Holiday World & Splashin' Safari
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|Slogan||#1 for Family Fun!|
|Location||Santa Claus, Indiana, United States|
|Owner||Koch Development Corporation|
|Operated by||Koch Development Corporation|
|General Manager||Matthew Eckert|
|Opened||August 3, 1946|
|Previous names||Santa Claus Land (1946-83)|
|Operating season||April through October|
|Visitors per annum||1,100,000+|
|Area||125 acres (0.51 km2)|
Holiday World & Splashin' Safari (known as Santa Claus Land prior to 1984) is a combination theme park and water park located near Interstate 64 and U.S. 231 in Santa Claus, Indiana, United States. The theme park is divided into four sections that celebrate Christmas, Halloween, Thanksgiving and the Fourth of July with rides, live entertainment, games, and attractions. Holiday World is known for its three wooden roller coasters: The Raven, The Legend, and The Voyage, as well as for Thunderbird, a B&M launched Wing Coaster and The Howler. The safari-themed water park includes the world's two longest water coasters: Wildebeest and Mammoth, numerous family raft rides and water slides, two wave pools, a lazy river, two family "tipping bucket" water-play attractions, plus dedicated children's slides and play areas.
- 1 History
- 2 Themed areas
- 3 Defunct rides and attractions
- 4 Mascots and characters
- 5 Entertainment
- 6 Special events
- 7 Awards
- 8 Incidents
- 9 References
- 10 External links
Santa Claus Land
Plans for what would become Santa Claus Land, and later Holiday World & Splashin' Safari, were first conceived as a retirement project by Louis J. Koch, a retired industrialist from Evansville, Indiana. In 1941, Koch visited the town of Santa Claus, Indiana. A family man and father of nine children, it bothered him that children traveled to the town only to be disappointed when they discovered Santa Claus was not there. In response, Koch developed the idea for a park where children could have fun and visit Santa year-round. Although initial construction plans were delayed by World War II, construction of Santa Claus Land eventually began on August 4, 1945. At this time, Indiana had only one Amusement Park which was Indiana Beach (at the time called Ideal Beach) that had opened in 1926, 20 years before Santa Claus Land opened.
Opening to 1954
Santa Claus Land opened on August 3, 1946. At no cost, the park offered a Santa, a toy shop, toy displays, a restaurant, and themed children's rides, one of which was The Freedom Train. After overcoming doubts about the park's ability for success, Louis Koch's son, William A. "Bill" Koch, Sr., took over as head of Santa Claus Land. In the following years, Bill Koch continued to add to the park, including the first Jeep-Go-Round ever manufactured, a new restaurant, and a deer farm which was eventually home to fourteen European white fallow deer.
1955 to 1975
Beginning in 1955, Santa Claus Land charged admission for the first time; adults were charged 50 cents while children continued to be admitted for free. Despite the new cost of admission, attendance continued to grow with the park. The Pleasureland ride section, which exists today as Rudolph's Reindeer Ranch, debuted in 1955. In the early 1970s, additional children's rides, including Dasher's Seahorses, Comet's Rockets, Blitzen's Airplanes, and Prancer's Merry-Go-Round, were added to this section. From 1959 to 1961, the first live entertainment, the Willie Bartley Water Ski Thrill Show, performed on Lake Rudolph each summer. A Santa Claus Choir composed of local children also performed at the park in 1970 and 1971.
In 1960, Bill Koch married Patricia "Pat" Yellig, the daughter of Jim Yellig, the park's Santa Claus. Bill and Pat Koch would have five children: Will, Kristi, Daniel, Philip, and Natalie.
1976 to 1983
In 1976, Santa Claus Land shifted its focus, along with its entrance, which was moved from State Road 162 to its present location on State Road 245. The park began to focus on the entire family, rather than just children. The park added nine new rides by 1984, eight of which they hoped would appeal to older children and adults alike. Eagle's Flight, Rough Riders, Roundhouse, Virginia Reel, Scarecrow Scrambler, Lewis & Clark Trail, Paul Revere's Midnight Ride, and Thunder Bumpers on Chesapeake Bay were all targeted towards families, while Dancer's Thunder Bumpers Junior was built for children who weren't quite ready for the larger version of the ride.
1984 to 1992
By 1984, the Koch Family had realized the theming possibilities beyond Christmas. Santa Claus Land soon saw the first major expansion in park history with the addition of a Halloween section and a Fourth of July section. With the inclusion of more than just Christmas, Santa Claus Land formally changed its name to Holiday World. In the following years, Frightful Falls and Banshee were added to the Halloween section, Raging Rapids was added to the Fourth of July section in 1990, and Kringle's Kafé restaurant was built in the Christmas section.
