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Amusement Parks: Holiday World and Splashin’ Safari – a Potted History

Related: Thundering Surf Water Park / Popcorn Park Zoo / NRH20 Family Waterpark  / Mountain Creek Waterpark

Holiday World and Splashin’ Safari is a combined amusement theme park and water park located in Santa Claus, Indiana.

The amusement park’s theme surrounds celebrating the four most important dates in the U.S. calendar – namely the Fourth of July, Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas although the amusement park is only open between May and October each year.

The amusement park began in 1946 under the name of ‘Santa Claus Land’ by Louis J. Koch and has remained in the ownership of the Koch family ever since. It continued to focus on celebrating Christmas alone right up until 1984 when it was decided to expand the amusement park in order to appeal to a wider audience by introducing the celebrations of other important dates in the calendar. It was at this point that the amusement park changed its name to Holiday World to reflect this expansion.

The amusement park is most famously renowned for its three wooden rollercoasters – the Voyage, the Raven and the Legend. In fact, the Raven, which was opened at the start of the amusement park’s 50th season in 1995, brought the park to national attention when it was named first, second and third best wooden rollercoaster on the planet by Amusement Today.

Splashin’ Safari was added to the amusement park in 1993. Its latest water ride, opened in 2010, is called Wildebeest and it is presently the longest water coaster in the world at a third of a mile long and a ride lasting two and a half minutes.

Another popular ride at the water park includes ZOOMbabwe which is also the world’s largest enclosed water slide.

In June 2010, the amusement park sadly reported that its owner and president, Will Koch, had tragically drowned in his family pool at home. Although an excellent swimmer, it was believed that the accident and Mr. Koch’s resulting asphyxiation was related to a diabetic condition. In spite of this tragedy, however, his younger brother Dan has taken over the amusement park and plans to carry forward the plans of his brother in developing the success of both the amusement park and water park well into the future.

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