My family’s visit to Santa’s Village was complimentary, including admission, some activities, and some meals. All opinions are 100% my own. Click here for full disclosure statement.
I recently visited Santa’s Village Amusement Park in East Dundee, Illinois, with my family. I remember visiting the amusement park with my parents when I was a kid. So, it’s rather special to be able to bring my own children there now. During my visit, I posted photos to social media, documenting the fun we were having. I received several comments from local friends who could not believe – and did not know – that Santa’s Village was still around. Well, folks, Santa’s Village is still in operation and, with recent additions, just might be better than ever.
Santa’s Village celebrates 60th anniversary
When the park first opened in 1959, the vision was to bring joy to local families with Christmas-themed attractions. That same festive spirit is still present today amidst the 24 rides, exotic-animal exhibits, live entertainment, and more. As for the rides, there are thrillers like the Super Cyclone Coaster, family classic rides like the Tilt-A-Whirl, and kiddie rides like The Little Boat Ride. A day at Santa’s Village is outrageous fun for everyone, but for those like me who visited as kids, there is also that element of nostalgia. Local families might also remember the Kiddieland amusement park that closed back in 2009. Another park with extreme sentimental value, many were saddened by the news of Kiddieland ceasing operations. Some of that sadness subsided, though, when Santa’s Village announced that some of Kiddieland’s rides would live on in East Dundee. Seeing my kids at Santa’s Village on those Kiddieland rides, that I remember riding as a kid with my siblings, just warms my heart.
Of course, the rides are a major draw, but there is so much more happening at Santa’s Village. The park is home to more than 200 animals, birds, and fish. Some species, like the wallabies, come from faraway lands, while others can be found locally. One of my favorite stops is Old McDonald’s Barn. It’s where visitors can get up close and (very) personal with goats and sheep. Feed cups are available at the barn for an additional fee. Just a word of caution especially for the smallest visitors: the animals have been conditioned to expect food from guests when they enter the pen. Therefore, some of the goats can be a bit aggressive. They will jump and push other animals out of the way. It can be scary for younger children.
What’s new at Santa’s Village
Santa’s Village is celebrating its 60th anniversary with the opening of Santa Springs later this summer. Santa Springs is an interactive water play attraction within the amusement park. As temperatures are beginning to rise, Santa Springs will be the perfect place for families to cool down and have fun splashing around.
There are also new dining options this year. While the same dining favorites, like Mrs. Claus’ Kitchen and Route 66 Grill, are still operating, exciting items have been added to the menus. Under the guidance of new head chef Mark Stutz, park visitors can now enjoy innovative creations like South of the Border Street Corn and Pork Chop on a Stick. Classic amusement park favorites, like pizza, burgers, and chicken tenders, are still on the menus, as well.
My family’s day at Santa’s Village
Mother Nature tried to mess with our day at Santa’s Village earlier this summer. It was a bit cool and rainy but we didn’t let that ruin our fun! What I love most about Santa’s Village is that it’s perfect for families with younger children. There are enough age-appropriate rides for my five-year-old that my 10-year-old also enjoys. And as I mentioned above with the addition of the Kiddieland rides, there are plenty of options for even younger children. On the day of our visit, my 2-year-old niece went on as many rides as her older cousins! Speaking of which, many of the rides are designed to allow groups of kids to all ride together. This way, no one feels left out and groups of friends (or cousins, in our case) can have fun on the rides and make memories together.
Some of our favorites from our most recent visit were…
Kiddieland Space Invasion
Santa’s Village is open daily through late August, and then select weekends through December. Check the Santa’s Village website for exact dates and hours of operation.