Santa's Village AZoosment Park
Entrance sign of Santa's Village
|Location||East Dundee, Illinois, U.S.|
|Owner||2011–present A Zoo to You, Inc
1978–2006 North Pole Corp.
1972–1978 Medina Investors
1966–1972 Everding management
1959–1966 Glen Holland, Santa’s Village Corporation of California
|Opened||May 27, 2011
Original opening 1959
|Previous names||Santa's Village (1959–2006)
Worlds of Fun (1972)
AZoosment Park (2011)
|Operating season||May – October|
|Website||Santa's Village AZoosment Park|
Santa's Village AZoosment Park is the current name of the re-opened theme park, formerly known simply as Santa's Village, in East Dundee, Illinois. It was originally built by Glenn Holland, who also built two other Santa's Villages, in California; one located in San Bernardino County and the other in Santa Cruz County.The Illinois park, the third to be built, was projected to be the hub of a chain of Santa's Villages across the country. However, parks planned for Richmond, Virginia and Cherry Hill, New Jersey, were never built, and the park in East Dundee became the last of its kind.
The park operated as Santa's Village from 1959 until 2006, when it closed. After extensive rehabilitation, it re-opened in 2011 under new ownership. Renamed Santa's Village Azoosment Park because of the shared focus on both rides and animals, the Azoosment Park has nearly twenty rides and attractions, and hundreds of exotic and farm animals in an interactive environment. For a short time in 1972 the park was named Worlds of Fun. Because of confusion with other parks with similar names, the name was changed again to Three Worlds of Santa's Village.
About the park
The buildings were modeled on what an average child might imagine Santa's Village would look like. When it opened, it was a very prominent theme park. Over the park's history more than 20 million people passed through the front gates.
One addition to the park, opened in 1963, was the "Polar Dome" which provided an ice skating and hockey venue under a forced-air supported dome. On November 28, 1966, a strong wind caused the "Polar Dome" to collapse. The dome was then replaced by a flat cedar roof, although the name of the venue was not changed.
During the 1960s, the park featured short Amphicar rides, which simply drove the riders about 100 feet (30 m) to the edge of a small lake, then out about another 100 feet, circling a pier, and returning to land.
In 1983 the park owners added Racing Rapids Action Park to the north end of Santa's Village.
Although the parks were connected, there were separate admission gates to either one. A combination ticket was available at either park that would permit you to enter both parks that day. Both parks had separate parking lots.
Initially, rides were purchased individually with colored coins that allowed riders so much time on the attractions. Admission to the park was free. This was eventually abandoned for a one-price admission policy with access to all rides, a model that continued until the end of the park's life.
Three Worlds (1972–2006)
In 1972, the park was purchased by the Medina Investors, who renamed it Worlds of Fun. Because of confusion with other park names, they renamed it again to the Three Worlds of Santa's Village.
- Santa's World This was the original area and focal point of the park. It was located north of the Polar Dome. It had attraction such as Santa's House, where you can get a picture with Santa, The North Pole, a Live Theater, Frog Hopper, Balloon Ride, Snowball Ride, Giant Slide, Convoy, Train, and the Dragon Coaster.
- Old McDonald's Farm This replaced the Reindeer Barn and consolidated all of the roaming animals to one spot in the park. It had attractions such as the Pony Ride, Petting Zoo, and Animal Pens where the animals were stored at night. The animals were sold in 2004 before the park closed in 2006.
- Coney Island This was the southern area of the park and last to be developed. It had many attractions such as Tilt-a-whirl, The Yo-yo, Himalaya, Galleon Ship, Bumble bee, and the Magic Show. This area is now occupied by Paintball Explosion.
Water Park (1983–2006)
The water park Racing Rapids was the water park attached to the north side Santa's Village. When it opened, it was one of the first in the midwest and the largest in Illinois. It was closed with the park in 2006. Plans to reopen the water park in 2011 was not planned, and as of 2014 it remained closed. In 2015, the water park was under demolition.
|Twister Tube Slide||Two-person tube slide|
|Slidewinder's Slides||One-person body slides|
|Bumper Boats||located in a medium size pool which had fountain in the center of it.|
|Lazy River||A continuous 450-foot-long (140 m) 42-inch-deep (1,100 mm) pool|
The unsuccessful launch of the "Typhoon" roller coaster, decreased attention to the aesthetics of the park, and a decline of patrons eventually prompted the corporation to sell. The sale did not proceed as smoothly as hoped and, with many setbacks and unmet deadlines, the park had to shut its doors.
