The original Santa’s Village opened in 1955, six weeks before Disneyland, near the mountain resort of Lake Arrowhead. For years, it thrived as a year-round destination for families, with horse-drawn coach rides, a monorail, free-roaming reindeer, and tours of Santa’s house and workshop.
Bankruptcy, a destructive 2003 wildfire, and its misguided use as a logging site all eventually contributed to its demise, and the property sat abandoned for years.
New owners took over in 2016 and added mountain biking trails to the 230-acre property. As locals themselves, they opted to keep the Christmas village layout when they realized how it triggered treasured childhood memories for many southern Californians.
Now it is known as Sky Park at Santa’s Village – a one-of-a-kind business model that combines kids’ activities like pedal cars and mini-train rides with an outdoor adventure theme that includes ax-throwing, fly fishing, and ziplining. Giant candy-cane street lamps and gingerbread houses line the main thoroughfare, and it’s not unusual to see cyclists changing a tire on astroturf beneath a giant Christmas tree as stroller-pushing parents stream by on their way to the Magic Tree bouldering room or the Silver Bells skating rink. Old amusement park rides from the park’s earlier days are scattered on either side of the bike trails, and there is a figure-eight hiking trail that runs through the park. Joyful shouts from exhilarated bikers can be heard
The food options reflect the park’s wide-ranging customer base, ranging from burgers, pit BBQ plates and craft brews to hot chocolate, ginger doodles and ice cream.