It was also during this time period that Holiday World saw a change in leadership. Will Koch, the eldest of Bill Koch's children, took over as President of the park. Another of Bill Koch's children, Daniel "Dan" Koch, became chairman of the board.
Holiday World & Splashin' Safari
1993 to 2005
The addition of Splashin' Safari in 1993 welcomed a new era for the theme park. In its first year of operation, Splashin' Safari operated with Congo River, Crocodile Isle, AmaZOOM, and Bamboo Chute. The Wave was added the following year.
The addition of The Raven wooden roller coaster to the Halloween section in 1995 gained the park national attention. The roller coaster was named "Ride of the Year" and was voted as the world's second best wooden roller coaster. In 2000, The Raven was ranked as the #1 wooden roller coaster in the world by Amusement Today magazine. It held the top spot for a total of four years. As of the 2011 awards, The Raven has remained ranked among the top twenty wooden roller coasters in the world.
Over the next four years, the park made only two additions. The first was the addition of Monsoon Lagoon in Splashin' Safari. The second was the replacement of Firecracker with Holidog's FunTown, a children's play area featuring Holidog's Treehouse, The Howler, Doggone Trail, and Magic Waters.
In 2000, the park added a second wooden roller coaster. The Legend, based on Washington Irving's "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow", immediately adjacent to The Raven. The Legend's ranking reached its peak in 2002, when it was voted the fourth best wooden roller coaster in the world. Much like The Raven, The Legend continues to be ranked among the top twenty wooden roller coasters in the world, as of the 2011 awards. In 2000, the park also began offering its guests free unlimited soft drinks, a service which brought international attention to the park. Holiday World was the first park in the world to offer this service to its guests.
For the next five years, the park's additions grew steadily. In 2002, ZOOMbabwe, the world's largest enclosed water slide, was added to Splashin' Safari. In 2003, Splashin' Safari added Zinga on top of The Legend's spiral drop, a ProSlide Tornado, while Holiday World replaced Banshee with Hallowswings and the Hall of Famous Americans wax museum with Liberty Launch. In 2004, the park continued to add onto the water park, adding Jungle Racer and Jungle Jets. Bahari Wave Pool was added in 2005, which marked the beginning of an expansion project that would double the size of Splashin' Safari.
Holiday World & Splashin' Safari received its most sought after award in 2004, when it earned the Applause Award from the International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions. To win the award, awarded every two years, a park must show "foresight, originality and creativity, plus sound business development and profitability." With an attendance of 883,000 that year, Holiday World was the smallest park to ever receive the award.
2006 to 2013
The 2006 season marked the 60th anniversary of Holiday World. The park marked it by adding a brand new section: Thanksgiving. To complement the section, the park added two new rides. The first was Gobbler Getaway, a Sally Corporation interactive dark ride. The main ride, though, was the introduction of a third wooden roller coaster, The Voyage. The addition of The Voyage gained the park national attention once again, as the roller coaster claimed the record for most air-time of any wooden roller coaster at 24.2 seconds. It is also the second longest wooden roller coaster in the world behind only The Beast at Kings Island. In its first year of operation, The Voyage was awarded the title of "Best New Ride" and #2 wooden roller coaster in the world. From 2007 to 2011, The Voyage was awarded the title of #1 wooden roller coaster in the world by the readers of Amusement Today magazine. Also added in 2006 was Bahari River in Splashin' Safari. It was named the "Best New Waterpark Ride" by Amusement Today magazine.
Over the next three years, Holiday World & Splashin' Safari opened several new additions. Bakuli and Kima Bay were added to Splashin' Safari, Turkey Whirl and Plymouth Rock Café were added to the Thanksgiving section, the Star Spangled Carousel replaced Thunder Bumpers on Chesapeake Bay in the Fourth of July section, and Reindeer Games replaced Kids Castle in the Christmas section. In 2009, Holiday World continued to break records by opening the world's tallest water ride, Pilgrims Plunge, in the Thanksgiving section of the park. Pilgrims Plunge deviated from the standard of using a sloped lift hill, instead opting for an open-air elevator system that takes riders to a height of 135 feet (41 m) before dropping them at a forty-five degree angle. Pilgrims Plunge was renamed to Giraffica in 2013 when the boundaries between the Thanksgiving section and the water park were slightly altered.
