Cincinnati Family Magazine

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January 28, 2023

Sun & Fun at Holiday World & Splashin’ Safari

Pile on the sunscreen and get ready for some thrills and chills at Holiday World and Splashin' Safari in Santa Claus, Indiana.

TIME Magazine named our Voyage the country’s #1 wooden roller coaster last year — and USA Today proclaimed Splashin’ Safari the best water park in the nation,” says Paula Werne, Director of Communications at Holiday World & Splashin’ Safari. My kids, well-traveled amusement park enthusiasts, agree with this high praise, and add that Holiday World & Splashin’ Safari is one of their favorite places, period.

In addition to renowned thrill rides in both parks, including the two longest water coasters in the world, Holiday World also features a wide variety of attractions for little ones, who can find fun and short lines in Rudolph’s Reindeer Ranch, Holidog’s FunTown, and Safari Sam’s SplashLand! The two-parks-in-one also have plenty of attractions the whole family can enjoy together.

We especially love the Gobbler Getaway, a shooting dark ride where riders use a “turkey caller” to catch missing birds and compete with one another for the highest score. I never earned bragging rights as a turkey caller, but did improve my score since the lines were light on our last visit. Unlike many parks, Holiday World doesn’t offer a “Fast Pass” to negotiate wait times. Instead, the Holiday World website gives tips for each ride and slide, including the best times to visit.

Visitors can easily access those Insider Tips inside the park since Holiday World has free Wi-Fi, among its many free amenities. With paid admission, guests also enjoy free parking, free use of inner tubes in Splashin’ Safari, free Ocean Potion Sport, 30 SPF sunscreen, and free soft drinks. Pepsi Oasis stations are located throughout the park and may be every parents’ favorite perk. Walking, riding, and waiting in line makes everyone thirsty and it’s so nice not to have to ration sips of an outrageously overpriced beverage, or lug around a mug for the discounted refills. The soft drinks are free and readily available. Free drinks make mealtime more affordable too. The website posts all the menus and prices, and of course the park offers customary pizzas, burgers, and tacos, but Werne recommends other food stops as well: “Our new restaurant in Splashin’ Safari, Wildebeestro (my favorite name ever!), includes a healthier line of wraps and salads. Another favorite restaurant is Plymouth Rock Café in our Thanksgiving section. Thanksgiving dinner in Santa Claus, Indiana? Why not?!” To satisfy a craving for a snack or sweet tooth, Werne recommends Mrs. Klaus’ Kitchen. It “has a whole new look, with lots more treats, a candy shop, and a special place to visit with Santa.”

Kids can also catch Santa at his Storytime Theater. When my kids were younger, they enjoyed sitting on the stage with Santa, and visiting with him afterward. Guests can even enjoy photo opportunities with Mr. Claus. Holiday World also entertains audiences with Real Country, 80s Rewind, Rejoice, Legacy, and its popular Dive! Show, featuring athletes performing amazing dives from a platform 80 feet in the air. “We’ve also added Friday Night Fireworks between June 13 and August 1,” says Werne, “to start off the weekends with a celebration.” Another new attraction is the giant swinging Mayflower. “We have lots of happy Pilgrims riding,” says Werne, “with the best ‘airtime’ for those who ride at the bow or the stern.” Tips like these and many more are readily available. “We have lots of fun on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube, plus we’ve been blogging since 2005, so there are lots of great stories to read on our website,” says Werne as she adds another great reason for a virtual tour before the real visit. “Our best discounts are available at”

Holiday World & Splashin’ Safari

452 E. Christmas Blvd., Santa Claus, IN

  • Online tickets printed in advance of your visit are $39.95 for General Admission and $34.95 for guests under 54” and include admission to Holiday World & Splashin’ Safari, free unlimited soft drinks, free sunscreen, free parking, free inner tubes and free Wi-Fi

ALSO: Check out what’s NEW at area amusement parks.

The Beach
2590 Waterpark Drive, Mason
513-398-SWIM (7946)
Thrill-seekers can enjoy a brand new zip line, while smaller ones can splash around in the new kids’ play area, Big Creek Beach, which features smaller slides and a zero-depth entry pool. And don’t miss out on the Family Arcade, High Tide Hoops for some basketball fun, and Lil’ Kahunas Waterworks, where toddlers can explore misting sprays, cascading fountains and shooting geysers.

Cedar Point
1 Cedar Point Drive, Sandusky
There’s something new for just about everyone in your crew at Cedar Point — whether kids want to twist and spin on the new Pipe Scream, or take flight on Lake Erie Eagles where you control the wildness of your ride. And if you’re really feeling brave, you can launch yourself 360 feet into the air in the new SlingShot. Little ones can explore the re-named Woodstock’s Airmail (formerly the Frog Hopper) and get small-sized thrills on the renamed Wilderness Run (formerly the Jr. Gemini).

Coney Island
6201 Kellogg Ave.
Go ‘round and ‘round and upside down on the new Wipe Out! Riders will get all topsy-turvy on this ride that takes them more than 30 feet in the air. Not ready for the thrill? No problem, just check out the other classic rides, and be sure to pack a swimsuit for some water fun at Sunlite Pool.

Kentucky Kingdom and Hurricane Bay
937 Phillips Lane, Louisville
Along with old favorites come new rides, including the Lightning Run, a ten-story steel coaster with a 100-foot drop; Fearfall, a 129-foot tower drop; Professor John’s Flying Machines, which give you the chance to test your flying skills; a new 5D Cinema; and a new bumper car pavilion. Little ones can head to King Louie’s Playland for new swings, spinning rides, and more.

Kings Island
6300 Kings Island Drive, Mason
Kings Island newest ride, The Banshee, is a true twister not for the faint of heart — with a 150-foot drop and up to 68 miles per hour in speed, the ride features a curved drop, a diving loop, an in-line roll, a zero-gravity roll and more twists and turns sure to give your tummies the loop-de-loops.


About the Author

Barbara David

Barbara David, mother of five and an award-winning columnist for Cincinnati Family Magazine, enjoys travel, writing, and restoring her century-old, west-side home.