We have relatives that live in Indianapolis and when they found out we were headed to Holiday World and Splashin’ Safari they were nothing but excited for us! Even strangers that we met along the way told us it’s one of their favorite spots to visit during the summer and we’d have the time of our lives.
And they were right. So right.
In the three days that we hung out at the theme parks we scored valuable tips and tricks to navigating and enjoying our stay and I had to share them with you. From when to hit the park and where to what to leave at home, here’s our do’s and don’ts so you’ll have the times of your lives, too.
I was graciously hosted by Holiday World and Splashin’ Safari to give you fine folks the scoop on what makes it so perfect for theme park lovers. All opinions are my own!
What’s Holiday World and Splashin’ Safari?
If you’re not from, say, Indiana, Kentucky, or Illinois you may not have heard about the theme parks, so here’s the quick scoop on Holiday World and Splashin’ Safari. Located in Santa Claus, Indiana (yep, that’s the actual name of the city!), with each admission ticket you get access to both parks and may enter and exit with unlimited privileges. Both parks have rides and dedicated areas for thrill seekers as well as those that like to keep their feet firmly on the ground (depending on the day I’m one or the other!) and there’s really no age limit to who will enjoy the park: we saw loads of multigen families having a blast during our visit.
Holiday World is separated into four holiday-themed areas: Christmas, Halloween, 4th of July, and Thanksgiving. Each area has both low and high thrill rides, but if you want to hit the coasters you’ll have to stick to Halloween and Thanksgiving.
Splashin’ Safari, like Holiday World, has splash pads, two wave pools, and body and tube slides. Opening an hour after Holiday World, most folks stick to the rides for an hour, head to the water park area, and then head back to the rides at the end of day. Keep that in mind when you want to ride Holiday world rides and do the opposite to avoid peak ride times.
Do Take Advantage of the Parks’ Free Offerings
For a 2-in-1 theme park with reasonable rates, they have tons of free things to take advantage of:
- Free soft drinks are available throughout both parks all day, every day. We were told we had to try the Peach Green Tea. Great choice!
- Free sunscreen (Rocky Mountain Sunscreen, SPF 30) kiosks are located in front of the restroom buildings in Splashin’ Safari and by the west steps of Holiday Theater in Christmas, in Holidog’s FunTown, and next to Tippecanoes by The Alamo in Holiday World
- Free parking
- Free Wi-Fi
- Free use of inner tubes
That’s quite a list!
Do Leave Your Coolers and Water Bottles at Home
Two reasons for this. One, outside food is not permitted in either park (except for baby food. You can bring that in.). Two, with paid theme park admission you have unlimited access to Pepsi Oasis stations located throughout the property. Walk up as many times as you like, grab as many drinks as you like- the parks encourage it, especially on hot, humid Southern Indiana days.
Do Dine During Off-Peak Hours
If you know you and the fam will be eating meals in the parks, head to the indoor, sit-down restaurants either before or after the noon and 6pm rushes. We arrived at Kringle’s Cafe right when it opened for lunch and were very pleased we didn’t have to queue up for long.
Don’t Worry about Gluten and Other Allergies
Happily, they’ve thought ahead and have George’s Gluten Free Pizza to accommodate. Located in 4th of July, the restaurant serves, you guessed it, pizza and other snacks including Funnel Cakes, Chips, and pretzels.
Other Locations with Allergy Friendly Menus:
- Kringle’s Cafe
- Plymouth Rock Cafe
- Jungle Jake’s
- Safari Pizza
Do Take Advantage of Locker and Stroller Rentals
If you’re planning on visiting Splashin’ Safari during your visit, renting a locker is a must. You can stash your swimsuits and other gear in one (there were three of us on our visit and there was plenty of room in a small one) and, after you rent one, each guest gets a scanable wristband that gives unlimited access for the entire day.
If you don’t want to drag the stroller to the park, just inside the gate is St. Nick’s Rentals. Both double strollers and wagons may be rented but they are on a first come, first serve basis so get there at rope drop if you want to make sure they’re in stock.
Don’t Forget to Catch a Show or Two. Or Five.
Yes, many folks head to Holiday World for the rides but taking a few moments out of the day to watch a show or two will be well worth your while. We enjoyed Wow: World of Wonder and Dive! and the talent from the cast and crew is outstanding. Keep an eye on the Park Guide to make sure you can fit them into your schedule- and if you have wee ones Santa’s Storytime will be right up their street.
Do Look for HoliDog in the Parks
HoliDog generally hangs around the entrance to Holiday World and 4th of July and you can find him moseying around taking pics with guests several times a day. A trip to the parks wouldn’t be complete without a HoliDog pic!
Do Keep the Christmas Spirit Alive for Younger Children
If you have younger children 54 inches and shorter, head to Christmas for an entire area dedicated to making them smile! The rides are easy on the thrills but heavy on the decorations and fun and I couldn’t stop myself from snapping photos of the rides, especially Rudolph’s Round-Up.
Don’t Forget to Act Like a Kid!
Theme parks are all about capturing and reliving youth, so if you want to jump on the Star Spangled Carousel and sit on a sea horse, go ahead. If you want to skip through the parks and sing along with the holiday-themed music, do that, too. The Kid smiled for our entire trip and, as a teen girl, don’t think I didn’t notice.