January 6, 2024, 11:14 PM ·

To start 2024, each weekend I will be offering some reasons why you should consider a visit to a specific theme park this year.First up: Holiday World & Splashin’ Safari in Santa Claus, Indiana.

1. They won’t nickel-and-dime youIf you’ve resigned yourself to spending money with every breath inside a theme park, prepare for some fresh air. You won’t have to get out your wallet to park at Holiday World, because parking is free. And once you are inside the gate, soft drinks and sunscreen are free, too. It’s a refreshing change from the rest of the industry, where parks seem eager to charge you at every opportunity. So if you want to reward that type of respect for the customer, vote with your dollars and plan a visit to Holiday World.2. It’s not some corporate-run parkFounded by Louis Koch in 1946 (nine years before Disneyland opened), the park originally was known as Santa Claus Land. The Koch family still owns and runs the park, which became Holiday World in 1984 with the addition of its Halloween and Fourth of July lands. Industry consolidation continues in 2024 with two major chains merging (Six Flags and Cedar Fair). A trip to Holiday World shows support for independent parks that deliver qualities (such as the freebies above) that the big chain parks long left behind.3. It’s two parks in oneHoliday World also includes the Splashin’ Safari water park next door. And I when I say “includes,” I mean that. One ticket gets you into both parks. That’s a great value. (See a theme here?)4. The Water Coaster Capital of the WorldThat’s what Holiday World & Splashin’ Safari bills itself as, with three world-class water coasters in the water park, including Mammoth, the Guinness World Record holder for the world’s longest water coaster, at 1,763 feet.5. The roller coaster line-up is world class, tooThe Voyage continues its run on our list of the world’s best roller coasters, joined by The Legend and The Raven to deliver one of the best line-ups of wood-tracked coasters anywhere. A Bolliger & Mabillard launched wing coaster, Thunderbird, expanded the park’s coaster line-up in 2015.6. And there’s a new coaster this yearIn 2024, Holiday World will open its first Vekoma Family Boomerang coaster. Good Gravy! will put riders aboard giant Thanksgiving dinner gravy boats for a wild ride than no amount of tryptophan will allow you to sleep through. 7. You’ve got to go out of your way to get thereLocated south of Interstate 64 and one hour west of Louisville in the small town of Santa Claus, Indiana, Holiday World isn’t exactly part of any big tourist hotspot. (No offense to the Lincoln Boyhood National Memorial just down the road.) Now while some might consider that a minus, I consider it a plus for a dedicated theme park fan. It’s fun to be surrounded by other fans who are willing to go out of their way for a great experience, rather than a crowd of people following the herd to the same old same old. That’s what you will find in Santa Claus.So those are just seven reasons why you should consider putting Southern Indiana on your roller coaster roadtrip itinerary this summer. If you’ve been to Holiday World recently, we’d love to hear about your experiences with this park, in the comments.Keep following Theme Park Insider for more reasons why you should visit other parks this year, too. A great way to keep in touch with us is by signing up for Theme Park Insider’s weekly newsletter.

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