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September 11, 2006

Holiday World & Splashin' Safari Expanding To Accommodate Growing Attendance

Article written by:
Kelly Kraft, Contributing Writer

Santa Claus, IN -- Holiday World & Splashin' Safari announced another expansion project on September 6th with $4.5 million to be spent on new rides and improvements for the 2007 season. The park is also on track this year to break its previous best attendance.

The most noticeable improvements will come in the form of a new water slide in the Splashin' Safari water park and a new Turkey themed Tilt-A-Whirl for Holiday World's Thanksgiving section.

"You are either growing and developing or you are moving backwards," said Holiday World president, Will Koch.

The new water slide Bakuli is 325-feet long and stands seven stories tall. The name "Bakuli" means bowl in Swahili. The slide begins with several twists and turns in total darkness before dropping riders into a 60-foot bowl where they take a spin or two before falling out the bottom into a splash down finale.

"Our Zinga water slide is the most popular ride in Splashin' Safari," says Koch. "The new Bakuli will add a fun twist to that ride experience, as families will find themselves spiraling inside a gigantic, high-banked bowl."

Passengers will traverse this colorful attraction (purple, green and yellow) in four-person cloverleaf inner tubes. Pro Slides Technologies an award-winning leader in design and development of water rides will manufacturer this new attraction. Bakuli will accommodate up to 600 riders per hour and cost $1.6 million.

Over at Holiday World, this years newly added Thanksgiving section will be further expanded. A new cafeteria-style dining facility named Plymouth Rock Cafe will offer Thanksgiving meals and outdoor seating with a great view of The Voyage roller coaster. A turkey themed Tilt-A-Whirl ride named Turkey Whirl will also be added to this area.

"Our mission is to serve families better than anyone else," said Koch.

This latest announcement comes just over a year after the park announced their largest expansion ever that included The Voyage, which recently won a Golden Ticket Award for best new ride for 2006 in an annual poll conducted by Amusement Today. Holiday World & Splashin' Safari has also been voted #1 for friendliest park for 9 years running and #1 for cleanliness for 7 years.

Holiday World takes pride in being a small family park, but the success has presented challenges. One of those is how to accommodate the growing attendance.

The expansions have been necessary to keep lines short, which Koch feels is important, but it is possible the park has grown to a size where it may no longer be considered small.

When Koch was asked if the terms "big park" and "family park" were mutually exclusive he responded, "I don't think so and I think we are starting to prove that."

One of the ways Holiday World measures its success is with attendance growth.

"It is an indicator that we are doing things right," says Koch.

So far the park is on track to break the one million mark for the first time ever. Koch also forecasts that attendance will grow by another 5% next year and that he'll need an additional 50 seasonal employees.

Fortunately, the park has so far been able to grow without sacrificing its atmosphere.

Holiday World remains open for select weekend days into early October. For more information, visit

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