We set out on a foggy overcast day for the mountain town of Skyforest, just outside of Lake Arrowhead and about 30 miles from Big Bear Lake, in search of winter fun at Santa’s Village. As we weaved through light traffic on the 210 freeway, the entire mountain range of the San Bernardino National Forest was shrouded in clouds. We weren’t sure what would be waiting for us up the mountain – rain, snow or sun! Anticipation began to grow as we climbed our way up the mountainside making our way through the clouds, soon revealing a crisp sunny day ahead. Woo hoo!
Skypark at Santa’s Village is well known by many in Los Angeles for what it once was – a winter wonderland set in the woods. With 18 historic log buildings that have been restored, thousands of indigenous trees replanted and lots of love, Santa’s Village reopened last year after being closed for 20 years. The reopening brought a great deal of media attention, however season 2 looks to be even better.What is Santa’s Village?
Skypark at Santa’s Village is a one of a kind outdoor adventure park that is fueled by body powered entertainment. The goal of the park is to get people outdoors, embracing entertainment and all that nature has to offer. Open throughout the year, the park is well known for it’s biking trails, hiking, fishing and more. However, as the holidays approach, the park is transformed around the theme of Santa, with Christmas themed decorations set amongst a wintery wonderland of adventure activities. It’s quite a unique setting providing a large variety of activities geared towards families, but also attracting singletons from all over Southern California with the very popular mountain biking trail and a zip line.
Almost all of the ‘rides’ and entertainment at Skypark at Santa’s Village are powered by the human body. This concept is really a unique aspect to the park that sets it apart and makes this outdoor loving family super happy! In general, the attractions at the park can be split up by shows/entertainment and physical activity. For a small park, there is a decent amount of entertainment happening during the day. You will be hard pressed to make all of the shows and do all of the activities in one day, so check out the map in advance to plan out your day.
During the holiday season there are a several shows focused on the theme of the North Pole and the holidays. The schedule changes daily, so make sure to check out the listing of what is on during your visit. But overall, the following entertainment/shows occur most days.
- Stories of the Northwoods
- Story of Arrow (the adorable white dog seen throughout Santa’s Village) and Santa
- Magic Show with Wacko the elves favorite magician
- Meet & Greet with various characters
- Tree lighting with Santa and Friends
- Santa’s Workshop Crafts (Crafts are additional, however you can write a letter to Santa for free)
- Gold Mining (for a fee)
- Cookie decorating (for a fee)
- Photos with Santa (Professional photos are extra, however, it’s free to take your own)
The only non body powered ride at the park is the Polar Express Train ride that takes visitors on a short little loop of the park, literally a few minutes! Other than that, all other attractions require visitors to be actively engaged in what they are doing. From the bicycle powered Arrow’s Adventure to climbing the ice tower and shooting arrows, your body will be engaged. Below are the activities currently operating at Skypark for the 2018 season.
- Serrano Archery Range
- Blitzen Bungee
- Adventure Zip lines
- Frozen Falls Climbing Tower
- Magic Tree Bouldering Room (rock climbing)
- Strider Balance Bike Trail (for the under 5 group)
- Adventure Bike Trails
- Discovery Playscape with a mini zip line
- Fantasy Forest Trail (hiking)
- Silver Bells Ice Skating Pond
For outdoor families this is a wonderful concept with so many great options for outdoor fun. Families can go hiking or biking on the established trails in the back part of the park or they can stay focused on the other engaging activities.
My son loved them all. He had always been too scared of rock climbing but decided to give a few tries in the awesome bouldering room as his practice space, before moving on to the 30 foot “ice” climbing tower. His absolute favorite activities were archery and the Blitzen Bungee. Regardless, it is a fun day out for families looking to be outdoors and soak up the Christmas spirit.
What to Know Before You Go
- As Santa’s Village is in the mountains, the weather can be unpredictable. It is advised to dress in layers and to bring rain/snow gear just in case things get wild!
- Most activities are free at the park once you enter except where mentioned above. Bicycle rentals and ice skate rentals are also extra.
- Food options are pretty limited, however the options that are available are quite tasty. There is a cafe and a full service restaurant.
- Your wristband is your pass to the park and can be used to purchase Santa photos.
- As ‘ride’ duration is decided by employees at the time, ride timings can vary significantly. This is great if you visit on a slow day which means you might get longer times on the rides, but during the busiest days, expect long waits and short ride times.
- There are child height, weight and/or age requirements for the different rides (For example the zip line you must be 60 lbs to ride)
- Every visitor must complete a waiver before entering the park. This can be done online before your visit.
Holiday passes to the park, purchased online in advance, are $59 for adults and $49 for children 3 and above. When purchased at the door, prices are $65 for adults and $55 for children.
Skypark at Santa’s Village is open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on the weekdays with longer hours on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. The park will close at 3pm on Thanksgiving Day and will be closed on Christmas. Otherwise, they are open now until Jan. Our recommendation is to go during the week if you can before all of the schools let out! This way you will maximize your time and be able to fit in much more of the park’s activities.
Check out our day in video form!
Have you been to Santa’s Village in the past or since it’s newly opened? Let us know your thoughts!
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