There was life before Great America.
Indeed the region was filled with scores of amusement parks from the 1960s through the 1990s. Despenza's Kiddie Kingdom in Oak Brook Terrace. Kiddieland in Melrose Park. Fun Town at 95th and Stony Island. Old Chicago, the short-lived indoor amusement park and mall in Bolingbrook. Adventureland in Addison. And much much more. Almost all of those parks--including all the aforementioned--are gone now.
Santa's Village, located in Dundee, closed in 2006. Youtube poster stevesteve8383 shot images of the abandoned surroundings in 2008 and created the haunting but imminently-watchable video that tops this post. Adding Tears for Fears "Mad World" was a nice touch.
At least a potion of the old Santa's Village reopened as a petting zoo last fall. The rides and attractions seen in the video, however, are long gone.
To see what the rides looked like in their heyday, check out this commercial from 1987: