The best Tampa Bay spots for Christmas trees, fake snow, meeting Santa and other holiday experiences
Over the next few weeks, the two big goals for parents is to get kids some face time with the Big Man, and find a suitable pine tree. So, what follows are a few local spots where you can either cut down your own Christmas tree (or, if you prefer to avoid sharp tools, find one in a lot), as well as meet Santa, or even bask in a fake snow storm, all within the Tampa Bay area.
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Santa’s Christmas Tree Forest/FB
35317 Huff Rd., Eustis
Through Dec. 19
Santa’s Christmas Tree Forest is exactly what it sounds like, a forest full of trees ready to be chopped down. Started back in 1989, Santa’s Christmas Tree Forest is big on family tradition and trying to bring families together during the holiday season. The trees available to cut (they provide the saw) are Florida-style trees like a Sand Pine. If you want a more traditional style tree, there’s Northern trees ready to take home from the lot. It also offers wreaths, tree care information, and live potted trees.
Winter Wonderland Clearwater/FB
200 N Fort Harrison Ave. Clearwater
Since 1993, Clearwater community volunteers have put together a Winter Wonderland with live entertainment, Santa and Mrs. Claus, a hot chocolate shop and Holiday Express Train. Admission is free except for some rides and refreshments.
Tropicana Field, St. Petersburg
Most nights through Jan. 2
One of the world’s largest Christmas mazes is back in St. Pete, bringing a whole lot with it, including pictures with Santa. Enchanting features include a variety of activities for the family to enjoy, from the light maze to the Christmas market. Vendors, sweets and an ice skating trail top it all off. Tickets start at $25.
Tampa Bay Farmers Market/FB
10001 N Armenia Ave., Tampa
All Christmas season
Although the Tampa Bay Farmers Market usually offers fresh veggies and fruits, they also have a selection of Christmas trees. Open now till the end of the holiday season, this farmers market features green table tops, floral grade poinsettias, Christmas decor, garlands and much more.
Photo via City of St. Pete/FB
400 Bayshore Dr. NE, St. Petersburg
Weekends in December
North Straub Park's annual Christmas event allows guests to chill with Santa at the park. On Saturday, Dec. 18, the St. Pete park also hosts a Snow Fest where adults and children can slide down a snow hill ($5 for a wristband), with arts and crafts tents, food trucks and more.