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It Takes a Village: A Trip Back in Time to Frontier Village, Santa's Village and Lost World

What do a cowboy, a candy cane and a dinosaur have in common? They are all symbols of magical theme parks from a bygone era in the South Bay. For those who grew up in the area, each park holds special meaning and memories. 

While the country was booming from post World War II prosperity, Walt Disney showed children that there was a place you could visit that supported your imagination and let adults know that you’re never too old to be a kid. Building on the success of Disneyland, theme parks began to dot the landscape, and the South Bay to the Santa Cruz Mountains was no exception. 

In 1961, Frontier Village opened its saloon doors off Monterey Highway and celebrated the country’s fascination with the Wild West. Kids spent endless days watching gunfighters fall from the balconies of the old Saloon, navigated through the park on a train, or took a spin on one of the many rides. 

Just off Highway 17 at the summit, Santa’s Village became the first franchised theme park, providing a Christmas wonderland for thousands of visitors year round. 

Up the road from Santa’s Village, in the forest of Scott’s Valley, children in the back of station wagons marveled at the life-sized dinosaurs towering over the side of the highway and the botanical wonders of the magic tree forest of Lost World.

The parks were more than just a place to spend the day. They were connections to an era and a time when childhood was defined less by technology and more by activity, imagination and play. This exhibit will transport the viewer back in time to explore these local places of enduring legacy and memory. 

It takes a village to build a village. As a non-profit 501c3, community support of this project is crucial for its success. Please consider a personal or business sponsorship to help make this an amazing exhibit for all generations to enjoy. 


Thank you to our Sponsors

Maria West, Castellano Family Foundation

In Kind Sponsors

Ace Hardware, Los Gatos Blvd
Burdick Painting
Goodwill Industries, San Jose
Jay's Art and Sign Scotts Valley
John A. Saunders, Economy Lumber, Campbell

Sustaining Sponsor

Town of Los Gatos


Exhibition News... People are talking see what they have to say:

Los Gatos Weekly TimesA chance to visit some forgotten theme parks

By Judy Peterson July 24, 2015