The White Mountains are Alive with Children’s Laughter Thanks to the Top-Rated Santa’s Village
What would the North Pole be like if the elves were in charge? Because elves love to play as much as they like to work, there’s a good chance their North Pole would look a lot like Santa’s Village, the New Hampshire theme park that has entertained thousands of visitors for more than 65 years. Nestled among the pine trees in Jefferson, Santa’s Village is one of the most popular summer attractions in the storied White Mountains. The park’s creation began when the three-year-old daughter of founders Normand and Cecile Dubois asked if the deer that had crossed the road in front of their car was one of Santa’s reindeer. 67 years later, Santa’s Village remains an evolving destination, the Polar Paradise water feature will debut this summer, without ever losing sight of its mission to provide “pure joy, family style.”
The theme park debuted with Santa and a couple of small buildings, a trained mule provided the first entertainment. Today 20 rides are sprinkled throughout the park, but that’s only half the fun. Families also enjoy daily live performances, craft making and, of course, visits with Santa. Families are often so excited to spend the day at Santa’s Village they actually line up before the gates open at 9:30. Tickets may be purchased onsite or online.
It may sound funny, but one of the first “attractions” in the reliably spotless Village are the restrooms, an indication of management’s understanding of what family travel really entails. The second stop is often Elf University, where kids collect the Elfabet Game, a park-wide scavenger hunt. Kids keep a sharp eye out for each of the 26 elves who “live” in the park, returning with their card for a special prize and Elf University Diploma. Like the rides, live shows, and most other amenities, the Elfabet Game is included within the park admission. And it isn’t just the kids who get in on the hunt.
“Love the Elf-a-bet” game,” writes Anthony in his 5-Star Trip Advisor review. “Keeps the kids entertained and looking for the elves all over the park.”
From its founding, Santa’s Village has always placed a premium on affordability. Unlike most theme parks, Santa’s Village allows guests to bring their own food and drink. Of course, the Santa’s Village cooks take pride in creating great park food as well, including pizza, mini-donuts, house-made ice cream and, naturally, gingerbread cookies that are ready to be decorated. The kitchens and bakeries also make gluten-free and other foods to satisfy special diets.
Santa’s Village has become an iconic destination by staying true to its original vision while blending new attractions for every generation with historical remnants that further enrich the park’s reputation. This combination of modern rides and attractions coupled with a storied legacy is one of many reasons that Santa’s Village ranks among the “Top 25 Amusement Parks in America” and is routinely rated the “#1 Amusement Park in New England,” according to Trip Advisor.
The attractions diversity offers another reason the park remains so popular, as parents like Chevelle know very well. “We had such a blast,” she writes in her 5-Star Trip Advisor review. “Our three-year-old hasn’t stopped talking about our trip yesterday and keeps thanking us for taking her. She got to sit with Santa, fed a reindeer, got to make a toy like an elf, got a ring made for her and went on tons of rides. We had such a fun time and will definitely return. Loved this part of our trip.”
Summer 2019 provides a great opportunity to experience this blend of traditional and contemporary amenities. After a couple decades the popular Great Humbug Adventure will receive a complete renovation in the coming years. The popular dark ride invites kids to tickle humbugs that suddenly appear out of nowhere. The new Humbug experience will feature a state-of-the-art scoring system and increased rider capacity. Don’t miss the chance to take a ride on this legacy ride before the renovations begin.
Many young parents like to bring their own children to share the same rides they once enjoyed as kids. “I have been going since I was a child,” says Ray. “I bring my kids every year. It is always clean and the staff is always nice. We love the waterpark too. Definitely brings the magic of Santa to the kids.”
There are plenty of other enduring classics throughout the park, including the Rapid Transit Rollercoaster and Skyway Sleigh Monorail. The Skyway Sleigh rises 30-feet above the Village as families soar together. A portrait of each car’s occupants is snapped during the ride for later purchase. These images often form a Christmas Card tradition for many families who return year after year to capture children’s growth and another year of pure joy, family style.
Technology has trickled down to our youngest children, two-dimensional diversions that tell them when and often how to play. A day at Santa’s Village couldn’t be more different than these plugged-in nannies, a three-dimensional adventure crafted to excite a child’s thoughts, laughter and movement. Yet a visit here is not simply a nostalgic journey down memory lane, new attractions and performances mean every visit reliably reveals fresh surprises. Whether driving a Bumper Car for the first time, grabbing a bite inside the Burger Meister Food Court or visiting the Jolly Old Elf in his brightly lit home, Santa’s Village still brings pure joy to the faces of children and families alike.