Sunday, August 26, 2012

Review: Santa's Village Azoosment Park in East Dundee

Last week, the kids and I headed to Santa's Village Azoosement Park in East Dundee.

My kids are 2 and 11, and I worried that amusement park/petting zoo would be filled with attractions that were too "little kid" for my son and yet still too "big kid" for my daughter. The "fastest" and most "thrilling" ride my 2-year-old has been on is the carosel in Lincoln Park Zoo, whereas my son has been on every thrill ride in Disneyworld and loves the feeling of butterflies in his stomach. In the end, this park was a hit with both of my kids!

We were greeted at the gate by none other than the man in red, Santa Claus himself. Chiara was dumbstruck. She was just floored that she was actually face-to-face with the legendary man from the North Pole.
Chiara kept it calm, cool and collected when she was in his presence, but
afterwards, she was jumping for joy over her celebrity sighting.

We picked the perfect day for a visit: many of the suburban schools are already in session, and there were no lines to speak of - we were able to waltz on to every ride without waiting. Chiara was over the moon to ride the mini boats, the hot air balloons, the race cars, and Santa's trucks. We worried that she'd be scared of the Tilt-a-Whirl, but she simply adored it (and we went on it over six times...) - yes, she is officially one of us. The three of us worked hard to lean in the right direction for maximum whirls, and I'm not sure if I've ever seen my kids (or myself!) laugh so darn hard.

Daniel loved reliving his early childhood by accompanying his lil' sister on many preschool-oriented rides (that he still met the height requirement for...).
Daniel helps Chiara battle aliens in this ride, a Kiddieland original

Daniel also went on the Pirate Ship maybe 6+ times in a row. Brave little Chiara rode on the Pirate Ship too - she didn't cry at all, but spent the duration of the ride with a hilarious, wide-eyed expression. Afterwards, when I asked her if she felt little butterflies in her tummy, she responded matter-of-factly, "No, I had BIG butterflies in my tummy!"

I liked this park because it was shady with lots of trees and the rides were just right for a preschooler's first amusement park experience. There are also animals everywhere: we spent time just watching the tortoises ramble around their home, pet the sheep and goats, and Chiara enjoyed a pony ride.

The one thing I disliked about the park: the dining options. Everything seemed to be fried, fried, fried and fried again. 95% of the lunch and snack menu item were deep fat fried. I ordered the garden salad but it was wilted and it was inedible. Next time, I'll be packing a picnic lunch - there are shaded picnic grounds.

Santa's Village Azoosment Park is located in East Dundee. Check out their website to save $2 of admission!

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