Tuesday, June 28, 2011

You can't go home again; I miss you Santa's Village!!!!!!!

Mention Santa's Village to anyone who grew up in the Chicagoland area, and you'll most likely see a big smile spread across their face. Santa's Village was THE place you begged your parents to take you when you were little. Not only was it a kid-friendly amusement park opened all summer long, but it was SANTA themed! Candy canes, reindeer, ice cream. Joy of joys!

Images via Theme Park Review. It's a really weird website.

But all good things come to an end, and, after a large drop in attendance, it closed in 2006. Here is the tragic story of Santa's Village, as told by Wikipedia:

Santa's Village was a theme park that operated in East Dundee, Illinois from 1959 to 2006. The buildings were modeled on what an average child might imagine Santa's Village would look like...The unsuccessful launch of the "Typhoon" roller coaster, decreased attention to the aesthetics of the park and a decline of patrons eventually prompted the corporation to sell. The sale did not proceed as smoothly as hoped and with many setbacks and unmet deadlines the park had to shut its doors. In August 2006, the park announced its permanent closure.
This was my favorite ride. Mostly because I was (and still am) afraid of just about all theme park rides, and this one was pretty tame. And I liked sitting in something that looked like a doughnut.

Well, this year Santa's Village came back in some weird mish mash park that include something called Paintball Explosion and Azoosementpark. I never gave much thought to actually going to check it out, but the in-laws wanted to go with my husband's niece and nephew, so off we went.

It was probably one of the most depressing things I've ever seen.

Not only is the "amusement park" about a quarter the size, but there are now maybe a dozen rides built only for very small children. The park is clean, but it looks extremely old and worn. And there is a very strange collection of sad looking "exotic" animals. There were two turtles literally attacking each other! We had to call the zoo staff to break them up!

I guess if you're looking for something to do with a few five-year-olds on a summer afternoon, you could take them here. (P.S. admission is $16.50 for anyone over three.) Otherwise, don't bother tainting your fond memories.


  1. I remember Santa's Village, Racing Rapids used to be the big attraction for me, Six Flags didn't have a water park back in those days :D

  2. Funny that you wrote about this yesterday -- today there's a Groupon for paintballing at Santa's Village.

  3. Oh no, no more Santa :( Well, if you are feeling really sad, I just went over to my local craft store, and they were ALREADY putting up Christmas stuff. Maybe that will hold you over, lol