Holiday World & Splashin' Safari

Holiday World & Splashin' Safari is a family-owned and -operated theme park and water park combo, located near Interstate 64 U.S. 231 in Santa Claus, Indiana, USA.

The theme park celebrates Christmas, Halloween, Thanksgiving and the 4 July with rides, live entertainment, games, and attractions. Holiday World is known for its wooden roller coasters, The Raven, The Legend, and The Voyage. The water park includes a number of family raft slides, two wave pools, two lazy rivers, two family "tipping bucket" water-play attractions, various water slides, plus water activities for children. Holiday World & Splashin' Safari offer guests free unlimited Pepsi soft drinks, free parking, free use of inner tubes and life jackets, plus free sunscreen. The parks are smoke-free, with designated smoking areas available in each themed section of Holiday World plus one by each wave pool in Splashin' Safari.


Holiday World opened on August 3, 1946; it was founded by Louis J. Koch under the name Santa Claus Land. Holiday World was the first themed amusement park in the world, preceding Disneyland by nine years. The park had rides and activities for children and their parents. It was a small park themed around Santa Claus and Christmas. The park still remembers Santa Claus with a large statue at the entrance of the park; it includes a large Christmas Tree and Nativity Scene as well.

In 1984, in order to appeal to a wider age group, the park expanded to include Halloween and Fourth of July sections, and the park's name was changed from Santa Claus Land to Holiday World to reflect the emphasis on additional holidays. Frightful Falls, a log flume ride, was added in 1984. As the park's name changed, so did the names of some of the rides, to reflect the new holidays. For example, the round-up ride called Arctic Circle became known as Roundhouse and later Revolution in the new 4th of July section.

In 1993, Splashin' Safari was added. The water park area initially included Crocodile Isle, a children's water-play area with some animal-themed water slides, an lazy river called Congo River, plus two large water slides. In 1994, a wave pool was added.

Holiday World gained national attention in 1995 when wooden roller coaster The Raven opened at the start of the park's 50th season. It has been rated as the first, second, and third best wooden roller coaster on the planet by Amusement Today[] and Inside Track[] magazines and continues to be named a top-10 wooden coaster in the Golden Ticket Awards given out annually by Amusement Today.[]

Additional water slides and attractions were added to Splashin' Safari in the following years.

The wooden roller coaster The Legend opened in 2000 for the park's 55th season. It has consistently been rated in the top dozen wooden coasters in the Amusement Today Golden Ticket awards.[] This was also the first year for the parks' popular free soft drinks program.

In 2002, Splashin' Safari opened the largest enclosed water slide in the world, called ZOOMbabwe.

In 2006, Holiday World added the Thanksgiving section and additions to Splashin' Safari for its 60th Anniversary. This marked the largest expansion ever for Holiday World and cost over US$13 million. These additions included a new wooden roller coaster, The Voyage. It won the Best New Ride Golden Ticket Award for 2006.[] On September 13, 2006, the park's owner Will Koch taped a segment for The Colbert Report pitting Santa Claus against Abraham Lincoln, another historical figure with ties to southern Indiana. The park's 60th season concluded on October 8, 2006, park broke its all-time attendance record as more than one million visitors came through the gates that year.

In 2007, a $4.5 million expansion included Bakuli, a ProSlide Behemoth Bowl water slide, in Splashin' Safari and Turkey Whirl tilt-a-whirl in Thanksgiving. Also that year, The Voyage was given the Best Wooden Coaster award at the Golden Ticket Awards[] and the park once again had over one million visitors pass through its gates which broke the attendance record set the previous year.[]

In 2008, a $6 million expansion included Kima Bay in Splashin Safari as well as the Star Spangled Carousel in Fourth of July and the Reindeer Games spring ride in the Christmas children's area. The park also retained its crown of Cleanest & Friendliest park at the Golden Ticket Awards. The Voyage also remained the #1 Wooden Roller Coaster at the awards.

In 2009, a Shoot-the-Chute ride called Pilgrims Plunge was added. The ride's 131-foot drop broke the previous record for world's tallest water ride. Rather than the traditional sloped ride to the top of the tower, an open-air elevator lifts the 10-passenger boats. The Intamin Mega Splash ride is located in the Thanksgiving section and is also accessible from Splashin' Safari.

