Sunday, December 25, 2011

Santa's Village: Part 7 - Crooked Tree House, The Magic Train & More!

Hey, it's not all doom and gloom for Santa's Village! Some parts of it went on to have a life beyond the Skyforest park and are now entertaining the masses at other Southern California locations.

This Santa's Village is located in a children's playground at The Flower Fields of Carlsbad, California (near Legoland).

Through an auction that was held after the closing of Santa's Village, they were able to acquire many of the park's cement mushrooms and also the park's Guard Shack. I wasn't able to find any vintage images of this structure, so I'm not sure where it was originally located. The Santa's Village in Dundee, Illinois (same owner) had an almost identical structure that stood in it's parking lot.

Does this little playhouse look familiar? We saw it a couple days ago in a vintage postcard.

Here's that vintage image again. See it in the lower right corner of the pic? It's rotated around in the postcard so we're looking at the other side of it.

It was actually supposed to be a miniature version of Santa's house. The full-sized version can be seen below. The playhouse even had the clock hanging out front with the months on it instead of hours. A great vintage shot of it can be seen here on Gorillas Don't Blog.

Here's another beloved structure from Santa's Village that can also be found at The Flower Fields, The Crooked Tree House.

This is how it looked when it was at Santa's Village. If I were a kid, I would much rather go down that longer, taller, metal slide! Are there any metal slides in parks anymore? Oh well, at least the structure still exists!

I've circled the original location of The Crooked Tree House in green on the map.

And here's roughly where it would have sat in the aerial photo. I've also circled the location of The Magic Train in blue because now we're going to be taking a look at that attraction.

It was a train......and it was magic.

It was......The Magic Train!

Today.....not so magic. least not at the old Santa's Village site.

HOWEVER, this little gem also continues to have a life beyond it's 43 years of service to Santa's Village. It can now be found at the Santa Ana Zoo in Santa Ana, California (a few miles southeast of Disneyland). This train was actually built by Bud Hurlbut of Knott's Calico Mine Train and Calico Log Ride name just two of his incredible pieces of work!

The train was acquired by the Friends of the Santa Ana Zoo in November of 1998 and brought back to the Hurlbut Amusement Company in Buena Park (across the street from Knott's Berry Farm) and completely restored. A new train station was built at the zoo and the attraction opened in 1999 with a new name, the Zoofari Express. In 2005, the 50 year old engine underwent a conversion from a gasoline powered engine to battery powered. At this time a new train was brought in to cover for the original engine while it was being refurbished. Today, both trains are running at the Santa Ana Zoo, so if you go to the zoo to see the Santa's Village train, it's the one with the #1030 on the engine. The newer train is engine #1036.

Well, I have one more part to this series and then we'll be done.

I would like to wish a very Merry Christmas to all my readers, commenters, lurkers and followers! (And a big "thank you" too!)


Major Pepperidge said...

Merry Christmas to you! I never knew that this little train existed until a few weeks ago when I bought a slide of it from the 50's. I'll have to post it one of these days. Looks like it was fun; I'm glad it's still around!

TokyoMagic! said...

Merry Christmas, Major! I can't wait to see your new acquisition!

maddie0147 said...
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