Every since I was a little girl, Miami has had two carnivals or "fairs" as we call them. We have Santa's Enchanted Forest in the winter, and the Miami-Dade County Youth Fair in the spring. We have been going ever since I can remember, back when I was in middle school.
I had my first kiss on the Ferris wheel when I was 14. I've been taking Angeline there since she was two years old. It's the only place I can get an elephant ear, aside from the Youth Fair...it's just one of those places that you have to go to, it's a tradition!
Now that there are rumors going around that the Youth Fair sold their property and they have nowhere to host the fair...there was no way we were going to miss Santa's Enchanted Forest this year!
Santa's Enchanted Forest is the world’s largest Christmas theme park and has over 100 rides, all kinds of shows, games and attractions. Once you pay admission at the gate, all of the rides and shows are included in that admission price, but you have to pay for any carnival games, food and special attractions, like the petting zoo (totally worth the $3, FYI.).
Each year in late October, we watch as the lights begin to go up in the trees over the Palmetto Expressway, because the fair is right off the highway in a gigantic park.
There is simply so much to do and see at Santa's Enchanted Forest! There are shows, a petting zoo, food trucks featuring cuisine from around the world, rock climbing, trampolines, rides, carnival games...the list goes on and on!
As you walk into Santa's Enchanted Forest you walk down a beautifully-lit street with themed displays on both sides.
You can take photos in front of them and watch the adorable little animated shows as you make your way towards the food trucks and carnival rides!
I love the food at Santa's Enchanted Forest - it's actually the biggest reason I go every year, well, that and the beautiful lights! I get motion sick, so I can't actually ride the rides.
But that admission price is so worth it once I find myself in front of Santa's Enchanted Forest's Christmas tree!
That Christmas tree is the beginning of the food trucks and rides, and all of the carnival games!
In addition to the carnival games at Santa's Enchanted Forest, there are also fun houses, which are great for all ages!
Now, when I was a kid, before I really started to suffer from motion sickness, I used to love this ride called The Gravitron. You stood up inside it and belted yourself down, and the ride lifted up and gravitated you - thus "The Gravitron." It was so much fun and it was one of the most popular rides at the park! The Gravitron is now called "Alien Invasion" but the kids still love it just as much!
My daughter, her friend and my mom all went on Santa's Enchanted Forest's Alien Invasion ride and they had a blast!
Now, the lines can be pretty long, especially on a weekend night, or when there's no school the next day. Angeline and her friend waited in line for Alpine Bob's for over an hour.
Santas Enchanted Forest came up with a great alternative to standing in line for an hour, similar to the special passes that theme parks sell, called the Fast Pass. For $20, you can wear a special bracelet and lanyard that moves you to the front of the line, and it is accepted at every ride in the park!
The food is my favorite part...
There's the fresh, hot donuts with sugar and cinnamon that I always get and share with everyone.
Then there is the pinchos, which come in steak, pork or chicken. We always buy a skewer and share, or I buy a gyro!
Oh and the caramel apples, the cotton candy, the ice cream, candy apples and fudge...
While we didn't catch any shows while we were at Santa's Enchanted Forest on Saturday night, I did run over to the petting zoo to see the animals. I just love animals and I adore baby goats, and they had F I V E!
They were seriously the cutest things in the whole wide world.
There were other animals, of course, like the Alpacas.
I thought that the Alpacas were totally cute...until they started spitting at me like total a-holes!
If you're looking for a fun way to get this Christmas season started, go check out Santa's Enchanted Forest!
Santa's Enchanted Forest Hours and Admission:
Open daily from 5 pm – midnight, November 1, 2012 – January 6, 2013. Location: Santa's Enchanted Forest at Tropical Park, 7900 S.W. 40th Street, Miami, FL 33155.
Daily Ticket prices include all carnival rides, shows, lights, displays and parking.
Children (ages 2 and under) Free
Children (ages 3 to 9) $18.69 + Tax
Adults (ages 10 - 64) $27.10 + Tax
Seniors (ages 65+) $18.69 + Tax