2010 expansion

Holiday World & Splashin' Safari's 2010 expansion, Wildebeest, is the world's longest water coaster. The ProSlide water coaster will be 1,710 feet long. Wildebeest will last two-and-a-half minutes and will consist of hills, drops, twists, and turns.

Wildebeest will begin with a conveyor ride up the water coaster’s lifthill. Following the four-story drop at a 45-degree angle, linear induction motors (LIMs) will propel the four-person rafts up seven additional hills, through three tunnels (two of them underground) and around a helix. Its top speed will be 24.5 mph. Wildebeest’s tallest elevation is 64 feet higher than its lowest drop; the conveyor-style lifthill replaces any slide-tower stairs.

Located in Splashin' Safari, to the north of Bahari wave pool, Wildebeest will cost $5.5 million, the second largest ride project in Holiday World's 64-year history.[]

Also in 2010, new trains for the Voyage will be added. GravityKraft's Timberliner trains will be added on the Voyage's track.

Mascots and characters

Rather than sign licensed characters for the park, Holiday World has developed several mascots and characters including:

  • Holidog - A brown dog who is the mascot of Holiday World
  • Safari Sam - A green crocodile who is the mascot of Splashin' Safari
  • George the Eagle - A bald eagle wearing American flag-themed clothing

Park layout and current rides

Holiday World's attractions are divided into four sections: Christmas, Halloween, Fourth of July, and Thanksgiving (Holidog's FunTown is part of the 4th of July section). Splashin' Safari water park is connected to Holiday World.


The Christmas section is at the entrance to Holiday World and is the oldest section. It includes a Christmas tree, the Applause fountain, a nativity scene, Rudolph's Reindeer Ranch (a collection of kiddie rides), Holiday Theater, as well as Kringle's Kafe. Since the park opened in 1946, Santa Claus has been available daily throughout the season to chat with children. He also invites children on stage with him at Santa's Storytime Theater.

Ride Description
Reindeer Games Three-story spring ride
Dancer's Thunder Bumpers Junior Junior sized bumper boats
Comet's Rockets Children's rocket ride
Dasher's Seahorses Seahorse ride
Prancer's Merry-Go-Round Junior-sized carousel
Blitzen's Airplanes Children's airplane ride


The Halloween section includes the High Dive Theater which features daily high-dive shows, each ending with a high dive from 80 feet (24 m) into 10 feet (3.0 m) of water.

Ride Description
The Raven Wooden roller coaster
Frightful Falls Log flume
Scarecrow Scrambler Scrambler ride
The Legend Wooden roller coaster
HallowSwings Swings ride

Fourth of July

The Fourth of July section is the largest area within the theme park. This section features live music shows and the Betsy Ross Doll house, a walk-through attraction with a collection of antique dolls.

Ride Description
Star Spangled Carousel Carousel
Paul Revere's Midnight Ride Octopus/spider ride
Rough Riders Bumper cars
Revolution Roundup ride
Liberty Launch 8 Story S&S power double shot
Lewis & Clark Trail Tin Lizzie antique car ride
Eagle's Flight Flying scooters
Raging Rapids in Boulder Canyon White water rapids raft ride
Indian River Children's canoe ride
Salmon Run Children's spinning ride with fish themed cars


The newest section, the Thanksgiving themed section of the park premiered on May 6, 2006, to commemorate Holiday World's 60th anniversary. In addition to the rides below, this section also has a gift shop and Plymouth Rock Cafe.

Ride Description
The Voyage Wooden roller coaster
Gobbler Getaway Sally Corporation interactive dark ride
Turkey Whirl Turkey-themed Tilt-A-Whirl
Pilgrims Plunge Intamin mega splash.

Holidog's FunTown

Holidog's FunTown is a play area geared toward children, located on the east edge the Fourth of July section and encircled by The Freedom Train where the defunct Firecracker rollercoaster used to be.

Ride Description
The Freedom Train Miniature scale train
Doggone Trail Children's car ride
The Howler Family/children's roller coaster
Holidog's Treehouse Three-story play structure
Just for Pups Smaller version of Holidog's Treehouse, designed for toddlers
Magic Waters Spray park area

Splashin' Safari

Splashin Safari has the distinction of being the largest waterpark in Indiana, as well as one of the top water parks in the nation.

