Monday, December 6, 2021

SkyPark Santa's Village California Review

Family Fun

MBE partnered with SkyPark at Santa's Village for this post

A Four Season Family California Attraction

For more than a 65+ years, Southern California has been known by both locals and vacationing families as the ultimate destination for kid-friendly wholesome family theme parks. In that class of outdoor attractions there is a hidden jewel waiting to be discovered: SkyPark at Santa's Village in Skyforest, California.

SkyPark at Santa's Village San Bernardio Mountain Pine Trees
SkyPark at Santa's Village in Summer

Located in the beautiful San Bernardino Mountains adjacent to the resort communities of Lake Arrowhead and Big Bear, this unique park attraction is just a few hours drive from Los Angeles and Orange County. SkyPark is open Winter, Spring, Summer and Fall. Don't let the park's name mislead you: kids of course can visit Santa here year-round and if the children ask: tell them that yes, Santa does have a second home away from the North Pole. 

SkyPark, as my husband (who captured some of the photos in this story) and I found out by experiencing it first-hand, is so much more than we expected . It's a truly multi-generational outdoorsy place which kids, parents, extended family and grownups of all ages can enjoy any season of the year, whether or not you personally celebrate Christmas.

SkyPark at Santa's Village SoCal San Bernardino Mountains

SkyPark at Santa's Village: Yesterday and Today

You may be surprised to learn as I was that this park, originally named Santa's Village, opened on Memorial Weekend 1955, six weeks before Disneyland. Another fun fact: Santa's Village was also the first theme park ever to franchise, eventually adding two other locations. Over the years this park has evolved and changed names, opening and closing due to bankruptcy and the 2003 Big Fire. 

SkyPark Santas Village Kids Activities

Today, the park is open once more. Thanks to the vision of lifelong mountain community residents Bill and Michelle Johnson, many of the historical buildings have been restored or recreated. While still retaining the retro vibe, SkyPark at Santa's Village, in addition to the added Bike Park, are fully-operational and open to the public. 

The reimagined theme park -- catering to preferences of the new millenium -- has been expanded to include mountain biking and hiking paths, train rides, rock climbing walls, fishing, ziplining, axe throwing, archery, target shooting, roller skating in summer, ice skating in winter, and outdoor entertainment, including a summer adult concert series. There's even a mini mountain bike path for little ones just learning to ride a bicycle. 

SkyPark Visit Santa Claus
Santa's House, SkyPark at Santa's Village

Among the fun year-round activities are cookie decorating with Mrs. Claus; visiting St. Nick and his human, animal and mushroom head helpers at the Santa House; panning for rocks and minerals; and participating in ecological educational programs. 

There are also costumed characters meandering throughout the park during the day, story time and special seasonal family entertainment for children and parents, an on-site pub with draft and IPA bottled beer for the grownups, and affordable kid-friendly food, and much more.

Female Medieval Archer Costume
SkyPark Santa's Village Costumed Character

SkyPark Santa's Village Park and Bike Park

With a hat, sunblock, and bottled water, guests can easily spend a full day here, as we did so we could sample both parts of SkyPark Santa's Village: the Park itself and the Bike Park.  In fact, if our personal experience is any indication, one day alone is not nearly enough time if you want to fully enjoy everything both parks have to offer. 

The Park

As you can see from the photos throughout this whirlwind tour of the Park there is so much going on here. So, before the day is over, it's likely everyone in your group will likely have one or more of their own favorite activities. Within the Park, my hubbie loved the rock climbing. With a variety of beginner and more challenging levels to try, I lost count of how many times he climbed to the top of the wall and rang the bell during our media visit.  As for me, I've always wanted to try axe throwing, which was really fun here. I also really enjoyed revisiting the sport of archery which I loved when I was a kid. 

Roller Skating Archery Rock Wall Climbing SkyPark Santas Village
SkyPark Activities for Kids & Grownups

In fact, we both had such a great time here. Actually, my hubbie loved the rock wall so much that just a few weeks later, he went back up to SkyPark, bringing along my daughter and son-in-law. The three of them spent much of a warm summer's day climbing the rock walls (including getting soaked on the waterfall side) as well as trying out the zipline which was closed for repairs during our earlier visit.

The Bike Park

Experiencing the SkyPark Santa's Village park for the first time, BTW, took up most of the day. This left us with just about an hour to explore the SkyPark Bike Park that's also on the same property, thanks to the professional rental mountain bicycles and helmets provided to facilitate our experiential media review. 

The Bike Park -- boasting a variety of riding terrain, from easy to challenging mountain biking trails, ramps and jumps -- is extremely popular with families as well as dare devil mountain bikers. Easily you could while away a full day here while having fun and getting some exercise on more than 20 miles of bike trails winding through the pine-scented forest and mountain landscapes. 

Women with Mountain Bike at SkyPark
Mommy Blog Expert Test Drives a SkyPark Mountain Bike

The bike trails are well-maintained and groomed daily, even when there's snow on the ground in winter. If you bring your own mountain bicycle, there's no additional cost to use the Bike Park, since it's included with standard SkyPark admission. There's also the option to rent sophisticated mountain bikes with helmets on-site (additional costs vary, depending on equipment chosen) with knowledgable staff to equip you for your ride

For sure, my husband and I would both like to return and spend more time on the Bike Park trails and explore more extensively on a future visit. 

Drinks, Food and Shopping

After our initial bike ride was  complete, we enjoyed a short break with a refreshing round of beer on tap at the bike-themed The Pedal Pub, followed by indulging in some Pineapple Dole Whip. We wound down our day in the charming, beautifully curated giftshop where Mrs. Claus was hosting a children's cookie decorating session. 

What an enjoyable and invigorating way to spend a Sunday breathing fresh mountain air in such a beautiful and fun place, before heading back down the hill to Los Angeles to start another work week. Whether you are lucky enough to live in Southern California and are looking for  a fun day roadtrip with the kids, a grownup day trip with friends,  or you're planning a family vacation, there's nothing like a visit to Skypark at Santa's Village any time of year. 

Mountain Theme Gift Shop at Sky Park Santas Village
SkyPark at Santa's Village Gift Shop

About SkyPark at Santa's Village

In the San Bernardino Moutains in Skyforest, California, about a two hour drive from Los Angeles, SkyPark at Santa's Village is a unique Southern California outdoor adventure theme park attraction with a retro 1950s - 1960s vibe. Adjoining Santa's Village is the SkyPark Bike Park. Open year round, with day passes, monthly passes and annual passes with access to both parks are offered with discounted pricing for kids ages 4-12. 

Learn all about SkyPark at Santa's Village including checking out their calendar of special seasonal and holiday events throughout the year, a summer concert series, and more by visiting the official site Stay up to date on everything SkyPark at Santa's Village-related, as well, by following the park on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, and YouTube. For SkyPark Bike Park specific news, don't miss these social channels dedicated to mountain biking on Facebook and Instagram

SkyPark at Santa's Village and SkyPark Bike Park are both located at 28950 California State Highway 18, Skyforest, CA 92385, phone 909-744-9373. Parking is free.

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