A trip to Santa’s Village is sure to be on every boy and girl’s wish list this year, and if you’re a SoCal native filled with nostalgia, it’s on yours, too. Whether you’re looking for a yuletide adventure for the kids, or feeling wistful for your own childhood excursion to the San Bernadino North Pole, then pack your warmest duds and head to Lake Arrowhead for a magical getaway at the newly re-opened (after almost 20 years!) attraction.

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The Story
Closed down in 1998, Santa’s Village nestled in the woods of Lake Arrowhead, had been a fun-filled family destination for Angelenos since 1955. If you grew up in LA, back before you could fast forward through commercials, then you’ll no doubt have the old ad imprinted on your brain. But in case you didn’t here it is:

After almost two decades of laying empty and even suffering through a fire, the park has been restored to it’s original glory, with a few new additions and a new name: Skypark At Santa’s Village.  Now it’s back and ready to make spirits bright for little (and big) Christmas lovers once more with “fun, forest, and fantasy all rolled into one.”

14494734_1029297897182796_6543632287508587546_nphoto: Skypark At Santa’s Village

Playtime North Pole Style
There’s plenty to do and see in the 15-acre village, filled with log-cabin style buildings and plenty of real snow, that will delight your little elves. A whirl on the ice rink, a visit with Santa at his house, a ride on the mini Polar Express, and a trip to the workshop where you can make your own ornaments are some of the cheer-filled activities awaiting Christmas traditionalists.

Santa’s Village has it’s own unique spin on the holidays too, with a pedal-car ride that follows the adventures of Arrow, Santa’s trusty dog, as he tries to retrieve Santa’s Magic Key and save Christmas. There’s also a giant rock climbing tower made to look like a frozen waterfall, a rock climbing room for smaller climbers, a balance bike trail where little riders can test drive the toys for Santa, and a spot where you can mine for gems. And just in case the holiday spirit makes parents feel romantic, there’s also a Chapel where you can get hitched or renew your vows.

Christmas characters, like Santa, his elves and reindeer, will greet excited little fans as you stroll through the park. You can also catch a holiday parade, nightly caroling, and live stage shows with a variety of acts.

santas-village-arrow-adventurephoto: McCue Communications

Sweets And Eats
All that holiday cheer is sure to build up appetites for sugary sweets and other fun treats. You’ll find all kinds of tasty temptations, from giant candy canes and chocolate fudge, to heaping ice cream sundaes served at the old time soda fountain in K’s Kandyshoppe and Creamery. If baked goods are more your mini-foodie’s forte, then head to the Gingerbread House, that looks like it’s built out of gingerbread itself, and gobble up some cookies. On the off chance you want to eat a meal that doesn’t involve icing and sprinkles, grab a bite at St. Nick’s Patio and Grille that serves up family-friendly fare, like burgers and sandwiches, next to roaring fire pits.

santas-village-cookiesphoto: McCue Communications

More Fun To Come
In the effort to get the park open in time for the holidays, there are still a few things in the works that will open in the new year, like an archery range and a giant dump truck-themed playground. Later in the year, other attractions, like the former monorail track, (fans will remember as the Bumble Bee ride) will reopen as a reimagined air-pedal bike ride. There will also be more outdoor adventure-based activities, like hiking and biking trails, a zip line, and fly-fishing.

santas-village-treephoto: McCue Communications

How To Get On The Good List
The park is officially open daily from 10 a.m.–6 p.m. (closed on Christmas Day) for the holiday season through January 8. After that, the park will be open weekends only. Tickets are available to purchase online only, adults are $59, kids age 4-12 are $49, and 3 and under are free.

There are no overnight accommodations at the park, so you’ll need to book a local spot (Lake Arrowhead is the closest place that offers loads of accommodations, though Big Bear isn’t too much farther) in advance if you plan to make a weekend of it. Don’t forget to check the weather and prepare snow chains if needed. Many of the attractions are outdoors so bundle up for cold weather (real cold, not LA-cold).

Now add this to your kiddos memories, and start a new family holiday tradition!

Skypark at Santa’s Village
28950 Highway 18
Online: skyparksantasvillage.com

Do you have fond memories of Santa’s Village?  We’d love to hear about them in the comments!

—Shahrzad Warkentin