Santa's Enchanted Forest

Soon, the Christmas ornaments will be safely packed away, the lights unplugged and stores back to regular hours, but you can still enjoy one holiday activity a little while longer. During Christmastime, people often realize the best part of the season is honoring tradition with family and friends. One place that has become part of South Florida tradition is Santa’s Enchanted Forest. For 30 years, this Christmas-themed fair has entertained us annually from November to early January. This year it wraps up on January 13.

“It started out as a small walking fair, but over the years it has grown to more than 100 rides, shows, games and attractions. We have over 500 people working here to make sure everyone has a good time,” said L.D. Buddy Cormican, the director of the fair.

As you enter Santa’s Enchanted Forest, you first pass under a plywood Santa sign that blows down frothy snow-like bubbles through Santa’s mouth. Next, there is a tunnel of arched red and green lights that mark the true entrance to the fair’s ‘Main Street’.

On this 1/4-mile path, you’ll see roasting turkey legs, acrobats swinging overhead, pony rides, life-sized dioramas of Christmas scenes, miniature train rides for the kids, millions of lights and more.

Whereas the front of the fair is all Christmas-themed and young kid and grandparent oriented, the back half of the fair is your more traditional fair.

The games of chance are what you’d expect. Loud hawkers asking for your dollars so that you can put a ball into a basket...

pop a balloon...

or toss a ring onto a bottle neck.  The kids tend to head straight to the rides that flip, spin and shake.

Shoshana Braunstein, age 9 (center), braved a fast spinning ride with her cousins, Emma and Andrew Feldman. “It was amazing! That was soooo much fun! This place is soooo great!” That excitement was echoed many families strolling the fair.

The idea and concept for Santa’s Enchanted Forest was Fred Molina’s more than 30 years ago. Along the way, Steven Shechtman financially backed the project and the rest, as they say, is history… or more specifically, tradition.

There’s comfort in knowing Santa’s Enchanted Forest will rise up each year in Tropical Park just in time to delight South Floridians and all the visiting tourists.

Much like your family’s traditional holiday meal, stringing up lights, hanging tinsel and singing songs, Santa’s Enchanted Forest is Christmas tradition.