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Lake Arrowhead's long-closed Santa's Village is set for a holiday comeback (UPDATED)

Santa's Village
Photograph: Courtesy Santa's Village

Update (11/21/16): The permits for Santa's Village have been approved and an opening date has been set! Starting on December 2 the festive fun will be flowing in Lake Arrowhead.

A visit to the park can include stops by a variety of themed cafes, bakeries and shops, visits to Santa's workshop, rides on the "Polar Express" train, an ice skating pond and other amusements and activities. The truly Christmas-obsessed can even stage a small wedding in the on-site chapel with Santa and Mrs. Claus in attendance. 

The hours, weather allowing, will be 10am to 8pm Sunday through Thursday and 10am to 9pm on Friday and Saturday, and closed on Christmas Day. Tickets can be booked online in advance and run from $49 to $59, though those under 3 or over 80 can enter for free. 



 Six weeks before Disneyland opened in 1955, California got another mid-century kitsch-fest of an amusement park, Santa’s Village. As the name implies, it was a winter wonderland of candy canes, faux-snow chalets and lots of holiday cheer. This winter, as the San Bernardino County Sun reports, a portion of the park is likely to reopen to entertain young and old alike. 

The Lake Arrowhead park has been closed since 1998. In 2014, new owners bought the 200-acre property with the intention of turning it into a new, year-round recreation area, but that project stalled out for a while and is still unlikely to move forward before at least 2017. For this winter, they have applied for a temporary use permit that would let them reopen through the holiday season

Authorities have to weigh in on environmental and other considerations before signing off, but it’s likely that the temporary permits will be approved and it will be ready to open in November. The team at Santa’s Village is already fixing the place up, bringing in a few modern elements and updating the structures to ADA compliance so even more people can enjoy the park’s attractions. For the most part, though, it will be the classic 1955 park that many locals knew and loved. 

“I can’t wait to welcome kids into Santa’s house for the first time in 18 years,” said Bill Priest, who played a Santa at the park before the 1998 closure and has already signed up to put the red suit back on when Santa’s Village reopens. 

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Linda M

Man they sure are charging alot to get in plus charging for parking...RIDICULOUS!!!!

Sarah S

I went when I was like 9 or 10 along with my dad, stepsister and stepmom. That was so much fun with tons of memories too.

Sue C

It was owned by the Henck Family. My grandfather, Henck, a brother to the owner, was called Uncle Ned. We used to go to the puppet show and they would call my two sisters and I by name.  Great memories.  So happy it is reopening. Can't wait to go. 

Conductor Bill H

Awesome ... I was taken there as a youngster and got to take my kids there before it closed.  Just got a grand kid ... hope to continue the tradition!

Shellie W

Just the best christmas adventure ever!!

Joanie M

My grandmother brought me here when I was 4yrs old.(1964) I have brought my children here also...would love to bring my grandkids also.

Annette R

I once went to the Santas Village in The Santa Cruz mountain town of Scotts Valley Ca. It also closed many years ago. It is now a Tech company and parking lot. I will be happy to go to this one when it opens.

Marie C

When will it open...Like the dates? The childhood memories where so much fun!! I love the smell of Christmas, forest, and the fresh air up on the mountains <3

Melinda H

I loved Santa's Village.....lots of cherished memories there as a kid. I'm so glad someone has realized what a treasure it is. I also hope the new owners can get their final project off and running next year........I think it will be successful.

Bonnie L

Love many memories there ..let's go !

John P

I hope they can get approval! It's a remarkable survivor from Mid-Century America, and should be allowed to function! If they're open this Christmas, I'll go!!

Anna S

I have been there quite few times when I was little. I am so glad it's opening up again. I like to bring my grandchildren up there this holiday season. Thank you for re-opening it back up! P.S. I didn't know it was in Lake Arrowhead either.