Many folks don’t know this, but cleverly hidden in Lake County is one of Santa’s best kept secrets. Amongst the woods along a winding back country road, the big man himself owns and operates his very own Christmas Tree Forest. If you ask me, I think it’s about time Santa diversifies and starts spreading out his investments. When you think about it, Christmas gets more and more expensive each and every year, so it’s only logical that he owns Santa’s Christmas Tree Forest! I mean how else would he be able to supply an army of elves and deliver toys to every girl and boy on the face of the Earth?
More than just a place to pick out your tree, Santa’s Christmas Tree Forest is a family adventure like no other! We packed up and headed out for some fun this past Sunday and we couldn’t think of a better way to spend our day. Right from the start we knew we were going to be in for a treat. As soon as we entered Santa’s Christmas Tree Forest, we were amazed at the sights, sounds, and especially the smells. So what exactly does Santa’s Christmas Tree Forest smell like? Well it’s a bit difficult to explain, but it’s a bit of a cross between one of those fresh pine tree air fresheners and the most delicious kitchen you could imagine. All kidding aside, you will immediately discover the scent of so many holiday traditions all at once. For starters, the scent of the fresh-cut trees is the first thing you’ll notice. As you explore Santa’s Christmas Tree Forest, you’ll also smell a wonderful camp fire mixed with roasted hot dogs and smores; but more on that later.
After you take a moment to soak up the sights and smells, you’ll notice a few things. For example, there is no admission charge so no one will ask for money as you explore. The other thing is that they have an army of staff members that I can only assume are the larger, full-sized family members of the elves from Santa’s North Pole headquarters. There were so many employees assisting customers, that you would be hard pressed to not find any help if you have questions. This is a sign of a top-notch operation!
So once we entered the complex, we made a run for the trees! That’s right Santa’s Christmas Tree Forest actually offers you-pick-em trees. It’s sort of like picking your own lobster at a seafood restaurant except with pine needles. You can roam across their vast field and select a tree that you can cut down yourself and lug to the front, or the better option is to take a hay ride with the family. The hay ride is free if you are purchasing a tree and they also give a tour of the entire expansive complex. If you don’t want to get a tree, you can opt to purchase hayride tickets instead. We noticed a flat rate pricing structure, where all trees under 6 feet were only $35. I think the last time I purchased a tree it was well over $75! Throw in the free hay ride and you can’t go wrong! There are different types of trees to choose from so no matter what your Christmas tastes are, Santa’s Christmas Tree Forest has you covered. I didn’t see the pricing for trees over 6 feet, but I would imagine they too would be very reasonable. If price is a factor, then you’ll want to bring a tape measure with you.
If you don’t want the experience of cutting down your own tree, then you may want to select from a vast array of pre cut trees. Something else that I thought was very unique is their selection of potted trees. That’s right, you can purchase a tree in a pot so after Christmas you can plant it in your yard! I have never seen this before and it makes for a great eco-friendly option. Year after year though, you may run out of space in your yard…
As if getting the very freshest Christmas Tree wasn’t enough, Santa’s Christmas Tree Forest also offers a variety of attractions for the entire family. Our little guy loved the “non-petting”, petting zoo! There were actually signs that ask you to not touch the animals, but I think they are there for more of a liability issue than anything else. Across the field we also noticed two zip-lines that are perfect for your little adventurers! With two courses to choose from, you can zip across the field or take a spin on the smaller line that is great for little kids. You won’t want to miss the gigantic bounce pillow which offers all the fun of a bounce house without all the maintenance for the owners. Along the way we also found a maze where you can get lost for a few minutes. If your little ones have been good all year, they can even meet the big guy himself! I mean after all this is Santa’s Christmas Tree Forest…
Towards the front of the complex, you’ll find not only a wreath station when you can pick out a live hand-made Christmas wreath but a gift shop as well. They have all sorts of knick knacks there. Also along the entrance you’ll find the concession stand! I normally recommend that people avoid festival and fair foods to help reduce expenses, but this is one location that won’t leave you with an empty wallet. Granted we are a family of 3, and our little one only nibbled on our food, but we purchased a pulled chicken sandwich, a 1/4 pound hotdog, boiled peanuts and bottled water for around $10. Hotdogs and drinks were only $1 each, so you can be very thrifty! Please be aware that they do not allow outside food on property. With reasonable prices though, it’s not a problem for a family to munch on some food and stay hydrated.
If you’re looking for a very unique experience, you can purchase Smores kits, complete with graham crackers,chocolate, and marshmallows so you can sit by the fire and make your very own dessert. Not all that into sugar? You can still enjoy a fire roasted hotdog. I had to chuckle because the roast your own hotdog experience is the same cost as a regular cooked hotdog, so you might as well have some fun while you’re at it! Surprisingly enough, all the visitors took turns around the fire and we noticed a handful of families bonding over the experience.
Overall the prices are great for not only the trees and food, but also for the rides. Tickets are $2 each and they are purchased al carte. We bought two tickets for the reindeer tram ride, and it turns out we only needed one. They have a policy of no refunds for unused tickets, so we were happy to give a ticket away to another family. You may want to check out the activities prior to purchasing your tickets so you don’t over spend. Most rides were 1 each, with the exception of the horse/pony rides at 2 tickets and the large zip line being 3 tickets total. Still not a bad price for a great family adventure. If we had needed a tree we certainly would have strapped one to the roof of our car on the way out! Even if you aren’t in the market for a tree, Santa’s Christmas Tree Forest is a great family destination this time of year!
Are you not concerned about being frugal? Have a little extra money to toss around before Christmas? Santa’s Christmas Tree Forest participates in the Trees For Troops Program. This wonderful cause is supported by Fedex and they will actually ship a tree of your choosing to a deserving military family in need. It’s a great way to spread holiday cheer, and a great way t support our troops. Please consider making a donation if you go.
Santa’s Christmas Tree Forest Details:
More info on Trees For Troops
Address: 35317 Huff Road • Eustis, FL 32736
Hours: 10am – 6:30pm Tuesday – Sunday, Closed Mondays
Season Begins Day After Thanksgiving Until December 22nd.
Attraction Tickets $2 per ticket. Most rides 1 ticket
Food is very reasonably priced starting at $1 per item.