Santa’s coming! Santa’s coming! I know we’re all supposed to give Thanksgiving Day it’s proper respects, but it’s just too easy to peer around the turkey to see those Christmas lights! It’s that time of the year where hopefully we all have a little “Buddy the Elf” in us. Because, we all know that our kids do!
This year, and every year, let’s focus on the most important aspect of the Holidays: spending time with the people we hold most dear. It isn’t about getting the latest Xbox, or fighting to be first in line at Best Buy on Black Friday. It’s about seeing the joy in our kid’s faces. About laughing together at the people standing in lines at Best Buy on Black Friday. About preparing Christmas dinner together in the kitchen. About watching Christmas lights reflect and twinkle in our kid’s eyes. This is what makes memories. And, those photos help keep them festively frozen in time.
With that being said, we’d like to give you our list of the “Top 10 Places in the Tampa Bay Area to Take Pictures with Santa: 2017”. Listed in no particular order, of course. Because, they’re all winners in our book!
- Santa Fest and Downtown Christmas Parade. Curtis Hixon Waterfront Park. December 2nd, 11am – 4pm. You just HAVE to see Curtis Hixon Park transformed into a Winter Wonderland (well, as “Winter” as we get here in Florida). The park will be offering FREE pictures with Santa (prepare your patience!), as well as continued entertainment, crafts, games and activities. Check out the Santa Fest Website for info and parade routes.
- Santa’s Wonderland. Bass Pro Shops (10501 Palm River Road, Tampa, Fl 33619). November 12th – December 24th. Free pictures with Santa, carousel rides and more! They really do it up every year. Check out all the details at www.basspro.com/santa Facebook Event info here: Bass Pro Shops Facebook Event Page
- Polar Express PJ Party. Glazer Children’s Museum. December 2nd. 5:30pm – 8:30pm. Cuddle up as a family and watch the holiday classic (one of our favs!) Polar Express. Dress in your favorite PJ’s (or onesies!) and get your photo taken with Santa. Cookies, hot cocoa, holiday crafts, museum play, and more! Details at the Glazer Museum Website.
- Santa’s Here! Citrus Park Mall. Santa arrived a bit early this year at Macy’s. Here’s a tip: get a “Fast Pass” to skip the line by purchasing photo packages in advance online. Santa will be at his Holiday Workshop in Macy’s Court Monday – Saturdays 10am – 9pm, and Sundays 12pm – 6pm. Check out www.westfield.com/citruspark for details.
- Snowfest. North Straub Park. December 2nd, 10:30am – 3pm. 64 TONS of snow (think about that!!!) will be falling at St Pete’s annual holiday Snowfest celebration. Activities include a big and kiddie toboggan slide, art tent, karaoke, moonwalk, giant slide, “glice” ice skating and a kiddlyland area. Details at St Pete Parks and Rec Website Want to save time by skipping the wristband line? Purchase yours in advance. See the their website to find participating locations.
- Photos with Santa! Westshore Plaza. November 12th – December 24th. Put on every year by Cherry Hill Programs. They always deliver unforgettable memories, capturing magical Santa experiences. Every time. Details (and coupons!) available at www.cherryhillphoto.com
- Christmas Lane. Florida Strawberry Festival. November 24th – December 24th. What’s not to love about the Florida Strawberry Festival?? Always a fun time with music, entertainment, and ooooooohhhhh….so much food. And, free parking this year! Check out all the details at Visit Christmas Lane.
- H&R Trains. 6901 US 19N, Pinellas Park, Fl 33781. November 25th, 11:30am – 3:30pm. H&R Train’s annual event gives a very unique twist to pictures with Santa your kids will love. See event details at their Facebook Page.
Pet Pictures with Santa
- Pet Photos with Santa in Tampa. Westshore Plaza. November 20th, 6 – 8pm. Bring your fur-babies to take a photo with Santa! Santa will be located in Center Court. See details at Westshore Plaza’s Website
- Santa Paws. International Plaza and Bay Street. November 19th and December 3rd, 7am – 9am. Have your dog or cat’s pictures taken with Santa! Obviously, pets must be on a leash or lightweight cage, and up to date on shots. See their Facebook Event for all the details, including pricing and parking information.
- Santa and Dog Pictures in St Pete. Dog Bar. December 9th, 1pm – 6pm. Put on your dog’s favorite holiday sweater and head down to the Dog Bar (one of our favorite local spots!). Extra points if you’re wearing matching sweaters! All proceeds benefiting Ruff Beginnings All Dog Rescue. Details here: Dog Bar Santa Event
Special Occasions for Special Needs:
- Signing Santa Day. International Plaza and Bay Street. December 3rd, 11am – 6pm. ALL children are invited to experience “Signing with Santa” in American Sign Language at Santa’s Flight Academy in the Grand Court. Professional interpreters will be on hand throughout the experience to bring joy for deaf and hard of hearing children. Check out details at their Facebook Event Page
- Sensitive Santa. Westshore Plaza, December 3rd, 9am – 11am. Sensitive Santa is for families touched by autism, providing a more controlled and welcoming environment to visit Santa. Simple adjustments are made (muted lights, music) to create a calming, memorable environment. The event is free, and held in partnership with Autism Speaks. See details here: Sensitive Santa Facebook Event Page
Ok, Ok…we know. That was more than 10. But, it’s Christmas!!! And, we’re excited! Have any events you’d like to share? Give us a shout!