Spooky Season is a big deal in the Walters family. We are dead serious about Halloween and all the creepy fun that comes with it. Florida may not get a traditional fall like they do up north, but we’re no strangers to the fun activities that come with Autumn.
While its name may be deceiving, Santa’s Christmas Tree Forest is the place to be this October. Our leaves may not be changing, but there’s still plenty of fall color around. Florida is known for fresh citrus, but orange pumpkins are just as prominent this time of year. Santa’s Farm, about an hour away in Eustis, is one of the largest pumpkin patches in central Florida. Pumpkins are freshly picked and replenished regularly, so there are always a ton to choose from in a variety of sizes at reasonable prices.
Pumpkin Patch, Haunted Woods & Maze in Eustis, FL
After a very careful inspection (of an awful lot of pumpkins), Avery settled on a huge pumpkin that is almost as big as she is to take home. While choosing your family pumpkin is a lot of fun, and certainly time consuming with small children, this isn’t the only draw of this sprawling 30-acre farm. Now in its 33rd season, Santa’s Farm has been a central Florida staple to celebrate the holidays, as well as a must-do on your fall bucket list.
Now through October 30, Santa’s Farm will host a selection of events before the big guy himself gets to work on the upcoming holiday season and the farm transforms into a winter wonderland. A Lot of Pumpkins is offered Thursday through Sunday each week with tons of activities to fill your day. Be sure to purchase your tickets online ahead of time, as many days will sell out – especially as we approach Halloween.
Being adamant animal lovers, we kicked off our trip to the farm with a visit to the petting zoo. Bags of feed are available for purchase and can be shared with the farm critters that love to wander over for a quick snack and pet. Avery fell in love with the trio of resident donkeys that followed her around looking for treats.
A goat bridge (pictured above) extends over the farm to allow the animals to walk overhead, making for a hilarious sight. Next was one of her favorite activities since she was tiny, a pony ride around the patch. Pony and horse rides can be added on to your admission and are perfect for kids of all ages.
Fall Fun at Santa’s Christmas Tree Farm in Eustis, Florida
Just past the patch lies Jolly Acres, where kids and grown ups alike can get down and dirty with farm activities and just be kids. Spooky and fun music fills the fall atmosphere and really helps set the mood for the season. A massive bounce pillow provides hours of jumping entertainment (perfect to induce a nice car nap on the way home!). Scott and I hopped on with Avery and took turns sending her flying with giggles into the air.
Avery tried out a zip line for the first time and instantly became obsessed. Two are available, so even the littles like her can get a taste of adrenaline. The lower line is for 4 to 7 year olds, while the higher, longer line that extends the length of Jolly Acres and offers a bird’s-eye-view of the farm is open to kids and adults 8 and up.
The rest of Jolly Acres is jam-packed with farm activities to get a little dirt on your hands, including a shark’s tooth dig, pretend cattle roping, giant slide, rubber duck racing (ducks available for purchase at entry), tire mountains to climb and a tractor-pulled train ride.
If you want a glimpse of the Christmas trees this farm is best known for, take a hay ride through the 17-acre field of 17,000 U-cut trees. The jostling ride in and out of the pumpkin patch will get you in the fall spirit, even if it’s 85 degrees.
For a more grown up experience (kids must be 13 and up), visit the farm at night during Haunt, After Dark on select nights. Featuring a haunted trail, hayride and labyrinth filled with evil spirits and crazed humanoid farm animals, this experience is sure to inject a bit of fear in your October.
During both events, the farm’s bar and grill area is open for drinks (including booze!) and tasty eats and snacks. Select nights feature live music as well.
A Lot of Pumpkins @ Santa’s Christmas Tree Forest
Hours and Admission:
Open Thu – Sun: 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. You must make ticket reservations online for staggered admission.
Thu – Fri admission: $9/person; Sat – Sun: $15/person
Pony/Horse Rides: $7/person | Rubber Ducks: $1 each
Zip Line: $10/person (includes two consecutive rides)
Haunt, After Dark: $20/person on Oct. 15, 21 – 22, 28 – 29