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Wilmington, New York

Santa's Workshop

A hamlet full of permanent Christmas spirit holds one of the earliest theme parks in the United States. 

Christmas never ends in a small town in New York’s Adirondack region. North Pole, New York (which itself is a hamlet within the town of Wilmington, New York) is home to one of the earliest theme parks in the United States.

Santa’s Workshop opened its doors in 1949, and it’s been spreading Christmas cheer for six months of the year ever since. From June through December, visitors can expect to find a bustling group of classic North Pole characters—think elves, reindeer, and of course Santa himself—readying themselves for the holiday season.

Little has changed about the park since it first opened in the 1940s, giving it a retro feel. It lacks the high-tech bells and whistles of newer theme parks, giving it a particular vintage charm.

The park is designed primarily for children, though their adult companions are allowed in as well. Kids can pass time on holiday attractions like the candy cane express train and a peppermint-themed swing. Though adults may be too tall for the rides, they can still enjoy the nostalgic atmosphere.

Visitors can wander through Santa’s village, where they’ll find places like Santa’s house, a bake shop, and the reindeer barn. A highlight tends to be a chat with Tannenbaum the talking tree. Tiny tots, eyes aglow or not, can even have breakfast will Santa during the summer and drop off their holiday wish lists at the post office, which actually works.