Here’s a quick tour of some Christmas-themed amusement parks. This is by no means an exhaustive list and was mostly just compiled by searching the Roller Coaster Database for “Christmas” and “Santa”. It’s probably a good thing that “Jesus”, didn’t bring back any results, but with more than 6,500 roller coasters from the past and present from all over the World, you never know what you might find. See one of my first posts to see what I mean: What’s In a Name?
While it’s not a top coaster-naming theme (like windy things & serpents) Rudolph & reindeer-themed roller coasters are perfect if you’re going to have a Christmas-themed amusement park. As are sleigh-themed rides. Santa’s Village in Jefferson, New Hampshire has an impressive-looking family coaster called Rudy’s Rapid Transit. There’s also Santa’s Runaway Sleigh at YesterLand Farm (Canton, Texas) and Sleigh Coaster at Santa’s Workshop (Wilmington, New York).
Cascade, Colorado is home to a neat little park called Santa’s Workshop. They’ve got an eye-catching Candy Cane Slide (pictured right) as well as a little kiddie coaster called the Candy Cane Coaster.
Out of all of these small Christmas-themed parks, Santa’s Land (Cherokee, North Carolina) is the closest to me and the one I’m most likely to visit someday. They’ve got a powered Zamperla coaster called Rudicoaster. It could be looped into a trip with Dollywood or visited while on my way to Lake Winnie.
Holiday World is probably one of the top ten amusement parks that I’d recommend people visit. It’s located in Santa Claus, Indiana about an hour from Louisville, Kentucky. It was originally opened in 1946 as Santa Claus Land, but then in 1984 it was re-branded as Holiday World. It added other holiday-themed areas and now has Thanksgiving, Halloween, and 4th of July. The park’s world-class wooden coasters are in other areas and the rides in the Christmas area seem to be children’s rides. Santa is still a “mascot” as photos of him riding their record-breaking water ride made the rounds on the web a few years ago.
Christmas Outside of America
Christmas is celebrated all over the World. It’s probably no surprise that there’s a Santa’s Village in Ontario, Canada, but there is also a Santa Present Park in Hokkaido, Japan. It looks to be tied-into a ski resort and sadly, the roller coasters appear to be closed.
While I’ve never been to Holy Land (Orlando, Florida), I assumed that they had some kinds of rides as they do call themselves Orlando’s Inspirational Theme Park. But, they appear to have only exhibits and shows. Another feature of the park are the impressive-looking buildings meant to replicate the part of the World where we get this holiday from. No, not the North Pole, Bethlehem.
Another small park in the mountains of Western NC, is Ghost Town in the Sky. I’m not sure of its current status, but since I moved here it’s been closed and re-opened a number of times. In the past its had an authentic western theme with live shoot outs in the themed mains streets at high noon. There’s also plans to open a new area called Resurrection Mountain at the highest point of the park that will be a replica of Jerusalem.
Image 1 courtesy of Flickr User – ptjoe12000