Are you looking for some good old fashioned family fun? If you are planning a family fun day or your “stay-cation” make sure you check out Holiday World and Splashin’ Safari in Santa Claus, Indiana. My family spent most of the day Sunday in the theme park and checked out a few of the other attractions in town.
I can remember going to Holiday World when I was a child. It was a fun and magical place. Taking my children this weekend made it fun and magical again. Holiday World and Splashin’ Safari is by far the cleanest theme park I’ve been to. And not just this trip, it is always very clean, including the restrooms.
This theme park used to be named “Santa Claus Land”, that’s what it was when I was little. Sometime over the years it was renamed Holiday World. While there, you can “celebrate” Christmas, Thanksgiving, Halloween and the 4th of July. Santa Claus is available for story time and free photos at scheduled times throughout the day. They also offer several other shows daily. “Dive” is a personal favorite of mine.
This family-friendly park has so much to offer! With free soft drinks (Pepsi products) and sunscreen a plenty throughout the park there is really not a whole lot left that you “have to” spend money on. They also have a picnic area located near the entrance in the parking area. We chose to eat lunch at “Kringle’s Kafe”, one of the two air-conditioned restaurants there. This Kafe offers pizza, hamburgers, pasta, hot dogs, fries, etc. It was a great choice for us since we have four small kids. All six of us had lunch for $27.31. Portions are filling and while food is readily available, everything was fresh and hot when we got it.
Customer service is important to me. I don’t like to be treated like I’m doing someone a favor by patronizing their establishment. The Koch family should be proud of their employees on all levels. We bought some sandals for my daughter in the Splashin’ Safari area because her flip flops broke. They didn’t have pink in her size. I asked if they happened to have some in the back. The cashier gladly went to check. During the three minutes she was gone; five shop clerks stopped and asked if we had been helped. It was amazing and almost funny when they kept coming over. Yes, the shop was busy, they weren’t bored.
Later in the afternoon we stopped for ice cream inside Kringle’s Kafe. They have generous servings of a variety of hand-dipped flavors and split an order for my youngest children because the serving size was too large for them to each have one.
New this year is “Rudolph’s Round-up” located in the Christmas section. This is a ride for young children. My kids didn’t want to get off when it was over. It’s a series of sleighs that fly high and low in a circle. The bright colors on the sleighs and the steering wheels in each one were a big hit with my family. Also new is “Splash Land” in the water park. It’s another area for younger children with a splash area and smaller/shorter slides they can enjoy.
Another new offering is “HoliCash”. I actually missed information on this until I looked at the map later in the day, but it is a wrist band you wear that you load money to so you don’t have to keep track of your cash, credit cards, wallet during your visit. You can use the wrist band in any shop in the park and they have kiosks available in the gift shops to add more money to it. I would have used this if I had seen information about it earlier in the day.
My family had a great time. Our kids are ages five, three and we have two year old twins. All of them were able to ride several rides and have fun in the water park. Holiday World has a great “Lost Parents & Height Measurement” system. You have your child’s height measured and they are given a wristband with a color associated with that height. It makes things so much easier when you get to a ride, you don’t have to guess if your child is going to be able to ride or not and don’t have to live through their tears of disappointment when you find out they are an inch too short at the boarding of the ride. The wrist band is also registered in a log book with your cell phone number, just in case.
If you go, check out their website www.holidayworld.com they have tips for a more enjoyable visit and tell you how to get discounted tickets. This year you can also order tickets online and print them at home. As you leave you may purchase a ticket for the next day for only $22, less than half price. Great deal if you’ll still be in the area. Holiday World is on Central Daylight Time so you may need to adjust your schedule for that. We made it there and back on a little less than half a tank of gas.
Bert the Conqueror was recently at Holiday World to tape an episode of an upcoming show for the Travel Channel. It is expected to air on June 26th.
Photo: Roxane Haynes