Splashin' Safari broke another record in 2010, when Wildebeest was opened. When Wildebeest opened, it was the world's longest water coaster at 1,710 feet (520 m) long. It was also among the first water coasters to use linear induction motors, rather than water jets or conveyor belts, to propel riders up hills. Wildebeest was named "Best New Waterpark Ride" in 2010, as well as "Best Waterpark Ride" in 2010, 2011, and 2012. The park broke its own record just two years later, in 2012, when Mammoth opened. Mammoth, which is the most expensive ride the park has ever added, is 1,763 feet (537 m) long, making it the longest water coaster in the world.
In February 2010, Holiday World's rival park, Kentucky Kingdom in Louisville, Kentucky, announced that it would be closing permanently and ending operations after park operator Six Flags could not reach a lease agreement for the property. Several members of the Koch family later expressed interest into reviving the park in 2012, but later backed out of the deal.
The park suffered a sudden loss in June 2010 when President and CEO Will Koch died while swimming at his home. Although the Spencer County coroner listed the official cause of death as drowning, family and park officials believe Koch's type 1 diabetes played a factor in his death. Soon after his death, Holiday World & Splashin' Safari named Will's younger brother Dan as the park's new President. Dan Koch served as the park's President until late 2012, shortly after which the board of directors announced Matt Eckert as the new President. Matt Eckert was previously one of the parks two general managers. Eckert is the first park President not related to the Koch family. Will Koch's widow Lori and their three children retain primary ownership in the park and its parent company, Koch Development Corporation. Dan Koch, along with his sister Natalie, would go on in 2014 to form Koch Family Parks and buy Alabama Splash Adventure, a previously troubled theme park in Bessemer, Alabama.
In recent years, the park has replaced some of its older rides with newer rides. In Holiday World, Blitzen's Airplanes was replaced with Rudolph's Round-Up in 2011 and in 2012 Paul Revere's Midnight Ride was replaced with Sparkler, a 65 feet (20 m) tall Zamperla Vertical Swing ride. Due to limited vertical clearance for Sparkler, the park decided to relocate Star Spangled Carousel to the former location of Paul Revere's Midnight Ride and to place Sparkler in the carousel's place. The following year, Holiday World removed part of Holidog's Treehouse to make room for a new tea cup ride called Kitty's Tea Party. In 2013, the park also removed the only original remaining ride, The Freedom Train, citing maintenance concerns; it was replaced by another train ride which the park named Holidog Express. In Splashin' Safari, Jungle Jets was replaced with Safari Sam's SplashLand in 2011. In 2013, AmaZOOM, Bamboo Chute, Congo River, and Crocodile Isle were removed to make room for a new Splashin' Safari entry plaza; in its place, Hyena Falls and Hyena Springs were added to the north of Giraffica.
2014 and 2015 expansions
On September 6, 2013, Holiday World announced plans for a 2014 expansion totaling $8 million. The highlight of the announcement was a new swinging ship ride called the Mayflower, which is located in the park's Thanksgiving section just to the north of Gobbler Getaway. This ride is the first of a series of rides intended to bring the focus back on the theme park after several years of major additions to the water park. Mayflower has a capacity of 60 riders and swings 54 feet over a pool of water. In addition to Mayflower, the park announced a new restaurant and shop in Splashin' Safari, more cabanas, additional benches and shade structures, parking lot improvements, and the addition of fireworks on Friday nights between June 13 and August 1.
Giraffica closed at the end of 2013 citing technical problems and was partially removed shortly thereafter.
On July 24, 2014, the park announced the construction of Thunderbird, a launched Bolliger & Mabillard Wing Coaster, for the 2015 season, occupying the area north of Hyena Falls and intertwining with The Voyage. This is B&M's first launched coaster (The Incredible Hulk Coaster at Universal's Islands of Adventure's launch was created by Universal, not B&M). The coaster reaches speeds up to 100 kilometres per hour (62 mph) in 3.5 seconds and the tallest vertical loop on a Wing Coaster. It is also the park's first major steel roller coaster, as The Raven, The Legend, and "The Voyage" are all wooden.
Holiday World is divided into four holiday-themed sections: Christmas, Halloween, Fourth of July, and Thanksgiving. Each of the sections features rides, games, food, and other attractions that follow the theme of that section's respective holiday. The music that plays over the loud speakers in each section is also themed to that section's respective holiday; guests will often notice the music change as they enter a different section. Splashin' Safari, which is connected to the theme park via entrances in the Halloween and Thanksgiving sections, takes the general theme of a safari.
