Skypark at Santa’s Village is an adventure theme park near Lake Arrowhead. This park, damaged in a fire in 2003, has been restored, preserved, and expanded. Skypark at Santa’s Village offers a variety of rides, trails, events, and activities for the whole family.
All good theme parks have their casts of characters; the ones here include Santa Claus, Mrs. Claus, and a collection of princesses. The park features two restaurants, an ice cream parlor, gift shops, and an Adventure Center bike rental facility to help you explore the trails on this large property.
Santa’s Village was built in 1954, built with “local timber” according to the official site and created a destination that has served some five million visitors since it started.
Santa’s Village wasn’t just a go-to for theme park fun, it also became an important employer in the local area and as the site’s popularity grew, so did the ambitions of the founders. Two similar parks were created elsewhere in California and believe it or not Santa’s Village is said to be the very first theme park franchise in America.
But Santa’s Village has had a bit of trouble along the way; the franchise wound up going bankrupt in the late 70s, was purchased and reopened, running until it closed again in 1998. A new owner decided to give the park another run, restoring old buildings and preserving some of the historic structures on the property.
Come 2003, a major forest fire would damage the site along with some 91,000 acres of burned property as the result of arson in Old Waterman Canyon. While the fire did affect Santa’s Village, local rescue efforts prevented the area from being totally engulfed, saving the Village.
Today Skypark at Santa’s Village has much to offer; there are concerts, rides, parades, bike trails and much more.
This park has an extensive list of attractions including dining and shopping in addition to theme park events and activities. And because the name of this park includes the name “Santa”, the official site for the park reminds that Santa is present year-round in the park on a daily basis except for rare occasions when he is “called to the North Pole”.
There are many things to do here, including biking on the trails, skating at Silver Bells Arena, fly fishing, a bouldering room, ax throwing, a climbing tower, and many other outdoor adventure attractions.
The Northwoods Express train ride is one attraction perfect for families with young children; this four-car electric train travels on a loop through Santa’s Village providing amazing views of many of the important buildings in the area. There is a gemstone mining feature here and you can see the entire history of the Village at Santa’s Workshop Exploratorium, which also features “Santa’s elves sorting mail” and the ability to write your own letter to Santa Claus while you visit.
And the closer you get to having that letter answered, the more tempting it may be to visit the Santa’s House & North Pole attraction, where visitors can “See Santa while he works and prepares for the Big Night”. But if you are planning a November/December visit here to get into the holiday spirit, don’t forget to check the events calendar on the official site to see if there are any live performances that might be tempting once you’ve paid your visit to the North Pole.
Buying tickets to the park means getting “general admission” tickets which include access to rides, performances on the main stage, light shows, and other entertainment. Some activities not covered by the general admission ticket do require “nominal fees” including:
- Bike rental
- Helmet rentals
- Stroller rental
- Wheelchair rentals
- Gemstone mining
- Cookie decorating
- Fly fishing (required for ages 16+)
Tickets aren’t the only option. You can choose to purchase an annual pass, a “lifestyle pass” or a monthly membership. All these options come with their own perks, discounts, and incentives. Kids under three are admitted free and there is a 10% military discount offered.
Hours are typically 10AM to 9PM with some attractions closing earlier than the park’s actual closing time.
Address & Phone:
Skypark At Santa’s Village, 28950 CA-18, Skyforest, CA 92385
No pets are allowed in the theme park. Service animals are permitted “within ADA guidelines” according to the official site. Untrained comfort animals are not allowed unless within ADA guidelines.
When you purchase a ticket, you are not buying an open-ended admission good anytime. Your ticket is good for the specific date purchased. In cases where the park must be closed due to weather or safety issues, you are welcome to select an alternate date if your original date was canceled.
Visitors under 14 must be accompanied by someone 14 years old or older. Bike rentals are limited and offered on a first-come, first served basis. All bikes must be rented in person and no online bike reservation option is offered.
The Do Not Bring list for this facility includes glass containers of any kind, intoxicants of any kind, skateboards, drones, remote controlled devices, weapons, etc.
Guests ARE PERMITTED to bring their own bikes, fishing gear, and safety gear.
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Joe Wallace has been covering real estate, mortgage and financial topics since 1995. His work has appeared on ABC, The Pentagon Channel, Veteran.com plus a variety of print and online publications. He is a 13-year veteran of the United States Air Force and a former reporter for Air Force Television News.