Wednesday, October 5, 2011

The Tree House Slide

It such a simple piece of playground equipment, a relic of a gone by era, and one of the most treasured attractions at Santa’s Village. The Tree House Slide first brought smiles and laughter to guests of the park on opening day, May 30, 1959. And it has been in the same location at Santa’s Village ever since.

In this modern age of cell phones, computers, and very large expensive amusement park rides, one would think that a simple “slide” would get lost in all the electronic splendor of today’s world. But the Tree House Slide is more than a modest and unpretentious attraction at the park, it’s a reminder and a connection to a time when life was simpler and families took the time to be together.

The Slide, along with the North Pole and Mushrooms, represents a constant of Santa’s Village that is being shared with the new generation of visitors by the generations that have visited for decades. This past weekend at the park I got to see that first hand. I saw a great grandmother who was 80 years old and her mid-50ish daughter, a grandmother herself, and her daughter, a young mother in her 20s and her daughter, a 4 year old little girl, taking pictures and reminiscing about going down the Slide.

You see, the great grandmother brought her daughter to Santa’s Village in 1959 and she has been coming ever since with children, grandchildren, and now great grandchildren. The family was happy to see that the Tree House Slide was still there and that it had survived the auction in 2006. They were even happier when the 4 year old little girl climb the staircase and took her first slide.

It was pretty special seeing how this inanimate object, the Slide, represented so much to this family, the connection they had to it, and now the shared memories they will keep; four generations enjoying the day together at Santa’s Village. As I watched other guests go down the Slide, I thought to myself how many children have slid down that slide. One can only estimate that number...but that is really not what is important.

What is important is that such a simple thing made millions of children laugh, millions of parents smile, and made a memory for millions. The Tree House Slide was never and will never be the marquee attraction at the park, but for the millions of families that have gathered around the shady area of the slide to watch their children at play…it will always hold a special place.
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