In August 2006, the park announced its permanent closure. Most of the rides and fixtures were auctioned in October 2006.
Paintball Explosion opened on half of the site of the original Santa's Village on April 30, 2011. Paintball Explosion converted the existed Polar Dome ice rink into an indoor paintball field. Paintball Explosion built 6 outdoor fields within the existing park, reusing many of the outdoor structures.
Azoosmentpark opened on May 27 on the other half of original Santa's Village property. They feature various attractions and rides, while also providing exotic pets on exhibit.
According to the website http://www.santasvillagedundee.com, the park will now include two rides from the now demolished Kiddieland Amusement Park. Those rides are the Midge-O-Racers and the Kiddie Whip Ride. Some of the original Santa's Village rides have also been restored to working order. 2013 saw several new additions including a roller coaster.
Lists of attractions
|Dragon Coaster||2011||A tire-driven family coaster by Wisdom Rides. Formerly located at Go Bonkers Now as Rexo Coaster (20002010).|
|Wildcat Roller Coaster||2014|
Rides & attractions
|Balloon Race||1992||A Balloon Race ride by Zamperla. Formerly located at Fun Spot Amusement Park & Zoo.|
|The Convoy||1988||A Convoy Ride by Zamperla.|
|Deer Feeding Area|
|Exotic Animal Show|
|Horse Sleigh Ride||1959||Formerly known as Candy Cane Sleigh (1959–2006).|
|Kiddie Ferris Wheel||2011||Formerly located at Fun Spot Amusement Park & Zoo.|
|Kidbuck$ Gameshow||An interactive game show where kids win tokens that they can use in the arcade. Hosted by Balster Magic Productions. Formerly known as Santa's Snowstorm Game Show|
|Kiddie Whip Ride||2011||Roto-whip ride formerly located at Kiddieland Amusement Park as Whip.|
|Koi Pond||Formerly known as Silver Slipper Pond (1959?) and Magic Pond.|
|Balster's Sheer Magic Show||2011||Magic show hosted by Balster Magic Productions. Formerly known as Christmas Magic Review.|
|Midge-O-Racers||2011||A Carousel ride by Eyerly Aircraft Company Formerly located at Kiddieland Amusement Park as Race-A-Bouts.|
|Petting Zoo||2011||Formerly known as Reindeer Barn (1959–1971), Old McDonald's Farm (1972–2006)|
|Santa's House||1959||Where you can meet and take pictures with Santa|
|Santa's Slide||1959||Formerly known as Tree House Slide|
|Sea Dragon||2011||A pirate ship ride by Chance Morgan. Formerly located at Fun Spot Amusement Park & Zoo.|
|Scales and Tails||2011||Formerly known as Mill Wheel Workshop|
|Tilt-A-Whirl||Flat ride by Sellner Manufacturing. Formerly located at Fun Spot Amusement Park & Zoo.|
|Aviary||1959||Formerly known as Christmas Around the World Post Office|
|Face Painting & Tattoo||2011||Talented artist can stencil a temporary airbrushed tattoo or freestyle faces.|
|Frozen North Pole||1959||Frozen Pole of ice located by Santa's House. Originally located in the North Pole Plaza|
Food & beverages
|Picnic Area||Formerly known as Reindeer Glen Picnic Grove.|
|Arctic Circle Ice Cream Shop||2011||Formerly known as Mrs. Claus's Candy Kitchen (1959-?).|
|Ginger Bread Cafe||2011||Formerly known as The Gingerbread House (1959-?).|
|Reindeer Ridge / Beer Garden||Formerly known as Wee Puppet Theater/Hoffbrau House|
List of former attractions
- Santa's Village Official Site
- Santa's Village Official Facebook Site
- Image of Americas - Santa's Village ISBN 978-0-7385-4149-5
- Santa's Village Gone Wild - Tales of Summer Fun, Hijinx, and Debauchery as Told by Those Who Worked There ISBN 978-0-9844-5390-0
- Santa's Village Gone Wild Book Website
- Santa's Village Fan Page
- Santa's Village AZoosment Park at the Roller Coaster DataBase
- Paintball Explosion's Official Site
- TV commercials at The Museum of Classic Chicago Television