GO SKY HIGH FOR A SLEDFUL OF ADVENTURE
ALL THE FAMILY’S IN ON THE FUN AT SKYPARK
MY FAMILY WASN’T SURE WHAT TO EXPECT when we headed past the giant candy cane to the entrance of SkyPark at Santa’s Village and the faux alpine houses where we were to sign our activity and COVID- 19 waiver.
But the cool breeze through the pine trees surrounding the park in Skyforest, near Lake Arrowhead, was welcome relief from the searing mid- August heat we had endured in the valley below.
For our sons, 7 and 10, anticipation was high. The options at the adventure park surpassed those even of Disneyland or Legoland, with archery, BB guns, ax throwing, rollerskating, rock climbing, f ly fishing and mountain biking.
I was relieved that we had decided to camp across the highway at the SkyPark Camp & RV Resort, perched on the edge of the San Bernardino Mountains, to give ourselves two days of fun. It was clear we were going to need the time.
The Christmasy kitsch was just enough to hint at the retroalpine- themed Santa’s Village beloved by generations of Californians. The amusement park opened in 1955, six weeks before Disneyland made its debut, according to the website.
Something got us in a wintry mood — maybe it was the red Letters to Santa mailbox or Santa’s house — that lured us into Kringle’s Coffee for warm beverages as we worked out our plan for the day.
First priority was pedal cars and archery for our youngest, f ly fishing and BB guns for our oldest. My husband and I wanted to try the 10 miles of mountain bike trails behind the park, so we did what many families do: tag team to ensure each of us had a chance to pursue our activities.
Although, to be clear, I was game for it all.
Not only did we have gobs of fun hitting what seemed like every inch of the 230- acre park, we also learned a thing or two. As a parent, it was worth every bit of the $ 49 admission price. Traditional roller skates are preferred over inline ( but ice skating sessions were requested); mountain bike trails are too scary for the youngest; and f ly fishing, which provided three full hours of joy, is second in line after bait fishing. Despite the second- place preference, my son was ecstatic to get lessons.
And for the adults? Mountain biking through forest trails was a highlight, but another pastime provided thrills too. It turns out that ax throwing is meditative and addictive, and if the opportunity to join a team arose, I’d be ready with my hatchet.
Unless you are a full- grown adult Disney fanatic, I don’t know of any other place that offers so many options for every age — and good food to boot.
After we had worn ourselves as thin as Santa’s elves after Christmas Day, we went across the highway to the campground, which had opened a few weeks before.
We didn’t know what the tent- site situation would be like, so we decided on an RV spot ( site 40) that ensured a spectacular view of San Bernardino and the Los Angeles basin. When the sun started to set, there wasn’t another place I would rather be than at the edge of our site, looking at the city lights below as they started to twinkle.
Although wood campfires are not allowed in the campground, there are three community fire pits where we roasted marshmallows. ( These might be closed because of fire risk in the area.)
My family is used to primitive camping deep in the woods, but we were happy to find the SkyPark resort a pristine destination with showers, laundry facilities and Wi- Fi.
If you choose a tent site, be aware they are all walk- in; bring your own folding tables and shade, as both are scarce.
The beauty of this setup is that you can enjoy the park andother delights of the Lake Arrowhead area, then continue the adventure into the evening, complete with a sunset, s’mores and a sky full of stars.
We’ll be back when ice skating and snow are additional attractions, though you might not find us in a tent.
IF YOU GO
> SkyPark, 28950 California 18, Skyforest; ( 909) 744- 9373, sky parksantasvillage.com. Open daily. Reservations required; admission is $ 45 for adults, $ 35 for children 4 to 12. Some attractions may be closed because of COVID- 19 restrictions. Social-distancing protocols are enforced; masks are required except when exercising. Frequently touched items are disinfected between each use.
SkyPark Camp & RV Resort,
> 29297 California 18, Skyforest; ( 909) 744- 9927, skyparkcamprv . com. Tent sites from $ 25; $ 63 to $ 110 for RV sites. By reservation only; limited occupancy. Masks and social distancing required.
MOUNTAIN bikers, from top, catch some air on the Slayride trail at Skypark at Santa’s Village. A SkyPark guest practices her aim in the archery range, while ax throwing attracts others. Characters roam the park greeting visitors, including the main attraction himself, Santa Claus.