Tree Farms in and around Pensacola – 2011

We are giving away tickets to the December 3 Winterfest Performance Tour. See details and how to enter.

The turkey is all put away and I am all ready to decorate our house this weekend.  We are hoping to put up the Christmas tree tomorrow and get it decorated.  I love watching the kids decorate the tree.  They go through each ornament and ask to hear stories about how we got them.  They like to claim the ornaments we have bought for each of them throughout the years.  We travel a lot and we always pick up an ornament in each city to remember our travels.  The kids play “remember when” with each ornament they take out of the box.

For the past few years, we have been putting up a fake tree.  I fought it for as long as I could but my husband finally talked me into it.  I am not going to lie…I love the convenience but I miss the excitement of picking out the perfect tree.  To compromise, we make a trip to a tree farm each year to visit, wander around the trees, and more.  Here are a few Christmas tree farms in the area.  If I missed one, please leave me a note or send me an email and I will update the list!

As always, confirm the hours of operations, price, etc because things might change.  Before you go, check the website because many tree farms only accept cash or check.

Fish River Trees (Summerdale, Alabama) – We visit Fish River Trees every year and it is one of our favorite holiday family outings.  It is not just a place to cut down your Christmas tree but you can visit Santa and his reindeer, get a cup of hot chocolate, and tour the farm.  New to the farm this year is a manger scene complete with live animals!  Open daily from 8am to 5pm until December 24th.  See the website for activity schedule.

The Christmas Forest (Pensacola, Florida) – Christmas trees range from 5 to 10 feet tall and they each cost $30 no matter what size.  They have potted Christmas trees for those of you that want to plant your tree after the holiday season is over.   They are open Monday through Friday from 1pm to 5pm and Saturday from 9am to 5pm until December 20.

Whispering Pines Christmas Tree Farm (Milton, Florida) – Christmas tree prices run $2-3 a foot.  There are staff members to assist you if you need help.  They are open Monday through Sunday from 9am to 5pm until December 18th.


The Arrival of Santa Claus 2011

This morning, while I was at the mall I couldn’t believe that I saw that they are ready for Santa Claus!  I saw a sign that Santa arrives at Cordova Mall on November 11, 2011.  I posted on the Pensacola with Kids Facebook Wall about how I think that it is a little early but at the same time I am ready to get the holiday season started.  Since Santa is already arriving in various places throughout Pensacola, I decided to post the places you can find Santa this holiday season even though it is only the second week of November.

As always, check the links to confirm the dates and times.

Bass Pro Shops – Santa has already arrived at the Spanish Fort store and the Destin store.  Check the website for the schedule because there will be photos, games, crafts and more.

Cordova Mall – Santa Claus arrives via fire truck in front of World Market starting with the pre-party at 6pm and the arrival at 7pm on November 11th.

Once Santa has arrived, his work hours will be: Saturdays in November 10 am – 8 pm Sundays in November; Noon – 6 pm Mon – Fri in November; 11 am – 8 pm Dec 1 – Dec 20; 10 am – 8:30 pm (Sundays close at 7 pm) Dec 21 – Dec 23; 9 am – 8:30 pm Dec 24; 8 am – 6 pm Note: Santa takes daily breaks around 1 pm and 6 pm for 30 minutes to feed the reindeers.

Destin Commons – Santa arrives on November 19th.  There will be a tree lighting, holiday parade and fireworks finale.

Eastern Shore Center – Santa arrives on November 12th.

Santa’s hours will be:  Saturday, November 12 ~ 10 am to 8 pm; Sunday, November 13 ~ 12 pm to 6 pm; Saturday, November 19 ~ 10 am to 8 pm; Sunday, November 20 ~ 12 pm to 6 pm; Friday, November 25 ~10 am to 8 pm; Saturday, November 26 ~ 10 am to 8 pm; Sunday, November 27 ~ 12 pm to 6 pm; Saturday, December 3 ~ 10 am to 8 pm; Sunday, December 4 ~ 12 pm to 6 pm; Saturday, December 10 ~ 10 am to 8 pm; Sunday, December 11 ~ 12 pm to 6 pm; Friday, December 16 ~ 10 am to 8 pm; Saturday, December 17 ~ 10 am to 8 pm; Sunday, December 18 ~ 12 pm to 6 pm; Monday, December 19 ~ 10 am to 8 pm; Tuesday, December 20 ~ 10 am to 8 pm; Wed. December 21 ~ 10 am to 8 pm; Thursday, December 22 ~ 10 am to 8 pm; Friday, December 23 ~ 10 am to 8 pm; Saturday, December 24 ~ 10 am to 2 pm; * Hours are subject to change depending on severe weather conditions.

Santa Rosa Mall – Santa will arrive Tuesday, November 15th.  There will be holiday crafts and free rides on the carousel.  Santa will be available for photos every day through Christmas Eve.

Other places you can spot Santa Claus this holiday season:

Winterfest Pensacola


If you know of any other Santa sightings, I will continue to update the post so leave us a note in the comments or send me an email.


