Highly Recommended ***** If you are seeking a truly fun place for a family outing, and the kids in your family are under 10, there is no greater place than Santa’s Village Azoosment Park in East Dundee, Illinois. Yes, this is what used to be Santa’s Village, the incredible “kiddie Park” that included rides for all ages, a water park and a wonderful “zoo in the park”, along with picnic groves that were great for family outings, reunions and birthday parties. Many hear that is was closed and gone. Well, it did close, but has re-opened and each year has grown stronger and stronger. While the water park is long gone and so are the remnants of those days, the park itself keeps adding new attractions and each year, as we hit July, we pack up our grand-kids and head out on Dundee Road (aka Route 68) west to Route 25, and head South to the fun and games of this park of memories for myself, my kids and now, my grandkids.
Adam is off at Summer camp, but will be back in August and after hearing about the Wacky Worm (roller-coaster), Xtreme Elevation and the Wildcat Roller Coaster, this ten year old feels that he may still be able to enjoy a summer afternoon with his sisters, Sarah and Rebecca who truly enjoyed today’s visit as we began the Fourth Of July holiday week-end. I had heard that the park was fairly quiet on the holiday week-end in years past (and I really mean years past), but wonder of wonder, today there was a nice crowd. I have a feeling that some of the staff either called in sick or were cut in hours, but as it turned out, a few more staff people , in particular at the dining spots, would have made for a more memorable experience for those who were at this park for the first time.
Changes were made, and we had a problem finding our favorite funnel cakes. We did so at the very close of the day (they closed at 5 p.m. today, so we missed out). Perhaps management might consider using the daylight hours that we have and take advantage of the good weather days, by keeping hours that are more weather adaptable. After all, people who take the long ride out to East Dundee, from the city for example, even knowing that they are scheduled would, once they really start enjoying the experience, like to take advantage of every minute they can. Also, the overtime for the employees and the revenue for the park would make it easier to expand even more in years to come.
For those of you who are unfamiliar with the park. It is a clean and spacious one that is truly designed for the under 8 kids, so they can have a true amusement park experience. With some of the newer attractions, maybe ten will work, but I really think that is when they save their money and head north to Great America. The park’s hours are 11 a.m.- 6 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. on Monday thru Friday and on the following Saturdays, July 18th and 25th, August 1st and 8th they remain open until 9 p.m. (a consideration might be to do this earlier and more often). They do stay open on week-ends through October including Harvest Fest and some Halloween promotions as well. You can purchase a one day pass (all rides and attractions) or season passes, which also give you discounts in the gift shops, food and special events.
There are shows, face paining (one of the sore spots to our visit, they were far too busy to get to the girls. That and the funnel cakes were two major disappointments to the 5 and 7 year old girls who love Santa’s Village. But the rides and the petting zoo brought back the smiles that had been taken away. From the Kiddie Ferris Wheel ( I suggest that they reverse the entrance and exit gates here as it took longer than it should have to move the long lines), the Wacky Worm ( they rode this one several times/with me), the pony rides and petting zoo where they met a reptile that will grow to ten feet and even though the Dracor Dragon “called in sick” (the way they explain a ride out of order), we had five marvelous hours of fun and togetherness. By the way, we dined on some great pizza (supplied by Rosati’s) at Reindeer Ridge, where the lines were long and it took a great deal longer to get lunch than one would anticipate. This is supposed to be “fast food” to get the people back on the rides and in the action. They might want to look at changing the doors in the self service dining area as well, as carrying the food out to the table through doors that open IN can be difficult, to say the least.
Despite a few set-backs, spending the day at this park is a delight for a family. I spoke to several that had the time of their lives. By the way, if you want an opportunity to win four full admission tickets to this fabulous amusement park, go to www.MyChiNews.com, and you will find a coloring contest, where your child can color a picture and bring it in to the location indicated on the page for an opportunity. You can also pick up a copy of the paper, Chicago News at most grocery stores in the greater Chicago area. If they do not have this FREE weekly newspaper, ask them to get it!
For more info on Santa’s Village Azoosment Park, visit their website at www.santasvillagedundee.com. The park is located on Route 25 just south of Route 72 in East Dundee Illinois. call 1-847-426-6751.