Ride Description
Bahari Wave Pool Wave pool featuring geysers and water jets
Bahari River Lazy river
Bakuli Six Story ProSlide behemoth bowl
Congo River Lazy river
Kima Bay Whitewater West AquaPlay RainFortress
Monsoon Lagoon SCS interactive discovery treehouse with a 1000 gallon water bucket dump
Otorongo 3 individual intertwining pitch black water slides (Otto, Ron, & Go)
Watubee Family water slide with rafts that can hold up to 5 riders
The Wave Wave pool
Jungle Racer Five story 10-Lane racing water slide
Zinga Eight story ProSlide tornado water slide
ZOOMbabwe Enclosed water slide; rafts can hold up to 4 riders
Jungle Jets Family "sprayground"
Butterfly Bay Children's gentle wave pool adjacent to The Wave
Crocodile Isle Children's play area with small water slides and fountains
AmaZOOM Enclosed water slide
Bamboo Chute Water slide that can be ridden either individually or in two-person inner tubes

Defunct rides and attractions

Ride Description
Thunder Bumpers on Chesapeake Bay Bumper boats; removed after the 2007 season and replaced by Star Spangled Carousel
Kids Castle A children's soft playland; removed after the 2007 season and replaced by Reindeer Games
Banshee Chance Falling Star; removed following the 2003 season and replaced by HallowSwings
Firecracker A Pinfari model Z47 steel Roller Coaster; removed early in the 1998 season and replaced by Holidog's Fun Town in 1999
Virginia Reel Tilt-a-whirl; removed following the 2005 season (and replaced by the Turkey Whirl) to make way for the entrance to the new Thanksgiving section
Roundhouse roundup ride; replaced by The Revolution, a larger version of the roundup ride
Stormin' Norman's Tank Tag Classified as a game, Tank Tag was a series of miniature tanks in the early 1990s that could be ridden by patrons; replaced by The Alamo restaurant
Hall of Famous Americans Wax Museum with an emphasis on American Presidents and American History; replaced by Liberty Launch in 2003
Petting Zoo Petting zoo with a collection of animals, including reindeer
Bungee Jump Fixed crane-based bungee jump show and attraction; the popular high-dive show returned in 1993.


In 2005, Holiday World received the International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions' Applause Award. Holiday World is the smallest park to ever receive the Applause Award. The park marked the award by installing a large version of the award (applauding hands) and commemorative plaques naming the other winning parks in the fountain located in the Christmas section.

Holiday World has received many first place Golden Ticket Awards from Amusement Today magazineincluding:

Award Year Ride
Friendliest Park Staff 1998-2008 Whole Park
Cleanest Park 2000-2009 Whole Park
Best Wooden Roller Coaster 2000-2003 The Raven
Best Waterpark Ride 2003 Zinga
Best New Ride 2006 The Voyage
Best New Waterpark Ride 2006 Bahari River
Best Wooden Roller Coaster 2007-2009 The Voyage
Best New Waterpark Ride 2007 Bakuli

Wacky weddings

Holiday World often plays host to weddings. In the park's history, couples have been married on The Voyage, The Legend, and, in 1995, a dozen couples simultaneously tied the knot on The Raven. Other couples have married in The Wave pool, on the park’s now defunct bungee jump, and in a Santa-themed hot air balloon over the park. During the 2008 season, a couple was married on the top of the Voyage lift hill by a professional Elvis impersonator.

See also

Incidents at Holiday World


External links

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Tips & Hints
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Audra Englebright
18 July 2015
This park is truly incredible! I'm there almost everyday, and I love every minute of it. Plymouth Rock cafe has to best food in the park! (Thanksgiving food) get chicken and dumplings!
27 June 2014
This park is great! The free Pepsi was so nice on a long hot day. No sunburns for us because we used the free sunscreen!❤️????
Ryan Dillman
23 March 2012
Free soda and sunscreen. Check your local supermarket or credit union for discount tickets before you come. Early or late in the season you'll get the best weather and the shortest lines.
Jeffrey Kent
4 August 2017
Great water park. Awesome wooden coasters. Family friendly and good value for the money.
Mackenzie P.
8 June 2017
Best amusant park I've been to! Absolutely fantastic roller coasters and water rides, along with unlimited free drinks and sunscreen!
ᴡ Handy
13 July 2015
Surprisingly good rides! Don't skip any of the coasters. Free soda is best soda.
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580,595 people have been here
452 E Christmas Blvd, Santa Claus, IN 47579, USA Get directions
Sun 9:00 AM–7:00 PM
Mon-Thu 9:00 AM–1:00 PM
Fri 9:00 AM–1:00 PM

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