What to do this week? Christmas Week Roundup

Today is the first day of holiday break!  I love the extra time we get to explore when Big S is off for the holidays!  Here are a few of our holiday picks for the break! 

**There will be no weekend roundup this week!**

Visit the Grinch, Rudolph and Santa on the Winterfest tour – December 20-23

See thousands of twinkling lights and take a train ride at the Gulf Breeze Zoo – December 20-23

Go ice skating at the Pensacola Civic Center – December 20-23

Visit a tall ship, the Peacemaker, and wander around Plaza de Luna – until January 3

Visit the Naval Aviation Museum and see Santa vs. the Snowman Imax movie – movie showing until January 4

Listen to carols in Olde Seville Square – December 23

Learning Time Monday – Christmas Fun!

Here are some craft ideas and activities for Christmas.  If you have any ideas to share, let me know in the comments or via email!

Christmas Coloring Pages

Colors and Shapes Christmas Tree

Christmas Tree Maze

Twelve Days of Christmas Coloring Pages and Number Practice

Handprint Angel

Puzzle Piece Picture Frame

Handprint Christmas Tree Craft

Christmas Pages – Mazes, math pages, cryptograms, etc

Christmas in Seville – Magical Winter Wonderland Tour

The building across from Seville is being transformed into a Magical Winter Wonderland December 17th and 18th!  According to the website:

Visitors of the spectacular 4,000-square-foot exhibit will feel as though they have been transported straight to the North Pole. Guests will start the tour by squeezing down the chimney just like Santa. The tour will take visitors through a variety of festive exhibits representing the holidays of all cultures. There will be a visit to Santa Toy Shop, An Island Christmas, Candy Cane Maze and a Magical Sleigh Ride 3D Experience thru a Magical Christmas Vortex Tunnel. Your child’s photo can be taken with Santa during your visit to his workshop. The tour begins at 5:00pm, tickets are $5 per person and the Magical Winter Wonderland experience is for all ages. For special private party reservation please call 850-723-5760.

Tree Farms in and around Pensacola, Florida

When do you put up your Christmas tree?  Do you put up a fake tree or a real tree?  Does your family head out to a Christmas tree farm to cut down your own?

Here are a few U-pick Christmas tree farms in our surrounding area.  Even if you already have a tree or put up a fake tree, a visit to the farm can be fun for the family.  If there are any farms to add to the list or if any of these are no longer operating, please let us know!  As always, make sure to call ahead before you go.

Fish River Trees – Located in Summerdale, AL; This is the only farm on the list that we have visited.  We had such a great time and we didn’t even go to pick out a tree!  There is a ride around the farm, hot chocolate to purchase, Santa and reindeer to visit.

Whispering Pines Christmas Tree Farm – Located north of Milton; They have staff to help you with your tree purchase.

Country Pine Christmas Tree Farm – Located near Bratt; Enjoy the pond, free cookies and candy canes for the kids, and run around while looking for your tree.

The Christmas Tree Forest – Located in Pensacola; They have both choose and cut and potted trees.

Upcoming Holiday Activities in and around Pensacola

We haven’t even eaten turkey yet (well, I have but we had our family Thanksgiving a week early!), but I wanted to share some holiday activities…some start as early as November 26th!  If you know of a family friendly activity that you want to share with us, please leave a comment!  Be sure to follow the links for more information, times, and dates.

Friday, November 26th – Elf Parade and Lighting of the Greens – For children under 9 – Caroling as Santa officially lights up Downtown Pensacola

Various dates beginning November 26th – Winterfest 2010 – Carriage or trolley rides and walking tours through Downtown Pensacola with performances at different stops

Various dates beginning November 26th – Zoo Lights – See thousands of lights while you visit the animals

Friday, November 26th to December 31 – Magic Christmas in Lights at Bellingrath Gardens

Friday, December 10 – Equestrian Center Santa Hayride – Hayrides, Santa visit, moonwalks and more

December 10, 11, and 12th – Christmas on the Coast – Performance by the Pensacola Children’s Chorus

December 11 – Pensacola Christmas Parade

Don’t forget about the different places that you can see Santa too!

The Arrival of Santa Claus

I know…shame on me for even putting a Christmas post up before we have Thanksgiving.  I almost didn’t post this but I decided that since Santa is already on his way to our area, there is no point in putting it off!  Here are some of the places that you might spy Santa.  As always, confirm the dates and times before you go.

Bass Pro Shops – Eek!  Santa has already arrived!  He arrived November 6th and can be visited until Dec. 24th.  Check the schedule before you go because there will be lots of crafts and activities available at different times throughout the next two months.

Cordova Mall – Arrives November 12th at 7pm with an event

Eastern Shore Center – Arrives November 13th

Destin Commons – Santa arrival and tree lighting on November 20

Do you know of any other places where Santa is stopping by?  As it gets closer to December, I will post more of the holiday activities!