By Chris Cowan
Some information was obtained from the Holiday World
Park brochures, maps and logos used with permission.
Land, the world’s first theme park, opens on August 3, 1946 after one year
of construction. Owner Louis J. Koch had visited the town of Santa
Claus, Indiana in 1941 and started plans for the park that year.
One of the
rides at opening is The Freedom Train, which continues to operate to this
1947 – Jeep-go-round is
added (first ever manufactured).
section opens in the area that is now called Rudolph’s Reindeer Ranch.
Admission is charged for the first time: 50 cents for adults, children free.
Actor and future president Ronald Reagan visits in March.
1959 – The Willie Bartley
Water Ski Thrill Show, featuring "Human Kites" performs on Lake Rudolph each
summer through 1961.
– The Santa Claus Choir, made up of local children, performs regularly at
Early ‘70s – Additional
children’s rides are added, including Blitzen’s Airplanes, Comet’s Rockets
and Prancer’s Merry-Go-Round.
The park entrance
is moved from State Road 162 to State Road 245.
Eagle’s Flight (Rocco Flying Scooters),
(Hrubetz Round-Up) and the Virginia Reel (Sellner Tilt-A-Whirl) are added.
1977 – The Holiday
Musical Theater is added, near the front entrance, and is Santa Claus Land's
first in-door, air conditioned venue.
(Foster Bumper Boats) are added, bringing the park's ride total to
Admission this year is $5.25.
1982 – Blitzen
(Pinfari Zyklon steel roller coaster) is added in the previously undeveloped area inside
the circle of the Freedom Train's track.
Land undergoes a major expansion and changes its name to Holiday World.
There are now three themed sections: Christmas,
4th of July.
Frightful Falls (Hopkins Log Flume) is added to the
Many rides get renamed to fit the new themes:
o The Scrambler is moved to the
Halloween section and named The Scarecrow Scrambler.
o The Arctic Circle is named the Roundhouse.
o Blitzen is named the Firecracker.
o "on Chesapeake Bay"
is tacked on to the end of Thunder Bumpers.
o The Spider (Eyerly) is named Paul Revere's Midnight Ride.
o The Antique Cars (Arrow) are named Lewis and Clark Trail.
1986 – The Banshee
(Chance Falling Star) is added to the
The Chinese National Acrobats of Taipei and The
Great American High Dive Team perform daily from May through
Admission this year is $9.95.
(Hopkins white water raft ride) and the children's Indian River (Venture
Canoe ride) are
The US High Diving Team performs daily at the park from May through
Admission this year is $10.95.
1991 – Kringle’s Kafe is
Safari water park premiers, including:
o Congo River (lazy river)
o Crocodile Isle (children's area)
o AmaZOOM and Bamboo Chute water
o Jungle Jake's Grille
o Trader Nick's Swim Shop
"Captain Cutaway & His Flying Pirates," a new high diving show,
Admission this year is $13.95.
1994 – The Wave pool is
added to Splashin’ Safari.
celebrates it's 50th Anniversary by adding The Raven (CCI
wooden roller coaster) in the Halloween section. In its inaugural
season, it’s voted "Ride of the Year" and the #2 Wooden Roller Coaster on
the Planet and is featured on CBS’s 48 Hours and The Discovery Channel.
new high dive show debuts this year as well as the "City Lights" show in the
undergoes some minor re-tracking before the season and a "mist" machine is
added to the first-drop tunnel.
is added to Splashin’ Safari.
The Raven is again voted #2 Wooden Coaster in
the World and the park’s staff is voted #1 Friendliest in the World.
The Firecracker is removed at the end of the
FunTown (children's area) is added to the 4th of July section in the area
vacated by the Firecracker, featuring:
o The Howler (Zamperla steel family
o The Doggone Trail (SBF Jeep Ride)
o A wet climbing area.
The Raven is voted #2 Wooden Coaster in the
World for the third straight year and the park’s staff is voted #1
Friendliest in the World for the second time.
The Legend (CCI wooden roller coaster) opens
in the Halloween
The park begins offering free, unlimited soft
The Raven is voted the #1 Wooden Coaster
in the World and The Legend is the highest ranked new wooden coaster, at
#7. The park is named the Friendliest and Cleanest in the World.
The Raven gets some re-tracking after the
The Raven is
again voted the #1 Wooden Coaster in the World and The Legend is voted #5.
The park is again voted the Friendliest and Cleanest in the World by readers
of Amusement Today.
The Legend's train gets new, better padded lapbars.
Attendance for the year finishes 8% higher than in 2000.
After the terrorist attacks in September, Holiday World gives free
admission tickets to all blood donors in the Evansville, IN area.
world’s largest enclosed waterslide (102-feet tall, 887-feet long), is added
at a cost of $1.7 million and opens on May 18. The water park now
covers 22 acres.
A transfer track is added to The Legend and the
station is lengthened. The single Gerstlaurer train is replaced by two
The park begins offering free sunscreen in Splashin’
On May 31, two coaster enthusiasts are married
at the top of The Legend's lift hill by an Elvis impersonator.
The Raven retains its title as the #1 Wooden
Coaster and The Legend moves up to #4. The park is voted
Friendliest and Cleanest yet again.
Attendance this year is 753,010 (a 20% increase
The Banshee is removed at the end of the
Three new rides are added:
o Liberty Launch (S&S Double Shot tower located in the
4th of July section next to the bumper cars),
o HallowSwings (Zamperla
Flying Carousel with artwork created in-house by Holiday World)
replaces the Banshee,
o Zinga, a new water slide for
Several midways are expanded in size.
The queue for Scarecrow Scrambler is lengthened to keep the
line from spilling over into the midway.
Admission this year is $29.95.
A $3.2 million expansion to Splashin' Safari
o Jungle Racer, a 10-lane water racing slide (Proslide),
o Jungle Jets, an interactive water play area,
o New restaurant and
o New restrooms.
Stark Raven Mad and all other enthusiast events are cancelled this year.
(Hrubetz Round-Up), after being down with
maintenance issues for most of the year, is removed.
A 6-acre expansion to Splashin' Safari
o Bahari, a second wave pool, which is nearly double
the size of The Wave.
o New food outlet and
o A second smoking area.
Revolution (Dartron Zero Gravity) is added, replacing
A transfer track and second PTC train is added to Raven.
Karaoke is added to the entertainment lineup.
A fireworks display is added on the 4th of July.
Stark Raven Mad and all other enthusiast events are again skipped this
Admission this year is $33.95.