Monday, December 19, 2016

An abandoned Christmas theme park in Southern California



Santa's Village was a Christmas-themed amusement park that opened its doors in 1955, just 6 weeks before the first Disneyland. Built in the Skyforest section of Lake Arrowhead, it gave Southern California residents a chance to get a glimpse of a 'white Christmas' that would normally be very rare to experience. 

Santa's Village 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. Quickly, the 220-acre (0.89 km²) theme park became one of Southern California's biggest tourist attractions and its owner, developer Glenn Holland, turned it into a franchise, building two similar parks in Scotts Valley, California and East Dundee, Illinois (the East Dundee park reopened in 2011 under new ownership as Santa's Village AZoosment Park).

As years went by, competition became tougher and the park saw reduced attendance and revenue shortfalls. In the late 1970's the park went bankrupt. The Henck Family which owned the land took it over, expanded it and run it until it closed down on March 1, 1998. Three years later the park was sold for $5.6 million, and served as a staging area for local logging operations. The rides remained abandoned forming a ghost town along the Rim of the World Highway. The property was sold again in June 2014 to an owner who plans to operate it as a year-round tourist destination called SkyPark at Santa's Village. The new park opened on December 2, 2016. 



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