Back in 2006, after delighting Chicagolanders during the holidays for 47 years, Santa's Village in East Dundee closed its doors. Now, after a four-year hiatus, the adventure park is back, this time with three new areas geared for families.
Its AZoosment Park has a petting zoo filled with llamas, sheep, goats and other animals kids can pet and feed. Exotic animal shows feature wallabies, African-crested porcupines and even Santa's main mode of transportation, the reindeer.
AZoosment also has magic shows, stilt walkers and a straw maze. Park owner Jason Sierpien says the park is currently planning special Christmas events. Kids age 3-12 are $13.50, adults are $9.50 and kids under 2 are free. Visit the park's Web site azoosmentpark.com for a coupon of $3 off one child admission.
Also new and geared toward older kids, the Paintball Explosion
is set to open.
Designed for beginners and advanced players, Paintball Explosion has five paintball fields, each with a different theme, including one modeled after the upcoming movie "Transformers 3". This field will feature props from the actual movie, which was partially filmed in Chicago. And paying homage to its original amusement park setting, one of the fields features old roller coaster rides players will have to navigate around.
"Most parents are worried, but paintball is statistically safer than most sports, including golf," says co-partner Romeo Kapudija. "Our goal is to have a fun game and also a safe game."
Paintball is recommended for children 12 and up, although Kapudija says with parental consent, children as young as 10 may be admitted. The entry fee is $18.95 per day, which includes unlimited play on all five fields and free air refills. Equipment is provided or players can bring their own.
Lastly, the historic Santa's Village Polar Dome is set to reopen. Now the home of the Northern Illinois Inline Hockey League, NIHL Founder Tony Borrico says it is the largest inline facility in the Chicago area.
Families can watch high-impact hockey games year-round. Best of all, entry is free. Kids will enjoy an exciting sport, and mom and dad can enjoy the newly refashioned bar and grill.