Upon admission to Holiday World, guests immediately enter the Christmas section. The Christmas section is the oldest section of Holiday World, dating back to 1946. It was also the only themed area of the park until 1984. Although devoid of any major rides, there is a small sub-section called Rudolph's Reindeer Ranch which is home to several small children's rides. Notable landmarks in this section include a Santa Claus statue, a Christmas tree, a nativity scene, and the Applause fountain, which was added after the park was awarded the IAAPA Applause Award in 2004. The Christmas section of the park also includes one of the park's two air-conditioned restaurants: Kringle's Kafé, which serves standard theme park fare such as pizza, burgers, and ice cream. Since the park's opening in 1946, Santa Claus has been available daily throughout the season to chat with children.
|Comet's Rockets||1970s||Christmas||Children's rocket ride|
|Dasher's Seahorses||1970s||Christmas||Children's seahorse ride|
|Prancer's Merry-Go-Round||1970s||Christmas||Children's carousel|
|Reindeer Games||2008||Christmas||Three-story family drop ride|
|Rudolph's Round-Up||2011||Christmas||Children's sleigh ride|
|Dancer's Fish||1970s||Christmas||Fish-go-round (Bulgy the Whale)|
The Halloween section was one of two new holidays added in 1984. Two of the three wooden roller coasters in the park are located here: The Raven, and The Legend. The area also has a Goblin Burgers restaurant, which resembles a witch's house, the Frightful Falls log flume that intertwines with The Legend, and the main entrance to Splashin' Safari water park. Apart from the architecture, guests will hear the school bell from The Legend's station ringing ominously throughout the section. It introduced Kitty Claws as its mascot in 2012.
|Scarecrow Scrambler||1976||Eli Bridge Company||Classic scrambler ride|
|Frightful Falls||1984||Log flume|
|The Raven||1995||Custom Coasters International||Wooden roller coaster themed after Edgar Allan Poe's poem "The Raven"|
|The Legend||2000||Custom Coasters International||Wooden roller coaster themed after Washington Irving's short story "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow"|
|HallowSwings||2003||Zamperla||Custom-made Zamperla flying carousel swing ride|
Fourth of July
The Fourth of July section was the second of the two holidays that were added in 1984. It introduced George the Eagle as its mascot. This area features more attractions than any of the four sections in the theme park. Landmarks in this section include the Hoosier Celebration Theater, where many live shows are performed; the Good Old Days Picnic Grove, where numerous shelter houses may be rented out for company picnics; and The Alamo restaurant, which serves traditional Mexican food. The Fourth of July section is also home to a sub-section called Holidog's FunTown, a children's play area which is completely encircled by Holidog Express. Keeping with the Fourth of July theme, there is also a monument with several American flags located right across from The Alamo restaurant in the center of the section.
|Eagles Flight||1976||Flying Scooter|
|Rough Riders||1976||Bumper cars themed after former President Theodore Roosevelt's Rough Riders|
|Lewis & Clark Trail||1978||Tin Lizzie antique car ride|
|Tippecanoes||1988||Children's canoe ride; originally called Indian River Canoes, but renamed to Tippecanoes in 2016|
|Raging Rapids in Boulder Canyon||1990||River rapids ride|
|Liberty Launch||2003||Seven-story S&S Double Shot|
|Revolution||2005||Dartron Zero Gravity Round Up ride|
|Star Spangled Carousel||2008||Carousel|
|Holidog Express||2013||Ridable miniature train ride|
|Holidog's Treehouse||1999||Three-story play structure|
|Just for Pups||1999||Smaller version of Holidog's Treehouse that is designed for small children|
|The Howler||1999||Zamperla||Family steel roller coaster|
|Doggone Trail||1999||Children's jeep ride|
|Magic Waters||1999||Spray park area|
|Kitty's Tea Party||2013||Zamperla||Classic tea cup ride|
The Thanksgiving section is the newest section of the park, added in 2006 to commemorate Holiday World's 60th anniversary. The anchor attraction of this section is The Voyage which wraps around parts of the midway; guests walk under The Voyage 's brake run upon entering the section through Fourth of July. In the back of the Thanksgiving section is Thunderbird, the wing coaster, and a secondary entrance to Splashin' Safari. In addition to The Voyage and Thunderbird, the Thanksgiving section includes the second of the park's two air-conditioned restaurants: Plymouth Rock Café, which serves typical Thanksgiving food such as turkey, prime rib, stuffing, green beans, and bread rolls. Turkeys can often be heard "gobbling" throughout the section as sounds emanate from the Gobbler Getaway ride and Pilgrims' Challenge game.
