The Christmas-themed park originally opened in 1955 -- over a month before Disneyland -- thanks to developer Glenn Holland, and featured rides, a monorail, a Ferris wheel, and a petting zoo with live reindeer, as well as a toy shop, bakery, candy store, and more. The park had a successful run for decades as a popular holiday destination, but the franchise -- which included locations near Santa Cruz and in Illinois -- faced bankruptcy in the late 1970s. The Henck Family, who already owned the 230 acres where the 15-acre park sat, purchased the park, reviving it and adding more features; they eventually decided to close it in 1998. Another owner later worked to restore the park, but the “Old Fire” in 2003 -- one of the state’s worst wildfires -- put a sudden end to the efforts. Thanks to some renovations and firefighters’ efforts, the structures of Santa’s Village remained mostly intact, but the park stayed a ghost town for years to follow.