At Christmastime, it’s safe to say that Bass Pro Shops stores — and their sister store, Cabela’s — take it to the next level. With decorations, giveaways, kids’ activities, and photos with the Bass Pro Santa (or the Cabela’s Santa), it’s a nice way to get into the holiday mood without hurting your wallet.
If you’re banking on getting some free photos with Santa this holiday season, don’t miss out on Santa’s Wonderland at Bass Pro Shops stores and Cabela’s stores. The big man in red will be at Bass Pro Shop stores for photos from Sunday, Nov. 5 through Dec. 24. The festivities include fun activities for kids and some freebies, too.
We’ll explain everything you need to know about Bass Pro Shops’ Santa’s Wonderland experience this year so you can claim all the free stuff.
The Bass Pro Santa will be at every Bass Pro Shops location from Nov. 5 – Dec. 24.
Santa made his annual return to Bass Pro Shops stores on Nov. 4, 2023, with a parade and tailgating party. The kickoff event also includes freebies and giveaways. The first timeslots for Santa photos started on Sunday, Nov. 5. He’ll be available every day until Dec. 24, and the setup includes free games and a toy area, too.
The amenities may vary by location, but each store will have something festive going on throughout the season from Nov. 4 – Dec. 24.
Free Cabela’s Santa photos are happening at all of their locations, too.
Since Bass Pro Shops owns Cabela’s, you’ll also get free Cabela’s Santa photos this year at all Cabela’s stores. Use their website to find a Cabela’s near you.
Each family gets one free 4×6 photo print and a shareable video.
You can get one free printed 4×6 photo per family after you pose with the Bass Pro Santa or Cabela’s Santa. Reservations are required at all locations, and they open up a week in advance of the timeslot. You can make a reservation online now.
Just like other sit-down-with-Santa experiences, you’ll only get a few moments to chat with Santa before the photographer snaps the picture. Make sure you come prepared, as it’s more of a quick visit than a sit-down photoshoot.
Related: Like freebies? We found 30 free things you can almost always get your hands on.
Reservations open up a week in advance of your timeslot, and they’re highly recommended.
You can make your photo appointment in just a few steps on the Bass Pro Shops website. Availability may vary by your location, though.
Appointments open up a week in advance (starting at 12:01 a.m.), and you can only make one booking per family (with a maximum of eight people per family). To ensure you get a photo with the man in red, you’ll want to log on to the Bass Pro Shops website as soon as appointments open up for the week that follows.
When I checked the website, it looked like appointment time slots generally go like this:
- Morning slots: Every 15 minutes, 10 a.m. – 11:45 a.m.
- Afternoon slots: Every 15 minutes, 12:15 p.m. – 5:45 p.m.
- Evening slots: Every 15 minutes, 6 p.m. – 7:45 p.m.
You can try booking the day of your visit, but just know that spots will fill up quickly, especially as we get closer to the holiday.
Related: We can point you to all the latest Walgreens photo printing deals so you can save on custom cards this year.
You’ll have to pay $15 to get a digital copy of your Bass Pro Santa photo.
To get a digital version of your photo (which you’ll need in order to print it or post on social media), you’ll need to purchase the digital download package for $15. And if you’d like more than just one free printed 4×6 Santa photo, you can buy additional photos for a fee.
Package prices for 2023 (the same as last year):
- Digital Download – $15
- Christmas Card Package – $20
- (8) 4×6 greeting cards
- Jingle Bell Package – $25
- Digital download
- Two 6×8 prints
- Two 5×7 prints
- Two 4×6 prints
- Four wallet prints
TIP: Bass Pro Club members will get 20% off photo packages from Nov. 5 – Dec. 24.
Visit Santa on a weekday to avoid the heaviest crowds.
If possible, you’ll skip the crowds and have more room to roam if you can snag a photo appointment with Santa during the week.
Since Bass Pro Shops stores have a lot of other regular fun amenities for the kids — including a rock wall, fish tank, and lots to see around the store — plan to spend at least an hour and a half to two hours for your visit.
While hanging out in Santa’s Wonderland, kids can send letters to Santa, play some holiday games, put together crafts, and may even get some freebies (though giveaways vary by location).
Bring your dog along for Santa photos — most Bass Pro Shops and Cabela’s are pet-friendly.
Bass Pro Shops and Cabela’s allows dogs (and cats!) year-round in stores, except where local laws or shopping centers prohibit it. As long as your local store allows it — and your furry friend is on Santa’s Nice List — bring ’em along for a pet photo with Santa!
As of the time I’m writing this, there are only two Bass Pro Shops locations that don’t allow pets:
- Dania Beach, Florida
- Mesa, Arizona
Of course, if your pet appears on the Naughty List or gets stressed out by strangers or other animals, we recommend you stage your holiday photoshoot at home.
Related: Did you know you can bring your dog along to any of these pet-friendly stores?