|The Voyage||2006||The Gravity Group||Wooden roller coaster themed after the voyage the Pilgrims made to America in 1620|
|Gobbler Getaway||2006||Sally Corporation||Interactive dark ride|
|Turkey Whirl||2007||Sellner Manufacturing||Turkey-themed Tilt-A-Whirl|
|Mayflower||2014||Chance Rides||Swinging ship themed after the Mayflower|
|Thunderbird||2015||Bolliger & Mabillard||A launched wing coaster themed around the legendary Thunderbird's flight|
|Crow's Nest||2015||Zamperla||A 65-foot (20 meter) tall vertical swing ride. Originally known as Sparkler when in the Fourth of July section.|
Splashin' Safari, the water park Holiday World added in 1993, has consistently ranked among the best water parks in the United States, even being named as the #1 water park in the United States by TripAdvisor in 2011. The water park takes the general theme of a safari, with ride names featuring various animals, rivers, and Swahili words. Holiday World has added onto its water park every year from 2002 to 2013. Among those additions are the world's two longest water coasters: Wildebeest and Mammoth, which are also, respectively, the third and first most expensive additions ever made to the park. Unlike a number of other theme parks that necessitate a separate admission fee for the water park, entry to Splashin' Safari is included with admission to Holiday World.
|The Wave||1994||Splashin' Safari||Zero-entry-depth wave pool [Maximum depth: 6 feet (1.8 m)]|
|Butterfly Bay||1994||Splashin' Safari||Smaller zero-entry-depth wave pool for children [Maximum depth: 18 inches (46 cm)]|
|Watubee||1996||Splashin' Safari||Open family river rapids ride allowing up to five riders|
|Otorongo||1997||Splashin' Safari||Collection of three intertwining enclosed inline tube slides named "Otto", "Ron", and "Go"|
|Monsoon Lagoon||1998||Splashin' Safari||Interactive waterplay complex [Average depth: 18 inches (46 cm)] featuring four body slides and a tipping bucket containing 1,000 US gallons (3,800 L) of water|
|ZOOMbabwe||2002||Splashin' Safari||Enclosed family river rapids ride allowing up to four riders|
|Zinga||2003||Splashin' Safari||Eight-story ProSlide Tornado allowing up to four riders|
|Jungle Racer||2004||Splashin' Safari||Five-story ProSlide ProRacer with ten lanes|
|Bahari Wave Pool||2005||Splashin' Safari||Zero-entry-depth wave pool [Maximum depth: 6 feet (1.8 m)] featuring geysers and water jets|
|Bahari River||2006||Splashin' Safari||Lazy river [Depth: 28 inches (71 cm)]|
|Bakuli||2007||Splashin' Safari||ProSlide Behemoth Bowl allowing up to four riders|
|Kima Bay||2008||Splashin' Safari||WhiteWater West AquaPlay RainFortress [Average depth: 18 inches (46 cm)] featuring seven body slides, 125 water jets, and a tipping bucket containing 1,200 US gallons (4,500 L) of water|
|Wildebeest||2010||Splashin' Safari||1,710 feet (520 m) long ProSlide HydroMagnetic Rocket water coaster allowing up to four riders|
|Safari Sam's SplashLand||2011||Splashin' Safari||Children's play area featuring an activity pool [Maximum depth: 18 inches (46 cm)] with interactive water elements and eight open and enclosed body slides|
|Mammoth||2012||Splashin' Safari||1,763 feet (537 m) long ProSlide HydroMagnetic Mammoth water coaster allowing up to six riders|
|Hyena Falls||2013||Splashin' Safari||Collection of four enclosed inline tube slides, the largest of which includes a half-pipe element|
|Hyena Springs||2013||Splashin' Safari||Children's spray pad play area|
Defunct rides and attractions
|Jeep-Go-Round||1947||Unknown||Christmas||Children's jeep ride; it was the first of its kind ever manufactured|
|Bungee Jump||1992||1992||Halloween||Crane-based bungee jump show; temporarily replaced the high dive show|
|Stormin' Norman's Tank Tag||1992||1996||Fourth of July||Series of miniature tanks that up to three guests could ride; replaced by The Alamo|
|Firecracker||1981||1997||Fourth of July||Pinfari Zyklon Z47 steel roller coaster; replaced by Holidog's FunTown|
|Frontier Farm||1948||1999||Fourth of July||Petting zoo with a collection of animals, including baby goats, lambs, and 14 reindeer named after Santa Claus's reindeer|
|Banshee||1986||2002||Halloween||Chance Falling Star; replaced by Hallowswings|
