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Cheesy Santa-Themed Park Closed In 90s Is Getting An Adult Makeover
Back in the day, there was a cheesy yet endearing Christmas-themed amusement park called Santa's Village in the San Bernardino Mountains where you could basically hang out with Jolly St. Nick and go on a bunch of rides out in the forest. It's been 17 years since it closed down, but now it's getting some new life—this time as a year-round outdoor adventure theme park.
In the '80s and '90s, we used to see the same Santa's Village commercial on repeat on TV in Los Angeles, which promised that you'd also get to go to a petting zoo and see Santa's reindeer during the wintertime. It was no Disneyland by any means, but it still had its own charm:
The problem with Santa's Village, which operated from 1955 to 1998, was that it was a fun place for kids but a snoozefest for everyone else, Bill Johnson, the project manager directing the makeover, told the L.A. Daily News.
And that's why there are a lot of changes in the works for the theme park, which is getting a new name as well—Skypark. There will be updated attractions like ziplining, indoor and outdoor rock climbing, mountain biking trails, and fly-fishing on the 153-acre property. They might add an ice skating rink and have plans to open up the space for woodsy weddings. As for Santa, he'll be getting a makeover, too—he'll be a woodsman...from the North Pole. And the mascot will be a malamute and timberwolf mix named Arrow.
Johnson says he hopes to open Skypark on Aug. 1, though he thinks it might an ambitious plan to get everything ready by then. When Santa's Village shuttered in the late '90s, many of its decorations and attractions were sold off, according to the Press Enterprise. The property had been leased by a lumber company that used the space to house logs and operate a saw mill.
However, Johnson released this YouTube video last spring showing that the old Santa's Village buildings are still intact and they're working on restorations. Apparently there will be a lot of bicycle-riding happening at Skypark, too.