Santa’s Village is a classic amusement park with a fun Christmas theme, located in East Dundee, Illinois, only an hour’s drive from Rockford, Illinois. Since it opened in 1959, it has been a place for families to make cherished memories.
If your family is new to theme parks, Santa’s Village is a great place for your first amusement park experience! There’s a ton to do for families at the park including going on rides, visiting animals, playing games, cooling off in the waterpark, and enjoying a meal or snack. We think Santa’s Village is best for families with kids 14 and under.
We recently visited Santa’s Village for the first time with our 7 year old and 4 year old. We had a great time and enjoyed how easy it was to navigate the park. We went on a Friday morning and didn’t have to wait more than 20 minutes for any ride.
Disclosure: We were given tickets to Santa’s Village in exchange for our review. Our opinions are our own.
If you go to Santa’s Village, plan to spend the whole day there. There’s a lot to do and see! Here’s a breakdown of the areas you can explore on your visit.
Santa Springs Waterpark
In 2020, Santa’s Village added a new waterpark called Santa Springs. It is only open if the day’s temperature is above 72 degrees. There are two main areas in Santa Springs: Lighthouse Harbor and the body slides. Lighthouse Harbor is a great spot for kids 10 and under to play. It includes a zero-depth entry and a 10,000 square foot, 8-inch wading pool, two tipping buckets, and nine water slides. One of my kids’ favorites is the four-lane kiddie racer slide.
The second area includes two bigger waterpark slides – The Caribbean Curl and the Peppermint Twists. Kids must be 42 inches tall to ride on either slide. Both slides are 300 feet long body slides that take you through a series of twisty tunnels before reaching the end of the slide.
There is also an on-site bathhouse for families to change before and after using the Santa Springs that includes bathrooms. Cabanas are available for rental or you can find a lounge chair around Lighthouse Harbor.
Santa Springs is open during summer months and closes Labor Day weekend.
Stateline Kids Tip: Leave your swimsuit and towels in the car until you’re ready to go to the waterpark instead of carting them around the park. You’re allowed to leave the park and come back with your admission wristband. We enjoyed the rides, games, and animals then went to the car to get our swimsuits and towels and changed in the bathhouse. We then changed back into our clothes and left after the waterpark.
Kiddie, Family, and Thrill Rides
The main attraction at Santa’s Village are the rides! There are many non-scary options that families can ride together and some thrill rides that teens, adults, and bigger kids will love.
Kiddie rides are rides that your little ones can go on by themselves! These rides are for kids under 54 inches tall. Little kids can ride Midge-O-Racers (car ride), Roto-Whip (spinning ride), Santa’s Tree House Slide (tall slide), and the space invasion (rocket ride).
Family classic rides are rides that everyone in the family can enjoy. Some rides have height restrictions, but kids who are 36 inches tall can ride with an adult on most rides. Family rides include Balloon Race, Country Carousel (Merry Go Round), Bumper Cars, Jolly Trolley (indoor Christmas-themed train ride), Kringle’s Convoy (truck ride), Route 66 Cruisers (old-timey car ride), Snowball Ride (spinning cups), Star Jets (rocket ride), SVFD Engine #3 (water fun), Tilt-A-Whirl, Viking Sea Dragon (swinging boat), and the Wacky Worm (small roller coaster). Our kids really enjoyed the Snowball Ride and the Wacky Worm rollercoaster.
Thrill rides are rides that are a little bit more intense than family and kiddie rides. These rides are great for bigger kids, teens, and adventurous little ones. There are five thrill rides at Santa’s Village – Mega Velocity (spinning ride), Super Cyclone Roller Coaster (big roller coaster), The Blizzard (upside down and swinging ride), Tri-Nado (spinning ride), and Xtreme Elevation (big drop). The Blizzard is new for 2021 and it’s a doozy! It swings ridres back and forth before dangling them upside down.
Santa’s Village isn’t just a theme park, it’s an a-ZOO-sment park! That means that there are animals that call the park home that you can visit when you’re there. Be sure to check out the wallabies, alpacas, donkeys, birds, barnyard animals, reindeer, and koi. There are more than 200 animals and birds at the park. You can buy pellets to feed to some of the barnyard animals.
Games and Entertainment
Santa is still making appearances at Santa’s Village, but he’s staying socially distanced! You can stand in front of his enclosed area to take a picture. We loved his Hawaiian shirt.
There are not meet-and-greets or live shows happening currently becuase of COVID, but hopefully, they will be back in the future.
There are both carnival-style games like lucky duck and party pop as well an arcade with video games, skee-bal, claw machines, and more.
Food and Drink
There are a bunch of awesome concession stands in the park so you don’t have to leave to grab lunch or a sweet treat. Lunch options include Mrs. Claus’ Kitchen, The Route 66 Grill, Santa’s Snack Shop, and Reindeer Ridge. These places offer burgers, pizza, chicken tenders, fries, nachos, drinks and more. The sweet shops offer ice cream, funnel cakes, corn dogs, Dole Whip, and cotton candy.
On your way out of the park, you’ll pass through a gift shop with Santa’s Village-themed items like t-shirts and bouncy balls as well as many other toys including cars, Ty stuffies, and fidgets.
Santa’s Village Hours
During the summer, Santa’s Village is open daily. The rest of the year it is open on select weekends with special events during the winter. You can check out a calendar of park hours here.
There are also late night hours available on Saturdays in October where the park is open from 4 pm – 8 pm so you can see everything lit up in the dark! We’ll definitely be back to check that out.
General admission for 2022 is $27.99 per person (over 36 inches, regardless of age) but the prices go up on the weekend.
Season passes are also available for $79 per person.
Active military members and veterans receive admission for $19.99 per person (up to six people) with a valid military-issued ID. First responders receive admission for $24.99 per person in their family (up to six people). Present your ID at Guest Services for this discount.
Santa’s Village is located at 601 Dundee Avenue in East Dundee, Illinois.