|Hall of Famous Americans||1950s||2002||Fourth of July||Wax museum with an emphasis on American Presidents and American History; replaced by Liberty Launch|
|Roundhouse||1976||2004||Fourth of July||Round Up; replaced by Revolution, a larger version of the same ride|
|Virginia Reel||1976||2005||Fourth of July||Tilt-A-Whirl; removed to make room for an additional path to the Thanksgiving section; replaced by Turkey Whirl, a new and relocated version of the same ride|
|Kids' Castle||1992||2007||Christmas||Children's soft play structure, including a slide, trampoline, and ball pit; replaced by Reindeer Games|
|Deer Playground||1992||2007||Christmas||Smaller version of Kids' Castle, including a crawl-through train and small ball pit for younger children; replaced by Reindeer Games|
|Thunder Bumpers on Chesapeake Bay||1980||2007||Fourth of July||Bumper boats; replaced by Star Spangled Carousel|
|Jungle Jets||2004||2010||Splashin' Safari||Family spray area, featuring numerous water features; replaced by Safari Sam's SplashLand|
|Blitzen's Airplanes||1970s||2010||Christmas||Children's airplane ride; replaced by Rudolph's Round-Up|
|Paul Revere's Midnight Ride||1978||2011||Fourth of July||Eyerly Spider; replaced by Sparkler, which switched locations with Star Spangled Carousel so that the carousel is now located in Paul Revere's Midnight Ride's old location|
|Betsy Ross Doll House||1946||2011||Fourth of July||Walk-through attraction featuring a collection of antique dolls; originally built in 1856 as the town of Santa Claus' first post office, it was converted into a doll house attraction when Santa Claus Land opened in 1946; the building was moved off-site to be a part of a local museum|
|AmaZOOM||1993||2012||Splashin' Safari||Enclosed inline tube slide allowing single riders only; removed to make room for a new Splashin' Safari entry plaza|
|Bamboo Chute||1993||2012||Splashin' Safari||Inline tube slide with both open and enclosed sections allowing both single and double riders; removed to make room for a new Splashin' Safari entry plaza|
|Congo River||1993||2012||Splashin' Safari||Lazy river; removed to make room for a new Splashin' Safari entry plaza|
|Crocodile Isle||1993||2012||Splashin' Safari||Children's play area featuring two pools connected by two body slides; removed to make room for a new Splashin' Safari entry plaza|
|The Freedom Train||1946||2012||Fourth of July||Ridable miniature train whose engine was a ¼ scale model of a Baltimore and Ohio locomotive; removed due to deterioration and replaced by Holidog Express|
|Giraffica||2009||2013||Splashin' Safari||Intamin shoot the chute ride featuring a 135 feet (41 m) tall open-air elevator; originally called Pilgrims Plunge (2009–2012); removed after the 2013 season due to downtime and reliability.|
|Dancer's Thunder Bumpers Junior||1982||2013||Christmas||Children's bumper boats; replaced by Salmon Run, that was originally in Fourth of July.|
Mascots and characters
Rather than sign licensed characters for the park, Holiday World has developed several mascots and characters including:
- Santa Claus– A man who is the mascot of the Christmas section.
- 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 patriotic clothing who is the mascot of the Fourth of July section.
- Kitty Claws – A black cat wearing a Halloween-themed tutu, ballet shoes, a bow, and a mini masquerade mask who is the mascot of the Halloween section. Introduced in 2012.
Holiday World & Splashin' Safari offers a variety of live entertainment, including singing, dancing, and diving. All shows are performed at least six days per week when the park is in daily operation.
- Santa's Storytime Theater
This is a theater where children are invited to sit with Santa Claus on stage as he reads a story and sings Christmas songs. During hot weather, Santa appears in the air-conditioned fudge and coffee shop Mrs. Klaus' Kitchen.
- Holiday Theater
This is an indoor theater that features Santa Claus, who is available daily for picture taking. During inclement weather, "Santa's Storytime" may be moved to this theater. Holiday Theater often hosts special events at the park, such as expansion announcements or the Golden Ticket Awards. During especially hot days, the park opens this theater to guests so they can cool off in the air conditioning.
