Santa's Village AZoosment Park

Santa's Village Amusement & Water Park (formerly known and colloquially referred to this day as simply Santa's Village) is a theme park 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 intended to be the flagship 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.

Santa's Village Amusement & Water Park
Previously known as Santa's Village (1959–2005)
Worlds of Fun (1972)
Entrance sign of Santa's Village
Location601 Dundee Ave
East Dundee, Illinois, U.S.
Coordinates42°05′27″N 88°15′35″W / 42.0907°N 88.2598°W / 42.0907; -88.2598
OpenedMay 30, 1959 (as Santa's Village)
May 27, 2011 (as Azoosment Park)
OwnerA Zoo To You (2011–present)
SloganDiscover exciting rides, slides, animal attractions and more at Santa’s Village Amusement & Water Park, the place for FUN. FAMILY. MEMORIES.
Operating seasonMay – October
Roller coasters2
Water rides11

The park operated as Santa's Village from 1959 until 2006, when it closed. Five years later, after extensive rehabilitation, the park reopened 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. To avert legal feuds with other parks with similar names, the name was changed again to Three Worlds of Santa's Village. In 2021, the park updated its name to Santa's Village Amusement & Water Park.

About the park edit

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.

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.[citation needed]

History edit

1959–2006 edit

The park opened on May 30, 1959.[1] 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, circled a pier and returned.

Three Worlds (1972–2006) edit

In 1972, the park was purchased by the Medina Investors, who renamed it Worlds of Fun. However, to preclude involvement in trademark-infringing lawsuits with amusement parks employing the exact name, 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 attractions such as Santa's House, where visitors could 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 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.

In 1983, the park owners added Racing Rapids Action Park to the north end of Santa's Village.[2]

Although the parks were connected, there were separate admission gates to either one. A combination ticket was available at either park that would permit visitors to enter both parks that day. Both parks had separate parking lots.

Water Park (1983–2006) edit

The water park Racing Rapids was the water park attached to the north side of Santa's Village AZoosment Park.[3] 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. The water park reopened for its full season in 2021 under the name Santa Springs.

Ride Year opened Description
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

Closure (2006) edit

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.[4]

Reopening (2011) edit

Paintball Explosion opened on half of the site of the original Santa's Village on April 30, 2011. Paintball Explosion converted the existing Polar Dome ice rink into an indoor paintball field. Paintball Explosion built six 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 park's website, it included two rides from the now-defunct 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 edit

Roller coasters edit

Ride Manufacturer Model Year opened Details Ref
Super Cyclone Roller Coaster Interpark Super Cyclon 2017 A Zyklon/Galaxi-type roller coaster. [5]
Wacky Worm Fajume Wacky Worm 2015 A Wacky Worm-type roller coaster relocated from Old Town in Kissimmee, Florida (2008–2014). [6][7][8]
Farmer's Fling SBF Rides SBF Visa 2021 An SBF Visa family roller coaster. The coaster has four cars with four riders each. The front two cars are designed to look like pigs, while the back two cars are designed to look like cows.

Rides & attractions edit

Ride Manufacturer Model Year opened Details Ref
Alaskan Railway Train 2015 Replaced Reindeer Ridge. Travels through animal exhibits. [7][8]
Azoosment Country Carousel Carousel
Balloon Race Zamperla Balloon Race 1992
Blizzard SBF Visa Group Frisbee 2021
Ding 'em Dodge 'em Bumper Cars Bumper Cars
Kiddieland Midge-O-Racers Eyerly Aircraft Company 2011 A Carousel ride. Formerly located at Kiddieland Amusement Park as Race-A-Bouts. [9]
Kiddieland Space Invasion
KiddieLand's Roto-Whip Roto-Whip 2011 Formerly located at Kiddieland Amusement Park as Whip. [9]
Kringle's Convoy 1988 A Convoy Ride by Zamperla.
Little Boat Ride
Mega Velocity Eli Bridge Company Scrambler 2016
Mighty Mate
Miner's Run Pedal Cars 2011 [9]
Pirate's Revenge Swinging Ship 2023 Swinging Ship ride. Replaced the Viking Sea Dragon
Pony Go Round Carousel (Live Ponies)
Route 66 Cruisers Arrow Development Antique Cars
Santa's Tree House Slide 1959 Formerly known as Tree House Slide
Snowball Ride
Star Jets
SVFD Engine No. 4 Version 4 of the fire engine ride, where riders put out a fire on a working fire truck
Tilt-A-Whirl Sellner Manufacturing Tilt-A-Whirl 2011 Formerly located at Fun Spot Amusement Park & Zoo. [8][9]
Tri-Nado HUSS Troika 2015 Formerly located at Fun Spot Amusement Park & Zoo. [7]
Viking Sea Dragon Swinging Ship 2011–2022 A pirate ship ride by Chance Morgan. Formerly located at Fun Spot Amusement Park & Zoo
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
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.
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
Scales and Tails 2011 Formerly known as Mill Wheel Workshop

