MEDIA CONTACT: Paula Werne, 812-937-5209; fun@holidayworld.com

Santa Claus Land/Holiday World Timeline

1941 Louis J. Koch visits the town of Santa Claus, Indiana, and begins plans to open what is to become the world's first theme park.
1945 Construction of Santa Claus Land begins (August 4).
1946 Opening day of the world's first theme park, Santa Claus Land (August 3); includes The Freedom Train, which continues to operate to this day.
1947 Jeep-go-round added (first ever manufactured).
1948 Christmas Room restaurant opened. Deer family introduced, featuring Donder, Blitzen, Comet and Cupid.
1955 Pleasureland ride section opens in the area that is now called Rudolph's Reindeer Ranch. Admission was charged for the first time: 50 cents for adults, children free. Actor and future president Ronald Reagan visited in March.
1959-61 The Willie Bartley Water Ski Thrill Show, featuring "Human Kites" performs on Lake Rudolph each summer.
1970-71 The Santa Claus Choir, made up of local children, performs regularly at the park.
Early '70s Additional children's rides added, such as Blitzen's Airplanes, Comet's Rockets, Prancer's Merry-Go-Round.
1976 Entrance to park moved from State Road 162 to State Road 245. Eagle's Flight added (only a few of this classic "Flying Scooters" ride are left in the world), as well as the Roundhouse and the Virginia Reel (tilt-a-whirl).
1978 Lewis & Clark Trail plus Paul Revere's Midnight Ride added.
1980 Thunder Bumpers on Chesapeake Bay added.
1982 Dancer's Thunder Bumpers Junior added.
1984 Santa Claus Land undergoes major expansion and changes name to Holiday World. There are now three themed sections: Christmas, Halloween and 4th of July. Frightful Falls log flume added.
1986 The Banshee added to the Halloween section.
1990 Raging Rapids white water raft ride added.
1991 Kringle's Kafe built.
1993 Splashin' Safari water park premiers, including the Congo River, Crocodile Isle, and the AmaZOOM and Bamboo Chute water slides.
1994 The Wave pool added to Splashin' Safari.
1995 The Raven roller coaster opens in the Halloween section. Voted "Ride of the Year" and the #2 Wooden Roller Coaster on the Planet. Featured on CBS's 48 Hours and The Discovery Channel.
1998 Monsoon Lagoon added to Splashin' Safari. The Raven is again voted #2 Wooden Coaster in the World and parks' staff voted #1 Friendliest in the World.
1999 Holidog's FunTown added to 4th of July section. The Raven voted #2 Wooden Coaster in the World and parks' staff voted #1 Friendliest in the World.
2000 The Legend roller coaster opens in the Halloween section. Parks begin offering free, unlimited soft drinks. The Raven is voted the #1 Wooden Coaster in the World and The Legend is the highest ranked new wooden coaster, at #7. The parks are named the Friendliest and Cleanest in the World.
2001 The Raven is again voted the #1 Wooden Coaster in the World and The Legend is voted #5. The parks are again voted the Friendliest and Cleanest in the World by readers of Amusement Today.
2002 ZOOMbabwe, the World's Largest Enclosed Waterslide, opens in Splashin' Safari, which begins offering free sunscreen to all Guests. The Raven is voted the #1 Wooden Coaster in the World and The Legend is named #4. The parks are voted the Friendliest and Cleanest in the World.
2003 Huge new family water ride, Zinga, is added to Splashin' Safari; voted World's #1 Water Park Ride. HallowSwings and Liberty Launch are added to Holiday World. Raven is voted the #1 Wooden Coaster and The Legend is #5; parks again named Friendliest and Cleanest.
2004 Jungle Racer and Jungle Jets are added to Splashin' Safari. Both parks are now non-smoking. Holiday World & Splashin' Safari win the Applause Award, the smallest park ever to win the prestigious industry honor. Parks again named Cleanest and Friendliest; Raven and Legend both Top-5 wooden coasters.
2005 Bahari wave pool added, beginning expansion project to double size of Splashin' Safari.
2006 New themed section–Thanksgiving–added, featuring The Voyage wooden roller coaster plus an interactive dark ride called Gobbler Getaway. Park's 60th Anniversary Season also includes the addition of Bahari River to Splashin' Safari. Park hosts Amusement Today's Golden Ticket Awards ceremony and again is named World's Friendliest and World's Cleanest. Voyage receives the highest ranking ever for a new wooden coaster, at #2. The Raven and The Legend also continue to be ranked top-10 wooden coasters. Park's seasonal attendance tops one million guests for the first time.
2007 Seven-story Bakuli ("bowl" in Swahili) water slide added to Splashin' Safari. Turkey Whirl and Plymouth Rock Café added to Thanksgiving section. Named the nation's "Top Value Park" by Consumers Digest magazine.
2008 Kima Bay, a four-story monkey-themed waterplay attraction with seven water slides and more than 100 waterplay elements added to Splashin' Safari. Holiday World's expansion includes the Star Spangled Carousel and Reindeer Games. The Voyage named the #1 Wooden Coaster on the Planet for the second consecutive year by Amusement Today magazine, plus continued #1 distinction in Cleanest and Friendliest Park categories.
2009 The World's Tallest Water Ride, Pilgrims Plunge, takes riders down a watery 131-foot drop. This shoot-the-chute ride includes an open-air elevator and 45-degree drop.
2010 Wildebeest, the world's longest water coaster, utilizes linear induction motor (LIM) technolog to propel four-person boats up hills and through tunnels. Wildebeest was named the World's #1 Water Park Ride and Best New Water Park Ride in the 2010 Golden Ticket Awards. Sadly, president Will Koch passed away unexpectedly on June 13 due to complication from type 1 diabetes. His brother and business partner Dan Koch is now president and CEO.
2011 Safari Sam's SplashLand, with eight water slide and loads of water-play elements for smaller children. Also, Rudolph's Round-Up in the Christmas section and free Wi-Fi hotspots throughout both parks.
2012 Mammoth, the world's longest water coaster, opens in Splashin' Safari, which is named the #1 Water Park in the Nation by TripAdvisor.com. Sparkler vertical swing ride is added to Holiday World's 4th of July section. Bahari River Cabanas open in the water park and free Wi-Fi is now available park-wide.

Updated 6/4/12

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