Located at the High Dive Theater, "Dive!" is a daily show where divers perform numerous dives detailing the history of diving. Divers dive from various heights, including one from a perch 80 feet (24 m) high into 10 feet (3.0 m) of water. In another portion of the show, a diver nicknamed "Hot Stuff" lights themselves on fire before dancing to the song "Hot Stuff" and diving into the water.
- Hoosier Celebration Theater
This theater is an outdoor theater where a number of live shows are performed daily. Shows performed at this theater include "Real Country", where performers sing and dance to a variety of country music songs; "Vinyl Daze", where performers sing and dance to a number of hit songs; and "Rejoice!", where performers sing and dance to Christian music.
- Holidog's All-Star Theater
This is a theater located inside of Holidog's FunTown where the show "Holidog's Beach Party" is performed. The show is geared toward children and features Holidog, George the Eagle, and Kitty Claws (See: Mascots and Characters) singing and dancing to a variety of songs.
Legacy is an a cappella quartet that performs daily, except Mondays, in the Christmas, Halloween, and Fourth of July sections. In the Christmas section, Legacy performs the songs "Have a Holiday" and "Summertime in the Park". In the Halloween section, Legacy performs the songs "Thriller" and "Boogie/Spooky". In the Fourth of July section, Legacy performs the songs "American Soldier", "My Country, 'Tis of Thee", and "Give Me Your Tired".
Through the years, Holiday World has been the host of several weddings. Couples have been married on the defunct Bungee Jump, in The Wave wave pool, and in a hot air balloon tethered at the park. In 1995, a dozen couples, who completely filled the ride, were simultaneously married on The Raven. A couple was also married atop the lift hill of The Voyage by an Elvis impersonator in 2008.
- Golden Ticket Awards:
Since 1998, Amusement Today magazine has brought dozens of amusement park industry leaders together to honor the best of the best at an annual event called the Golden Ticket Awards. Holiday World has hosted this event three times. Holiday World & Splashin' Safari was the first ever park to host the event in 2000. Holiday World also hosted the awards in 2006 and 2011. The awards ceremony has been hosted in Holiday Theater in the Christmas section.
- Play Day:
Every year since 1993, Holiday World & Splashin' Safari has hosted thousands of children with mental and physical disabilities for an event called "Play Day". Play Day is for invited guests of the Easter Seals Rehabilitation Center of Southwestern Indiana. The admission price for Play Day is $9, with all proceeds being donated to the Easter Seals. As of 2011, Holiday World has raised over $257,000 for the Easter Seals Rehabilitation Center.
- Walk to Cure Diabetes:
Every year since 2006, Holiday World has hosted thousands of walkers for the "Holiday World Walk to Cure Diabetes", which is a walk to raise money for the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF). To raise money, Holiday World donates tickets to walkers who have raised money for JDRF. As of 2011, over $1.7 million has been raised for JDRF with the help of Holiday World.
- HoliWood Nights:
HoliWood Nights is an event held for card-carrying members of recognized amusement park-related clubs and their registered guests. The event features exclusive ride time (ERT) on the park's three wooden roller coasters, plus a select few other rides, both before park opening and after park closing. The event, which was first known as Stark Raven Mad, was temporarily discontinued in 2003 following a death during the event (See: Incidents). In 2006, the event returned after being renamed HoliWood Nights. The park embraces HoliWood's pun on Hollywood by naming each year's event as a play on the title of a movie. The theme of the 2013 event is "Dig", which is a play on the 1988 movie Big.
- Rock the World:
Since 2012, Holiday World has hosted a Christian music festival called Rock the World on a select Saturday in August. Throughout the day, regional contemporary Christian bands perform in the Hoosier Celebration Theater. Once the park closes for the day, a main stage area opens to those with concert tickets. The main stage features a number of nationally known Christian artists and bands who perform well past normal closing hours. (The main stage acts in 2012 were Jeremy Camp, Tenth Avenue North, BarlowGirl, and Hearts of Saints).
- Happy Halloween Weekends:
Since 2012, Holiday World has remained open in October to hold an event called Happy Halloween Weekends. For the last two weekends in September plus the four weekends in October, the park holds family-friendly, Halloween-themed activities. Some of these seasonal attractions include two corn mazes, hayrides, a 3-D walk-through attraction similar to a family-friendly haunted house, and a family activity area geared towards children located in the Good Ol' Days Picnic Grove. The park transforms itself into a solely Halloween-themed park, with Halloween decorations, Halloween-themed shows, and special Halloween-themed food items. These attractions are hosted in addition to the park's normal offerings of rides, games, and food.
