls this year.

The City of St. Petersburg Parks and Recreation is also organizing Santa’s Calling--you’ll want to register by December 11, 2020 to be sure your child gets the call! This is a FREE call and if you want Santa to call siblings too, you’ll want to fill out a separate form. The calls will occur between December 15 and 17, 2020. Arrange your phone call today.



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