By force of copyright, "the most magical place on Earth" can only describe Walt Disney theme parks, but the most magically-Miami place on Earth is without a doubt Santa's Enchanted Forest.
If you're really from South Florida, you've got a story. Either you grew up taking in the lights and free rides, or you grow up and wander in with some friend who can't believe you've never been there before, only to discover that the most deliciously-ratchet children's park of all time is also incredibly fun for adults.
Don't believe us? Who are you? Some kind of fun mizer? Just check out all the awesome stuff Santa's has in store.
See also: Eight Best Places to Go Stoned in Miami
10. One ticket, all rides free
When in your sorry little life did you ever get a deal as solid as this? Sure, the ticket is $30 ($20 for kids), but the park stays open until midnight every night. That means you can get there early, beat the lines, and ride as many damn rides as is humanly possible. That is, if you're not completely horrified by them.
9. The lights
The entrance to Santa's feels kind of like entering a portal to another Universe. If you're going to take any experience-enhancing additives, definitely do so before you get to the park. First, you walk through the mega-arch of light, then you wander the alley through crazy "nativity" scenes, more often depicting things like Santa surfing and elves working out than the baby Jesus, until you reach the piece de resistance -- the giant Christmas tree. The lights follow you into the rest of the park, but it's the entrance that really gets you in the spirit.
8. Carnival food
Santa doesn't watch his figure, and neither should you. From the moment you step into the park, you're tempted to try every manner of delicious morsel in man's deep-fried kingdom. There's the standard elephant ears and funnel cakes, sure, but then you've got curly fries and chicharonnes, gyros, pizza, burgers, fried candy bars, and chocolate-covered marshmallows with sprinkles. It's like every five feet, another part of your diet dies.
7. Signing up for Obamacare
Meeting Santa is totally doable, but he can't give you social healthcare. That's something only the government and this totally-rad volunteer woman can give you. I want to live a full and happy life for Christmas, and I'm going to take the first step toward health coverage today, at Santa's Enchanted Forest. This makes sense. Don't question it, just say "thank you."
6. You can "meet" Tiesto
Is this Ultra? No, we're still at Santa's. Is this legal? That's something we can't say for sure. Is that Armin Van Buuren on the right? Yes. Yes it is. Amazing.
5. The performing seals
Why does Santa have performing seals? Why not? The reindeer can't make it all the way down here, but the seals are straight chillin'. Not only is this show disgustingly adorable, it also teaches a fun message about conservation, environmentalism, and looking out for our flippered friends. It's very informative, and they do cute little dances. Bring a child and see if they can get picked to throw the rings onto their necks. They get a cute picture when they're done.
4. This high train
What is wrong with this train? It's supposed to be winking, but it's actually just as high as you are. It's there every year, and every year, it does this with its eye. We hope it never stops.
3. The ride handlers pick their own music
This is probably our favorite part about Santa's. No one cares what's going on, so the ride handlers get to play music from their phones. This means there are no pesky edits to ruin the flow of the rap song, and if you're really lucky, dude will get a bunch of text messages while you're flying on the air swings, so the song keeps clipping with text notifications. It's just something that needs to be experienced.
2. The games
Why bother playing the games when they're all rigged? First of all, that's not necessarily true. We won a goldfish last time we were there. Yep. But even if the odds aren't in your favor, what crawled up your butt and died? Why not just spend a little money on a cheap game and have a friendly wager with your friends? Just play the one where you shoot the water gun at the hole, someone wins that every time you play it, and then you can rub your superiority in your friend's face. That's what friends are for, right?
We Believe Local Journalism is Critical to the Life of a City
Engaging with our readers is essential to Miami New Times's mission. Make a financial contribution or sign up for a newsletter, and help us keep telling Miami's stories with no paywalls.
Support Our Journalism
1. The memories
"Never will you forget the experience of Santa's Enchanted Forest." That's how the song goes, and they don't say it for nothing. Sure, maybe you've got a horror story, but that's not something you forget, is it? We're pretty sure everyone we know has some insanely wonderful or wonderfully-insane story about being at Santa's. If you haven't been since you were a kid, why not take some kid you know or just your stupid, giggly friend? If you've never been at all, what the hell is wrong with you? You live next to the most Miami place in the world + Christmas lights. Take advantage of this while you can. Definitely get stoned, first. Santa doesn't mind.