Best Places To Take Pictures With Santa in Lakeland + Polk County

Santa Photos Lakeland Florida (2)

Whether you’re looking for a great Santa picture or your kids prefer to admire Santa Claus from afar, we can help you find places to get pictures with Santa near you.

Santa Claus (and occasionally Mrs. Claus) will be visiting Lakeland, Bartow, Mulberry, Winter Haven, Lake Wales, Fort Meade, Auburndale – he’s covering all of Polk County and Central Florida!

We’ve listed as many Santa photo opportunities as we could find, including Breakfast with Santa and other events where Santa is making an appearance, because we all know sometimes it takes more than one try to get a good photo with Santa!

MOM TIP – When it comes to photos with Santa, try to leave your own expectations at the door. Your 2 year old who thought Santa was great last year might be terrified this year. Or vice versa. If you’ve never been to see Santa, keep in mind that plenty of kids are scared of Santa, and if your child cries or refuses to go near him, it is a normal reaction! {Also – some of my favorite holiday cards have included hilarious Santa pictures}

Don’t miss our Ultimate Guide to Christmas Events + Holiday Activities for a full list of things to do this holiday season in Lakeland and Polk County including Christmas Light Displays, Santa Photos, Christmas Tree Lots, Christmas Parades, Holidays Concerts, Live Performances, Holiday Markets, Ice Skating, Toy Donation Needs, and more.

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Pictures with Santa

Free Santa Pictures at Lakeside Village

Santa will be at Lakeside Village on Saturday afternoons for Christmas wishes and keepsake photos. Lakeside Village will have a Christmas set decorated to look like a living room and Santa will be at a safe distance in the photos, either decorating a Christmas tree while children are watching, or Santa will be sitting on a couch reading to children while they sit on the rug. Be sure to bring your own camera – these are FREE photos with Santa.

{Be sure to let your children know in advance that Santa has to stay healthy and can’t give hugs this year!}

  • Appointments Required: An appointment is required for your visit with Santa at Lakeside Village this year. Reservations will open on Saturday, November 20, 2021 at 10am on EventbriteYou should make one appointment per family or group. In an effort to let as many people see Santa as possible, each appointment is limited to around 3 minutes.
  • Instead of being at the tree, he’ll be in a storefront near the roundabout at 1473 Town Center Drive, Lakeland, FL 33803 (near Sunglass Hut).
  • You will need to be able to take your own photo – for everyone’s safety, Santa, Mrs. Claus, and any other event staff are prohibited from touching guests’ phones for photos. 

Hours: 
Saturday, November 27, 2021 from 11am – 4pm
Saturday, December 4, 2021 from 11am – 4pm
Saturday, December 11, 2021 from 11am – 4pm
Saturday, December 18, 2021 from 11am – 4pm

Location: Lakeside Village, 1473 Town Center Drive, Lakeland, FL 33803 (MAP IT)
Cost: FREE – Bring your own camera
More info: Lakeside Village Website

Santa Photos in Lakeland Square Mall

Santa arrives at Lakeland Square Mall on Friday, November 26, 2021 and will visit with children daily until he returns to the North Pole on December 24, 2021. Located near Dillard’s. Reservation to visit Santa are strongly encouraged. Walk-up visits will be available as space allows throughout the day.

Hours: Visit the Lakeland Square Mall Website for the Lakeland Mall Santa Hours. Santa feeds his reindeer occasionally throughout the day and is unavailable for photos at those times.

Location: Lakeland Square Mall, 3800 US Hwy 98 N, Lakeland, FL 33809 (MAP IT)

Cost: Prices vary, packages are available starting at $39.99. Advance reservations are strongly recommended and require the advance purchase of a photo package.

2021 SAFETY PRECAUTIONS: See the full list of 2021 requirements.

Pictures with Santa at Eagle Ridge Mall

We have been unable to verify Santa information for Eagle Ridge Mall.
Location: 451 Eagle Ridge Dr. Lake Wales, FL 33859 (MAP IT)

Santa’s Wonderland – Pictures with Santa at Bass Pro Shops

Although it is a 30-60 minute drive from the Lakeland area to the nearest Bass Pro Shop, many of our readers say it is worth the drive for Photos with Santa at Bass Pro! A free 4×6 studio-quality photo is included, as well as a free shareable video when you provide your email address. Additional photo packages are also available for purchase and print instantly at the store.

Hours: Vary by store – check the website for reservation times.
Locations: Bass Pro Shops Tampa – 10501 Palm River Road Tampa, FL 33619 {Brandon area}
Bass Pro Shops Orlando – 5156 International Drive Orlando, FL 32819
Cost: FREE – Reservations are required and are available up to 7 days in advance.
More info: Bass Pro Website

Selfies with Santa at the Polk History Center

Santa Claus and his elves will be in his study at the Polk History Center for “Selfies with Santa.” Reservations are required and social distancing practices will be in place to ensure that Santa and the little ones are kept safe and healthy.

Dates: November 27, 2021 from 10am – 1pm
December 11, 2021 from 11am – 1pm
December 18, 2011 from 10am – 1pm
Locations: Polk History Center – 100 E Main St, Bartow, FL 33830
Cost: FREE – Reservations are required. Contact the museum to reserve your space, (863) 534-4386 by phone or email, jaymejamison@polk-county.net.
More info: Polk County Government Facebook

Santa Cares – Sensory Friendly Santa Visits

​​Children within all spectrums of special needs and their families are welcome to visit before the mall opens for a sensory-friendly event to experience the time-honored tradition of a visit and photos with Santa.

Santa Cares will be held on Sunday, December 5 and Sunday, December 12, 2021 from 9:30am – 10:30am. Reservations are encouraged. (Reservations are free – we are waiting on more details on whether a photo purchase is required)

Events With Santa in Lakeland + Polk County

Rumor has it the man in the red suit (and sometimes Mrs. Claus!) will be at the family friendly events listed below. The availability of pictures with Santa varies by event, we have included all available info in the description. Many of the Breakfast with Santa events have a cost or require an advance ticket purchase for a breakfast buffet, be sure to check event descriptions for ticket info.

Santa also appears at the end of every Christmas parade! Bring the family and wave to Santa from afar. Check our Christmas Parade Guide for a list of local parades in 2021.

A full list of events can be viewed on our Calendar.

2021 Events With Santa

Interested in having your event included here? Submit a listing.

Christmas Events + Holiday Activities

Check out our Ultimate Guide to Christmas Events + Holiday Activities to find more things to do including Neighborhood Christmas Light Displays, FREE Christmas Events, Santa Photos, Christmas Parades, and more.