What to Know
- Skyforest, near Lake Arrowhead
- Nov. 17, 2021 through Jan. 2, 2022
- $69 for a day pass (age 13 and older), $59 seniors 60-74, $59 children ages 4 to 12, complimentary admission for guests ages 75+ and age 3 and under
We appreciate that there are a lot of apps out there, and complex mapping programs, and the sorts of guides that delve deeply into every destination, looking at a host of elements that traditional travel books miss.
But finding the route to the North Pole?
Pretty much every magical map will reveal that you need to sail across Candy Cane Lake, take a left at Whipped Cream Mountain, and venture through a valley that’s flowing with rivers made of ribbons.
That magical map can be a little challenging to locate, but Southern Californians have an attraction that’s about as North-Pole-y as non-North-Pole-y places come, and you don’t even need to ford a stream made of peppermint cream to reach it: You only need to head to Skyforest, near Lake Arrowead, to behold the bow-bedecked, mountain-high charms of SkyPark at Santa’s Village.
The picturesque attraction? It dates back to the middle part of the last century, as locals who were tots back in the 1950s, ’60s, and ’70s will attest.
After remaining shuttered for a few decades, it reopened in 2016, becoming a prime spot to see Santa when you couldn’t reach the actual North Pole.
It’s a spot that observes open dates throughout the calendar, but when the holidays are close? Oh, you bet: The dial that says “merry” is turned all the way up at Santa’s Village.
Which it will be again, from Nov. 17, 2021 through Jan. 2, 2022, when “Santa’s Village: A Nostalgic Christmas in the Woods” rings the sleigh bells, marshmallows the cups of cocoa, high fives the elves, and celebrates the sweetness of the season.
A host of holiday activities will festoon the attraction’s quaint cottages, whimsical walkways, and outdoor attractions, so choosing whether you’d like to have Breakfast with Santa, Tea with Mrs. Claus, take a seat for the “An Elf’s Life for Me Puppet Show,” or explore the Fantasy Forest of Lights after sundown is up to you.
Cooking decorating, tree lightings, ice skating, a pop-up Christmas Market on Dec. 10, and plenty of confections for sale are also part of the sparkly scene.
As are the characters of Santa’s Village.
For sure, the Clauses are well-known and well-loved around the holiday hamlet, but so are the enchanting characters of the Northwoods. Arrow, everyone’s favorite festive Fido (and Santa’s right-hand pooch), is a favorite with families, but there are several elves and fairie folk to become acquainted with during your visit.
Perusing a schedule before you purchase? It’s good to know what is going on at the gleeful bastion o’ yuletide merriment.
Buying your ticket in advance? Also wise, especially on December weekends, when things can busier than one of those machines that wraps a million presents every hour.
They have a machine like that at the North Pole, right? Well, we wouldn’t know; we’ve never found the map that leads us to that enchanted address, the one with the Candy Cane Lake and ribbon rivers.
But we can find our way to SkyPark at Santa’s Village, a place that gives off the big North Pole vibes.
There are no present-wrapping machines, of course, nor polar bears or penguins, but there is plenty of storybook-style sweetness afoot to be found at this forest-adjacent realm.