The first ever-themed attraction in that country was born in a small town in southern Indiana.

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santa's Candy Castle on Facebook/ CANVA
santa's Candy Castle on Facebook/ CANVA
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Santa Claus, Indiana

Did you know that southern Indiana is home to the first-ever themed attraction in the country?  It's true! You can find it in little ole Santa Claus, Indiana.  For being a town with a population of just over 2,580 people (per the 2020 Census data), Santa Claus is no stranger to making national headlines due to the town's unique name.  Not only is Santa Claus, Indiana known for being a town that celebrates Christmas 24/7, 365 days a year, but it's also known for many of its themed attractions.  The biggest of course being Holiday World and Splashin' Safari.  But did you know the first-ever themed attraction in the country is located in Santa Claus?

Santa's Candy Castle

In 1935 a unique candy store opened its doors, Santa's Candy Castle.  This store looked like a castle and was filled with all kinds of candy,  It turns out the grand opening of this store was a huge deal because Santa's Candy Castle is known as the first-ever themed attraction in the nation.

Santa's Candy Castle Facebook
Santa's Candy Castle Facebook
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The first building in Santa Claus Town was Santa’s Candy Castle, a red brick building with all the elements of a real castle that looked as though it was lifted from the pages of a fairytale.  It was sponsored by The Curtiss Candy Company, the creators of the Baby Ruth and Butterfinger candy bars, who were famous for their larger-than-life advertising campaigns.  Santa’s Candy Castle was dedicated amidst tremendous fanfare on the cold, snowy day of December 22, 1935.  With broadcast television still years away, the formal dedication ceremony was broadcast live by radio station WGBF of Evansville.  Thousands attended the dedication including national business leaders, politicians, and most importantly, many very excited young children.  The grand affair marked the opening of Santa Claus, Indiana’s first tourist attraction and the first themed attraction in the United States.

 

Santa's Candy Castle Facebook
Santa's Candy Castle Facebook
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Santa's Candy Castle's history wasn't all fun, unfortunately, this unique candy store sat closed for more than 3-decades, but in 2006 reopened its doors with a grand reopening ceremony, and as they say, the rest is history! The full history of Santa's Candy Castle is quite fascinating, if you want to read more about it, you can find it, here.

If you have never been to Santa's Candy Castle, it's worth the drive! My mom and I have made a fun tradition of heading up to Santa's Candy Castle to get candy for stocking stuffers, and grab a frozen hot chocolate for the ride home!

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Gallery Credit: Jennnifer Billock

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