Now, this is Holiday World. Immediately the welcome is warm, the layout is logical and the feel is quaint; despite the lengthy lists of world-famous rides. While I was visiting, a roller coaster club from England was there to ride The Voyage, which holds the world record of the most air time for any wooden coaster.
“The park has grown in its 67 years, but we want to grow the park and keep that feel of Mayberry. We never want people to lose that feel of they’re coming home; that they’re part of a neighborhood when they’re here,” Werne told me in Holiday World’s Christmas-themed area designed for younger children; an original sign from when the park was Santa Claus land welcomes toddlers to the rides and reminds park-goers of the park’s foundation.
“We were the first theme park, ever. There were amusement parks, but Santa Claus land was the very first theme park. Santa Claus Land even came before Disney Land, obviously Walt did well for himself, but we were the very first one,” Werne said with a smile.
Today, the original Santa-Claus styled theme exists throughout the park, but there are more themes that have been added: Halloween, Thanksgiving and Fourth of July divide the park into themed sections, with each section boasting matching rides and restaurants to coordinate with the theme.
But, it’s the water element that has literally sent waves of cheers from those who visit. Splashin’ Safari doesn’t require extra admission. In fact, one can hop on the three wooden coasters in the morning and cool off for a southern Indiana afternoon all on the same $39.95 admission ticket (discounted group rates can be found online).
The water park is home to the nation’s largest water ride and the world’s second largest, the title was just lost to a water park in Italy according to Werne.