Jim Steinberg has posted over at the San Bernardino Sun about the much anticipated re-opening of Santa’s Village. Some of you young folks may not know what Santa’s Village is, as it closed back in 1998. from Wikipedia:
Santa’s Village was a winter-themed amusement park in the Skyforest section of Lake Arrowhead, California. Opened in 1955, it was the first franchised amusement park, one of three built by developer Glenn Holland. The others, also defunct, were in Scotts Valley, California and East Dundee, Illinois.
Opening more than a month before Disneyland, the 220-acre park was one of Southern California’s biggest tourist attractions. It boasted kiddie rides, including a bobsled, monorail, and Ferris wheel; a petting zoo; live reindeer; and shops that included a bakery, candy kitchen, and toy shop.
Reduced attendance and revenue shortfalls caused the park to close on March 1, 1998. The property sold three years later for $5.6 million, and served as a staging area for local logging operations. The faded candy cane signpost and dilapidated buildings became a ghost town along the Rim of the World Highway.
I have many fond memories of Santa’s Village, although my parents only took me a few times. I remember the trip being long, arduous, and – to a child – certainly SEEMED like we were traveling all the way from Dana Point, CA to the North Pole. It was, after all, an hour and a half drive!
From the SB Sun:
Skypark at Santa’s Village, an ambitious remake of the long-closed but still remembered Santa’s Village, will open on Aug. 1, its project manager said this week.
“This is a monumental undertaking,” said Bill Johnson, whose vision for the 153-acre site covers every activity from fly fishing to weddings. “This will be a year-round recreation center for the entire family.”
Johnson gave an update on his project at the Lake Arrowhead Municipal Advisory Council Thursday night.
To make that “incredibly ambitious” opening date, Johnson said he would need the approvals of myriad state and federal agencies plus San Bernardino County.
“Let’s keep Aug. 1 in our minds” he told the council and members of the public inside Lake Arrowhead’s Fire Station 91.
A sign posted on the Santa’s Village property, which is in the mountain community of Skyforest, said it would be opening next month..
In addition to being able to buy Christmas decorations and other items on a year-round basis, the attraction will feature mountain biking, Zip lines, hiking, fly-fishing lessons, trout fishing, climbing walls and camping,
“This will be a mixed-use adventure park for the whole family,” he said.
While adults and small children may have liked Santa’s Village, “teenagers were bored,” Johnson said, adding that his concept remedies that.
Johnson said that on weekends employment would run in the “two hundreds.”
“We are going to have a giant HR (human resources) department,” Johnson said, because elements of the park will be open from 8 a.m. until 10 p.m., meaning there will be multiple shifts of some 200 employees.
Some of the other activities will include an area where children can play in treehouses, use swings attached to trees and a restaurant, Johnson said.
You can read the whole article HERE.