Other venues edit

Venue Year opened Description
Aviary 1959 Formerly known as Christmas Around the World Post Office
Birthday Party
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
Main Stage
Midway Games

Food and beverages edit

Venue Year opened Description
Picnic Area Formerly known as Reindeer Glen Picnic Grove.
Arctic Circle Ice Cream Shop 2011 Formerly known as Mrs. Claus's Candy Kitchen (1959–?).
Picnic Pavilion
Ginger Bread Cafe 2011 Formerly known as The Gingerbread House (1959–?).
Reindeer Ridge / Beer Garden Formerly known as Wee Puppet Theater/Hoffbrau House
Subway 2015–2017

List of former attractions edit

List of former attractions
Ride Year Opened Year Closed Description
Alpine Room 1967 Lounge in the Polar Dome.
Amphicar Amphibious Car that went through the pond.
Antique Cars 1962 2006 Antique car ride
Astro-liner Motion Simulator by Wisdom Industries. A rocket ship that simulated a space mission.
Bumble Bee ride
Bumper Cars Had two types of Bumper Cars. In the 1970s, it was designed to resemble a racetrack and was known as the Dundee Zizzler 500 Raceway.
Burro Ride 1959 Children could ride on a live burro through the forest.
Candy Cane Coaster 1964 1966
Candy Cane Slide Circular slide.
Cannon Ball 1986 Roller Coaster replaced by the Dragon Coaster.
Chapel of the Little Shepard 1959 A small all faith chapel that reflected on children's bible stories through small exhibits.
Cinderella's Pumpkin Coach 1959 A life-size coach that guests could ride in that was pulled by miniature white ponies. The turn-a-round area contained a static display of Prince Charming's Castle.
Christmas Around the World Post Office 1959 A large building that housed many exhibits and services such as an actual post office, letter writing to Santa, exhibit windows of the celebrations of Christmas around the world, a souvenir counter, guest services, and rest rooms. Offices were located on the second floor.
The Christmas Tree ride 1959 1992 A giant whirling tree teacup ride where guests could ride in a Christmas ornament that would go up and down with the pull of a lever. Replaced by the Balloon Ride.
Circus Wagon Trolley Ride
The Doll House 1959 Doll shop with dolls from around the world.
The Easter Bunny's Hut 1959 Large egg shaped house where kids could take pictures with the Easter Bunny.
Dragon Coaster 1986 2006 A Powered roller coaster by Zamperla. Also known as Dracor, the Dragon Coaster (1986–1994). Now located at Vertical Endeavors in Warrenville, Illinois.
Dragon Coaster 2011 10/30/2016 A family coaster by Wisdom Rides. Relocated from Go Bonkers Now in Arlington Heights, Illinois at Rexo Coaster (2000-2010). Opening at Joyland Amusement Park in Lubbock, Texas in 2017 [10]
English Rotor Spinning Rotor Ride
Fire Truck Ride 197? 2006 Trolley pulled by a fire truck. Riders use working fire hoses to put out fires along the route.
Fire Chief 2006 Crazy Bus ride
Frog Hopper 2006 Drop Tower
Galaxi 1987 1996 Roller Coaster by S.D.C. Sold to a park in Mexico.
Galleon 2006 A pirate ship ride by Zamperla.
Gas powered tractors 1959 Actual small tractors that children could drive.
Giant Slide
Gingerbread House 1959 An actual working bakery that featured gingerbread cookies and baked goods. Large windows allowed guests to watch as "Pixies" made the sweet treats. The Gingerbread House was also home to the "Good Witch" and the "Lollipop Lady". Right behind the outside fireplace, children could accompany the "Lollipop Lady" and pick a sucker from the lollipop tree.
Great Wheel 1995 2006 Ferris Wheel bought by Grizzly Jack's Grand Bear Resort.
Hampton Ride 2006
The Himalaya 2006
Igloo 1959 A small concrete igloo that originally served small ice cream novelties.
Kiddie Kars 2006
Jack in the Box 1959 A snow cone stand that looked like its name.
Lil' Stinger 2006
The Magic Train 1959 1961 A small train ride around a fairy tale themed area. Removed for Antique Cars.
Merry-Go-Round 1966 2006
Mill Wheel Workshop 1959 An artisan's shop that also sold manufactured toys.
Mrs. Claus’ Candy Kitchen 1959 A large building that was a candy shop that sold hand-dip chocolates and hard candies. Mrs. Claus was on hand each day to supervise.
Old Engine 99 1964 1966
Paddle Boats Paddle boats in the pond
Pixie Pantry 1959 The Park's largest eating facility that served sit down meals cafeteria style in the main section and hamburgers, hotdogs, and typical fast food through a walk-up window.
Pixie Press Trained animals working a printing press. Children could subscribe to the news print and have it delivered to their homes.
Polar Dome 1963 2006 Ice Skating Rink. Originally had a forced-air dome roof that measured 87 feet from the ice surface. The dome was replaced by a flat roof in 1966 after a storm damaged it.
Pony Carts 1966 1987 Replaced by the Convoy Ride.
Reindeer Barn 1959 Santa's reindeer actually lived in the barn. There were eight stalls and at the north end of the barn, "Inky" the reindeer, along with his friends "Peck" the chicken and "Hunt" the duck printed the Park's official newspaper, The Pixie Press.
Rock Spin 'N Roll 2006
Rollo Plane A Roll-O-Plane by Eyerly Aircraft Company. Nicknamed the Salt and Pepper Shakers.
Santa's Express 1962 2006 Train ride added in 1962 to replace The Magic Train. Replaced the CP Huntington Train with a new Amtrak train in 1994.
Santa's Gift Shop 1959 One of the largest buildings in the Park, the shop was divided into three sections, toys for children, gifts for mom and dad, and a Christmas shop.
Skyliner 2006 Chair lift
Snowball Express 1985 Roller Coaster by Allan Herschell Company. Located at Dorney Park & Wildwater Kingdom in Allentown, Pennsylvania, as Steel First until 2010.
Snowball Ride 1962 2006 Teacup ride now located at Grizzly Jack's Grand Bear Resort.
Space Ships 2006
Storybook House 1959 A small shop that handled children's books and souvenirs.
Swiss Toboggan 1971 Roller Coaster by Chance Morgan.
Tarantula Spider ride
The Toy Soldier 1959 A giant toy drum with a tall toy soldier on top that was actually a "duck pond game" with little toy boats instead of rubber ducks.
Typhoon Archived 2010-10-17 at the Wayback Machine 1997 2006 Roller Coaster by Top Fun. Bought by Ray Cammack Show company a traveling carnival operator based in Arizona for $250,000.
Wee Puppet Theatre 1959 Daily hand and marionette puppet shows in an indoor theatre.
Wipeout 1992 2006 Spin ride
Wishing Well 1959 A small outdoor seated area where folks could relax and children could drop pennies into a well for a secret wish.
Woodanimals 1959 Large wood log sculptures that children can sit and climb on.
Worlds Largest Christmas Stocking 1959 A large stocking that was raffled off.
The Yo-yo 1990 2006 Swing Ride by Chance Morgan.

