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Wednesday, November 30, 2022

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Where to Take Pictures with Santa in Tampa Bay in 2022

It’s that time again to answer the question…where can I take pictures with Santa in Tampa Bay? This year, there are plenty of places to experience the magic of Santa.

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:

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: Featured Favorites 

Santa at Busch Gardens Tampa Bay
That magic moment before the door opens to greet Santa at Christmas Town at Busch Gardens!

Santa at Busch Gardens Christmas Town

  • Santa’s North Pole Experience: Wander through the sparkling lights around the park as you make your way to the North Pole for this sweet Santa experience! Jolly elves will guide guests to visit Santa in his workshop as he prepares for the holiday season. It’s one of the sweetest ways to visit with Santa and his elves!
  • Dates: November 14, 2022-January 9, 2023

Santa at ZooTampa’s Christmas in the Wild

  • Christmas in the Wild: Be sure to make your way to Twinkle Town Marketplace to meet Santa and take a photo with him in front of his sleigh.
  • Dates: November 25, 2022-December 30, 2022 on select nights

Santa at The Florida Aquarium

  • Santa is back for photos at the Florida Aquarium in the Mosaic Center. Photos will be offered on weekends at certain times during the day, so plan ahead.
  • Dates: November 25, 2022 from 3pm-5pm and then weekends through December 18, 2022 from 11am-3pm.

Santa at International Plaza in Tampa 

  • International Plaza goes all out to host the jolly old elf who brings Santa’s Flight Academy with him. Elves will help guide kids through the ‘Academy’ where they’ll also get a chance to play with ‘snow’ while they wait for the big moment. Kids can choose whether they want to sit on Santa’s lap this year. You need to make a reservation in advance.
  • Visits begin November 10, 2022

Tampa Bay’s Festival of Lights and Santa’s Village at the Hillsborough County Fairgrounds

  • Tampa Bay’s Festival of Lights & Santa’s Village immerses everyone in holiday fun with family favorites and new attractions, making it bigger and better than ever! The fairgrounds are enveloped in 1 million lights with a 2-mile drive-thru of elaborate displays. The expanded Santa’s Village will feature an Arctic Plunge Inflatable Snow Tube, holiday-themed rides, a self-guided walking tour of Hometown Hillsborough Historical Village, visits with Santa, camel rides, holiday movies, tasty treats and more!
  • Visit hillsboroughcountyfair.com/festival-of-lights for details on hours and ticket prices.
  • Santa visits will be Nov. 24-Jan. 1, 2023 from 6-9pm on weekdays and 6-10pm on weekends

Santa’s Workshop at MOSI 

  •  Join MOSI and the jolly old elf in a mixture of science and holiday spirit.  Feel free to take your own picture with Santa, join in the hands-on activities and even mail your letter to the North Pole to make sure Santa doesn’t forget those special requests! Santa’s Workshop is included with MOSI admission.
  • Santa’s Workshop will be hosted December 10, 2022 from 11am – 2pm

Santa at Hyde Park Village in South Tampa 

Weekends in December beginning December 3 at select times and locations

Santa will be popping in at Hyde Park Village for visits and photos at various shops throughout the village. Each shop will host Santa on their designated day, so check here for updates: hydeparkvillage.com 

Santa at Bass Pro Shops

10501 Palm River Rd in Tampa
November 5-December 24, 2022

  • FREE reservations are strongly suggested at all locations to secure your spot. Reservations may be made within a 7-day timeframe. Reserve your Santa visit time slot.
  • Santa is back at Bass Pro Shop’s FREE Santa’s Wonderland experience! There will also be games and events for the whole family, carousel rides, and holiday craft gift bags to take home.
Santa things to do this weekend in Tampa Bay
Image credit: 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 memorable photos with Santa! Advanced reservation are strongly encouraged.

Santa arrives at the following locations on November 10, 2022 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.

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 in Tampa Bay

Gallagher’s Pumpkins and Christmas Trees in St. Petersburg  

Now open. Follow on social for Santa dates.
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, apple cider with donuts, poinsettias and more!

Winter Village at Curtis Hixon Park in Downtown Tampa

November 18, 2022-January 4, 2023
Celebrate the magic of the holiday season at Curtis Hixon Park in downtown Tampa with festive lights, ice skating, and more. Keep an eye out for Santa – he’ll be making a few surprise visits at Winter Village! Be sure to stay off the naughty list and stay tuned to the @WinterVillageTampa Facebook and Instagram pages for clues as to when 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. Saturday, December 3, catch the Christmas parade and Santa Fest beginning at 1 p.m.

Wonderland of Christmas Lights & Santa’s Christmas Village in Auburndale

November 25, 2022 – December 25, 2022
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 rides, entertainment, a visit with Santa, Holiday activities for children and adults of all ages! The International Market World, 1052 US-92 in Auburndale.

Raprager Family Farms Winter Festival and Christmas Extravaganza

November 25, 2022 – December 23, 2022, select dates and times
Raprager Family Farm is exploding with Christmas cheer! Lights and decorations blanket the farm. Hear stories from Mrs. Claus and pay a visit to Santa and take pictures with him at his workshop.

Enchant Christmas at Tropicana Field

November 25, 2022- January 1, 2023
Wander through the incredible dazzling display of lights, spin around on the ice-skating rink, and create some fun holiday crafts. Head over to Santa’s Landing to meet Santa himself. Nestled in a serene snowscape below a sky full of twinkling stars, it is an enchanting and memorable setting for a one-of-a-kind Christmas experience.

