“Let’s visit a theme park that pre-dates Coney island, Disneyland and Six Flags, Sherman MY Boy.”
Santa Claus Land
The First Theme Park, Open
In Need of a diversion
On August 3, 1946, post-war Americans were ready for a good time and were able to find it at the country’s first “theme-park” type of amusement park at Santa Claus Land in southern Indiana.
Come one come all…
Surprisingly, today, the park, which is now known as Holiday World, is not only dedicated to Christmas, as it was originally, but also to the Fourth of July, Thanksgiving and Halloween! The name change occurred in 1984 to better reflect the park’s diversity. Holiday World is constantly being upgraded and just keeps getting better and better. If you like dogs, the Fourth of July section even has a sub-section called “Holidog’s Fun Town,” a dog-themed kiddie section. Of course, each section (including “Holidog”) has its own mascot.
With approximately 1 million visitor a year and boasting 51 rides and live entertainment, the 120-acre park also has a water park known as “Splashin’ Safari” where the 2 longest water roller coasters in the world (both over 1,700 feet long) and “Zoombabwe,” the longest enclosed water slide in the world, can be found.
Furthermore, the park’s premier coaster, “The Raven,” is one of the top-ranked wooden roller coasters in the world and has previously been rated #1 in the world for 4 years. Another wooden coaster, “The Legend,” has been ranked as high as 4th in the world.
In 2004, the park won the prestigious Applause Award, becoming the smallest amusement park to ever win the bi-annual award.
In addition to winning awards for its rides, it has also won awards for its cleanliness. In fact it won the Cleanest Park Award fifteen times in a row from 2000-2014, an incredible streak! It has also won the Friendliest Park Award from 1998 through 2008 and then again in 2010 and 2011.
Tickets are relatively affordable, with adults paying just $40.99 and kids $34.99, a bargain if you compare the prize to what a kid’s ticket at Cedar Point in Sandusky, Ohio costs ($54.99)!
Holiday World belongs among the great Midwestern amusement park and is definitely worth considering for a summer outing.