Santa's Enchanted Forest

••• Dawn Ashley

It is difficult to feel the Christmas season approaching in Miami. Between the long days, warm spring-like temperatures and lack of snow, it is sometimes impossible to get in the spirit. When these days get the better of you, go where Christmas is in the air- Santa's Enchanted Forest. Only Scrooge himself wouldn't ho-ho-ho here!

At the corner of Bird Road and the Palmetto Expressway (826), Miami-Dade's Tropical Park has been transformed into a winter wonderland of lights and displays for the holiday season.

Santa's Enchanted Forest boasts over 3 million lights that are sure to delight every age. At the center of the park is the 90-foot Christmas tree lit from top to bottom. From traditional displays of Santa in his workshop to popular children's characters, there truly is something for everyone. Don't forget to stop by and see Santa while you're there, or drop him a letter in a special mailbox guaranteed to get to the jolly old man in time for Christmas.

Santa's Enchanted Forest also has a carnival with 100 rides (including 20 for children), a petting zoo, pony rides, and 9 live shows. Food tents offer traditional carnival fair like candy apples and funnel cake as well as international cuisine from Greece, Mexico and Italy. Carnival games give you the chance to win souvenirs to take home or to give your special Christmas someone.

Santa's Enchanted Forest runs from October 30, 2014 - January 4, 2015.

Hours of operation are from 5pm to midnight, seven days a week. Although it is billed as "The World's Largest Christmas Theme Park and Free Carnival," this is a little misleading- don't leave your wallet at home. Admission to the carnival, including rides, is free with a ticket to the Christmas Park, which is $29.91 for adults, $20.56 for seniors and children 9 and under, and free for children under 2.

There is also a season pass option, where one pass gets you in every night except Saturdays and Chirstmas day. Season pass holders don't have to wait in line to get in, which can be quite a madhouse some nights. Prices for the season pass are $51.40 for ages 10-64, $41.12 for kids 3-9 and $42.99 for seniors. Parking is free. For more information, call (305) 893-0090.