Christmas Lane in Plant City

Select nights from November 25, 2022-December 24, 2022
The Florida Strawberry Festival fairgrounds is transformed into an enchanting winter wonderland with 1.5 million lights that adorn 200 Christmas trees from 4 to 40 feet. They will have rides, food, live entertainment, and a kids zone. Santa, Mrs. Claus, and Rudolph will be there to celebrate and take festive photos with guests.

North Pole Express at Florida Railroad Museum

Select nights December 1-21, 2022
Climb aboard the North Pole Express and ride to the North Pole station, where Santa awaits your visit! He even has a special gift to give each child before they leave. There will be thousands of Christmas lights, hot cocoa, and activities as well. This popular event sells out quickly, but there are a few more open spaces available.

Santa at Lakeside Village

Dec. 3, 10 & 17
Check out the charming set up for photos with Santa at Lakeside Village. Appointments are being used to try to limit wait time, but the experience is FREE!

DK Farm’s Christmas at The Farm

Select nights December 3-18, 2022
Enjoy the farm in a whole new perspective! There will be tons of entertainment designed for all ages. There will be photo ops with Santa (weekends only), campfires, hayrides, bounce house, snow machine, and more. $10 per guest over 30″ tall. Bundle packages are available online only.

Santa at Chick-Fil-A on Waters Avenue 

November 25 and December, 2, 9, 16, and 23 6:00 p.m. – 10:00 p.m.
Visit the most festive Chick-Fil-A in Tampa Bay and check out their annual Christmas lights display! Santa will be there on select dates so be sure to stop by and say hello.

Santa Visits at We Rock the Spectrum

December 3, 2022, 5:30 pm-8 pm
Head to We Rock the Spectrum for an evening of fun, crafts and snowball fights. Each family gets a private visit with Santa! Tickets are $20 per child, and $15 per additional sibling.

Santa Fest and Tampa’s Christmas Parade

December 3, 2022, 1:30 p.m.
Cheer on the sights and sounds of the holiday season at this mile-long parade boasting brightly colored floats, bands, drum lines, characters, and more! Watch Santa and his elves as they arrive in Tampa Bay. Head to Curtis Hixon Park after the parade for holiday entertainment, games, and activities, and get your picture taken with Santa.

Santa and Mrs. Claus at Armature Works 

December 3, 10 and 17, 2022 at select times
Kids can visit with Santa in the South Lawn near the Armature Works Christmas Tree. Don’t forget to bring an unwrapped toy to donate for the Toys for Tots toy drive.

Santa at Armature Works in Tampa

Santa in the Park at North Straub Park in St Pete

December 10-11, 16-23, 2022 6-9pm
This year’s event will feature Santa in a rocking chair with a designated area for participants to chat and take photos with Santa. Be sure to bring your own camera.

Photos with Santa at Humane Society of Tampa Bay 

December 10, 2022, 10:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m.
Want a picture of Santa along with your favorite four-legged friend? Santa is heading to the Humane Society of Tampa Bay! Suggestion donation of $10 per person.

Hunsader Farms Country Christmas in Bradenton 

Select nights December 10-23, 2022
Enjoy an old-fashioned country Christmas as the farm lights up in a dazzling display of over 300,000 lights. Enjoy activities such as hayrides, train rides, campfires, Christmas music, snow tubing, and a display Christmas village. Watch Christmas movies on the big screen, say hello to Santa, and warm up with hot chocolate and s’mores. Parking is free and tickets are $15 per person. Kids 5 and younger are free.

Cookies with Santa at Pinellas Pioneer Settlement-Boyd Hill Nature Park

December 16 and 17, 2022, 6:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m.
Decorate gingerbread cookies, meet Santa and his elves, and purchase small gifts (all items $5 and under) for friends and family! Free gift wrapping provided. $5 per person. Space is limited so be sure to reserve your spot here.


Breakfast with Santa

Breakfast with Santa is a great way to let your kids see the big guy up close and personal. Fill the season with holiday cheer with one of these great breakfast with Santa options.

Santa Brunch Cruise With Yacht StarShip

When: December 11 & 18, 12:30pm – 2:30pm
Price: Tickets start at $59.95 for adults and $44.95 for kids 2-12

Santa is soaking up a little sunshine with brunch on Yacht StarShip. Cruisers get a chance to snap a special photo with Santa at boarding, followed by tasty brunch and great views from the deck.

The whole ship will be decked out with holiday cheer. Yacht StarShip promises enchanted surprises during the two-hour cruise.

Santa poses on the Yacht StarShip for Breakfast with Santa in Tampa Bay - Image from Yacht StarShip
Breakfast with Santa in Tampa Bay – Image from Yacht StarShip

Breakfast with Santa at Weeki Wachee Springs State Park

When: December 10, 11, 17 & 18, 2022
Price: $8 for kids ages 3-11, $16 for adults 12 and older, kids 0-2 are free

Breakfast with Santa is back at Weeki Wachee Springs State Park! This is a chance to join the jolly old elf at the beloved state park for a morning of pancakes, eggs and more! There will be plenty of photo opps with Santa, the elves, and of course…the mermaids!

READ MORE: Where to Have Breakfast with Santa in Tampa


Other Ways To Interact With Santa

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 10, 2022 and it’ll take a few extra steps on your end as the parent, but well worth the effort!

Santa’s Calling

Sign your kid up to receive a call from Santa himself! Kids 8 and under can participate — parents just need to fill out a form. Kids can chat with Santa about their holiday wishes and let him know what they’re hoping for. The calls will take place December 13-15.

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