In 2004, Holiday World & Splashin' Safari was presented the Applause Award. To receive this honor, a park must show "foresight, originality and creativity, plus sound business development and profitability." With an attendance of 883,000 that year, Holiday World was the smallest park to ever receive the award. The park celebrated by installing a large replica of the award's trophy as well as commemorative plaques naming other recipients of the award as part of a fountain in the Christmas section.
Holiday World & Splashin' Safari has also received numerous Golden Ticket Awards, which are presented by Amusement Today magazine to the best of the best in the amusement park industry. At 51, Holiday World has received more Golden Ticket Awards than any other amusement park in the world, as of 2016.
|Golden Ticket Awards|
|Friendliest Park||1998–2008, 2010–2011||Entire Park|
|Cleanest Park||2000–2016||Entire Park|
|Best Wooden Roller Coaster||2000–2003||The Raven|
|Best Wooden Roller Coaster||2007–2011||The Voyage|
|Best New Ride||2006||The Voyage|
|Best New Waterpark Ride||2006||Bahari River|
|Best New Waterpark Ride||2007||Bakuli|
|Best New Waterpark Ride||2010||Wildebeest|
|Best New Waterpark Ride||2012||Mammoth|
|Best Waterpark Ride||2003||Zinga|
|Best Waterpark Ride||2010–2013, 2015–2016||Wildebeest|
|Publisher's Pick: Park of the Year||2004||Entire Park|
|Publisher's Pick: Legends Series||2010||Will Koch|
- "Park History". Holiday World. Retrieved 7 November 2011.
- "Timeline". Holiday World. Retrieved 7 November 2011.
- "Holiblog". Holiday World. Retrieved 7 November 2011.
- "Holiday World's Patriarch". Holiday World. Retrieved 7 November 2011.
- "2011 Golden Ticket Awards" (PDF). Amusement Today. Archived from the original (PDF) on 12 March 2012. Retrieved 7 November 2011.
- "Free Drinks Wins Award". Holiday World. Retrieved 7 November 2011.
- "ZOOMbabwe". Holiday World. Retrieved 7 November 2011.
- "IAAPA Applause Award". Holiday World. Retrieved 7 November 2011.
- "Voyage Brings Spotlight to Holiday World". Holiday World. Retrieved 7 November 2011.
- "Best New Rides". Holiday World. Retrieved 7 November 2011.
- "2013 Expansion". Holiday World. Retrieved 23 October 2012.
- "Wildebeest". Holiday World. Retrieved 7 November 2011.
- "Mammoth". Holiday World. Retrieved 7 November 2011.
- "Will Koch Drowned". Evansville Courier & Press. Retrieved 7 November 2011.
- "Holiday World Names New President". Evansville Courier & Press. Retrieved 8 January 2013.
- "Vertical Swing". Holiday World. Retrieved 7 November 2011.
- "Holidog Express Blog". Holiday World. Retrieved 6 September 2013.
- "2014 Expansion Press Release". Holiday World. Retrieved 6 September 2013.
- "Holiday World sets sail with Chance". Park World Magazine: 14. October 2013.
- McCleery, Bill (July 24, 2014). "Holiday World takes flight with $22M Thunderbird wing coaster". Indianapolis Star. Retrieved July 24, 2014.
- "TripAdvisor Rankings". Long Island Press. Retrieved 1 May 2012.
- "Elvis, a Coaster and a Wedding". Evansville Courier & Press. Retrieved 15 November 2011.
- "Play Day". Holiday World. Retrieved 15 November 2011.
- "Walk to Cure Diabetes". Holiday World. Retrieved 15 November 2011.
- "HoliWood Nights". Holiday World. Retrieved 17 November 2012.
- "Rock the World". Holiday World. Retrieved 23 October 2012.
- "Happy Halloween Weekends". Holiday World. Retrieved 23 October 2012.
- "2010 Golden Ticket Awards" (PDF). Amusement Today. Archived from the original (PDF) on July 24, 2011. Retrieved 23 October 2012.
- "2012 Golden Ticket Awards" (PDF). Amusement Today. Archived from the original (PDF) on 19 September 2012. Retrieved 10 September 2012.
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