Santa’s Village’s new Ho Ho H20 water park
Santa’s Village, in Jefferson NH, is walking the fine line between nostalgic charm and appealing to a younger generation. The blacksmith’s shop still makes rings from reindeer shoe nails (for the fee of a smile per ring), Santa Claus still listens to wishes and passes out candy canes, and a shop sells gingerbread boys and girls to be frosted to the artistic and sugar-loving tastes of all ages. Prices are surprisingly good; although park admission is $25 dollars for people 4 and over (free for 3 and under), you can buy a hat for $5, snow cones for $2, and ornaments for less than $3.
On the modernizing side, a few new rides have been added in recent years. The antique cars have been expanded to include a bubble-spewing carwash, and the old fallow deer have been replaced by actual reindeer. Now, for 2010, a small water park has been added at the eastern edge of the park, just beyond the popular roller coaster.
The water park is not clearly separated from the rest of the park; bathing suits are allowed out of the area, although in practice no one wore them further than the ice-cream counter just outside. A regular ride, Rocking Around the Christmas Tree—a swing ride midway between the small child version and the large ones at places like Six Flags—is on the left, while a zero-depth water play area is on the right. A building contains both changing rooms—family size, at least on the “California Girls” side, but overcrowded with only 3 rooms—and a small store selling bathing suits and towels, and renting lockers. Generously sized lockers are $10 per day, with $5 refund upon returning the key.
The water park itself is small, similar to a themed area within a full size park. Theming is wintery, with polar bears, abominable snow monsters, and “snow drifts”. Two small water slides and 3 good sized slides (open to anyone 300 lbs or under) come off of a whimsical climbing area, with fountains and sprays of water through out. A gargantuan wooden bucket overturns regularly; a warning bell rings for the minute before, allowing people to take cover or dash to stand beneath it; while a majority of the deluge hits the area directly in front, anyone in the climbing areas for the slides will be drenched. Trust me on this; I have firsthand experience.
The surrounding black top was uncomfortably warm to bare feet on an 83’ day, but a generous number of beach chairs surround the area, safely out of the splash zone. Water tables for younger children are set up out of the drench zone from the bucket, and water levels within the whole area average about 6-8 inches. Life guards are stationed at the tops of all slides to prevent pile-ups and keep order. The whole water park is non-smoking.
Of the eight children in our group (not counting the 6 week old baby, who merely enjoyed eating, sleeping, and cuddling) all of them, from the 3 year old to the 17 year old, enjoyed the break at the water park. It was an excellent way to cool down after lunch before heading off to the bumper cars…where, again, all eight had a blast.