|- |Xtreme Elevation |2015 |2023 |Drop Tower By ARM |}

In popular culture edit

  • In the movie The Christmas Chronicles 2, Santa possibly references the amusement park when introducing the main characters to the real Santa's Village.

See also edit

References edit

  1. ^ "Santa's Village Theme Parks Website - Santa Claus Phil's Goodbye".
  2. ^ Racing Rapids Action Park
  3. ^ "Racing Rapids". Archived from the original on 2006-12-30. Retrieved 2007-03-19.
  4. ^ "Santa's Village Theme Parks Website - Dundee, IL".
  5. ^ "Super Cyclone - Santa's Village AZoosment Park (Dundee, Illinois, United States)".
  6. ^ "Wacky Worm - Santa's Village AZoosment Park (Dundee, Illinois, United States)".
  7. ^ a b c Alleman, Annie (August 28, 2015). "Summer's last gasp". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved November 9, 2019.
  8. ^ a b c Alleman, Annie (May 15, 2015). "Santa's Village offers new rides for new season". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved November 9, 2019.
  9. ^ a b c d Mann, Leslie (June 9, 2011). "Santa's Village gets new life with animals". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved November 10, 2019.
  10. ^ "Dragon Coaster - Santa's Village AZoosment Park (Dundee, Illinois, United States)".

External links edit