Saturday, December 13, 2014
Christmas is so close I can taste it! (It is sort of pepperminty). It's the perfect time to visit the North Pole. Not the one in the Arctic, the one in Essex County, New York! That's about 60 miles north of Albany.
The North Pole was founded in 1949, and it claims to be America's first theme park. Well, OK! I love this shot of the entrance… it is surrounded by that beautiful Adirondack forest.
The park was the brainchild of Julien Reiss, a local businessman. Reiss' daughter wanted to visit Santa Claus' summer home, and he decided to build a place for children of all ages.
You can see that what it lacked in thrills it made up for in charm.
When the park opened on July 1, 1949, only 212 people showed up, and by people I mean "elves". However, two years later, the park had a single-day record of over 14,000 visitors. Aye, chihuaha!
Like many (presumably later) Santa-themed parks, there is an actual North Pole, eternally covered in ice. Which seems like a good idea until it has been touched by hundreds of grubby little hands. Elves can sit on it all day with nary a chilblain!
Wikipedia attributes some pretty big claims to The North Pole. It was the first park to have its own petting zoo (really?). It had its own zip code. And it "…launched tourism in America". That's right, up until 1949, nobody ever left their homes to go anywhere.
Here's Santa's summer home, by the way...
Did somebody say PETTING ZOO?! I appreciate that somebody knew that penguins are found at the South Pole. They get an A plus with a smiley face.
There's Santa himself! You can still visit the North Pole today; if you're lucky you might catch the daily parade, led by Frosty the Snowman; or you can eat dinner at Mother Hubbard's Kitchen. Or you can see a Nativity pageant.
I am very glad that the North Pole is still around!