Santa’s Village Reopening as New AZoosment Park

September 23, 2010

Did you ever visit Santa’s Village when you were a kid? If you grew up in the Chicago area, I bet you did.

Chances are if you are a kid now, you didn’t get that opportunity, since the East Dundee amusement park closed in 2006 due to financial difficulties after 46 years of making kids smile.

Well, the chance is back, as Santa’s Village is expected to reopen today as the AZoosment Park with rides, activities and interactive animal attractions for children ages 2 to 11.

The 40-acre site, at Illinois Routes 25 and 72, is owned by Chicago developer Sterling Bay Companies LLC. The new amusement park will be situated on about six of the acres and will include all-you-can-ride pony rides, a free-flight aviary, a low-priced concession stand and more than 100 species of animals both domestic and exotic that children can pet, feed and learn about.

The new park still has remnants of its former venue. Some rides kids can experience today as their parents did dating back to the ’50s include Midge O’ Racers, Roto Whip Kids, and Santa’s Historic Slide, the oldest original Santa’s Village ride left.

There’s even a Reindeer Ridge, where you can learn all about Santa’s helpers. And, during the holiday season, the park will naturally offer reindeer sleigh rides and a visit from Santa himself.

The owner, Jason Sierpien, hopes to add more rides, attractions and concession stands in the future. Sierpien owns the Marengo-based traveling animal show, A Zoo To You, the company that used to provide the animals to the Old MacDonald Farm attraction at Santa’s Village.

Interesting tidbit of history: Did you know that Santa’s Villages were the first franchised theme parks in the world?

Following the grand opening on September 23, AZoosment Park is expected to be open until Christmas before closing for the official grand opening next Spring.

What: AZoosment Park

Where: 601 Dundee Ave., East Dundee

Hours: Thursday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Sunday, 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.


*Children ages 3-12: $13.50

*Children under age 2: Free

*Adults ages 12 and up: $9.50

*Active military personnel with a valid ID are free with one paid children’s admission.

More: For more information, call (847) 426-6751 or visit

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I am SO excited about this park re-opening! I went all the time as a kid and I’ve dreamed about it even to this day and was depressed to find it was closed after I was considering taking a trip down memory lane. But I’m glad my nephews and future children will be able to experience the same thrill I got as a little girl. Thanks for bringing this place back!

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