2023 Santa Sightings

December 2023

by Santa's Helper

There are ever-growing options for tracking Santa’s magical journey on Christmas Eve, but what about finding him for those special, ahead-of-Christmas encounters?  


Santa’s Wonderland  

At Cabela’s Wonderland, your family will receive a free 4x6 photo with Santa (along with a free, shareable video). Have a letter to Santa in need of mailing? You can take care of that during your visit, too. Appointments are available one week from the current day (new appointments are released at 12:01 a.m. for the next available day). Reserve your spot at the link above. Each appointment is part of a 15-minute timeframe – make the most of every moment by arriving on time.  

Santa @ Holiday Nights 

  • ZooMontana, 2100 Shiloh Rd | Now-December 23 

Be on the lookout for Santa as you traverse the magical walking light displays at Holiday Nights at ZooMontana! (You will also have opportunity to encounter the Mrs. in Mrs. Claus’ Crafts Room, where the kids will be able to decorate cookies and create crafts.)  

Community Christmas Tree Lighting 

  • Community Park (on the corner of Division & 1st Ave N | December 1 @ 5:30-7:30pm 

The Billings Jaycees and Billings Parks and Recreation have teamed up once again to bring you the Annual Historic Community Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony. Expect cocoa and candy canes, entertainment, and (complimentary) professional photos with Montana Santa courtesy of Miranda Murdock. Come celebrate another year around our Community Tree!  

Photos with Santa @ the Festival of Trees 

  • MetraPark Montana Pavilion | December 1 @ 5-8pm // December 2 @ 11am-1pm & 2-4pm  

On Friday evening at the Festival of Trees, Santa will be on hand, adding magic to this winter wonderland during the Carnival at Family Fun Night. The kids can snap a pic and bring their letter to drop in his mailbox. On Saturday, Santa will return for two 2-hour sessions for families to capture that special Santa moment. 

Free Santa Photos 

  • Western Ranch Supply, 7305 Entryway Dr | December 2 @ 11am-1pm 

Mosey on over to Western Ranch Supply at the Billings West End location for free photos with Santa. Bring the family, kids, or even your furry friends for this photo opp. Staff will be present to take pictures, or you are welcome to take your own.  

Meet Santa @ Scheels 

  • Scheels, 1121 Shiloh Crossing Blvd | December 2 & 3 @ 10am-4pm  

From the fish and Ferris wheel to miniature bowling and games a-plenty, Scheels is already a favorite spot for the kids. For two days in December, that jolly big man in red will be the cherry on top of that stop. Bring your camera for this free photo opportunity with Santa. You’ll find him on the second floor in the training rooms (just past the elevator).  

Santa Saturdays 

  • Roots Garden Center, 2147 Poly Dr | December 2, 9, 16 @ 10am-2pm 

“A place for gardeners, artists, coffee lovers, and plant enthusiasts,” and in December, Santa’s stomping ground; you’ll want to bring the family to Roots Garden Center for Santa Saturdays. Snap a photo with Santa, enjoy cake pops, and shop local vendors.  

Santa Paws Pet Photo Nights  

Let’s not leave the fur babies out of the festivities! Rimrock Mall is hosting Santa Paws Pet Photo Nights, where dogs and cats (and their humans) are invited to visit with Santa on these select dates. All pets must be on a leash or in a lightweight carrier and be up to date on shots.


Story Time with Santa @ The Festival of Trees 

  • MetraPark Montana Pavilion | December 2 @ 10am & 1pm 

As the Festival of Trees winds down, bring the kiddos down to tour the trees and settle in with Santa as he shares one of his favorite Christmas books.  

Write Letters to Santa Night @ Holiday Nights 

  • ZooMontana 2100 Shiloh Rd | December 3 @ 5-9pm 

On this Sunday evening at Holiday Nights, the kids are invited to go inside the Zoo’s main building to write their letters to Santa. Letters they can fill out will be available, along with envelopes and a mailbox for speedy delivery of their correspondence. This magical moment is brought to you by TW Clark & Ridley.  

Playapalooza Holiday Party 

  • Western Heritage Center, 2822 Montana Ave | December 9 @ 10am-2pm 

At WHC’s annual celebration, it’s (free!) fun for the WHOLE family – we’re talking, bring the grandparents. You’ll have the opportunity to meet Santa, play old-fashioned games, create unique crafts, nibble some snacks, and settle in for storytime.  

Story Time with Santa 

  • Rimrock Mall, 300 S 24th St W | December 16 @ 9-10am 

Bring your littles to Santa’s Wonderland at Center Court for some delicious mini cinnamon rolls (sponsored by Cinnabon)! Then, gathered around Santa, the kiddos will enjoy a traditional holiday story.  


Originally printed in the December 2023 issue of Simply Local Magazine

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