In pursuit of a plush penguin

Christopher and Crum

e receive hundreds and hundreds of emails each day.

Most can be answered by one person or another without much trouble.

But once in a while, there’s a group effort involved.

Yesterday, for example. we received the following message from a mom in New Braunfels, Texas:

My name is Emily and I am hoping you can help me. My son, Bennett, was at Holiday World about seven years ago. He won a stuffed penguin at the game where you knock down the milk bottles with a ball. He then gave the penguin to his sister, Cecelia, after she was born. It quickly became her FAVORITE sleep pal. Cecelia and her penguinShe would carry it everywhere and I have even had to sew the wings on several times. She had terrible ear infections and would put the tip of the wing in her ear to help soothe the pain. So I am asking if there is any way you would have any of these penguins left? What we won’t do for our children. I have attached a picture of my daughter with her penguin. Thank you so much!

My heart sinks when I read this sort of email since I know we change the prizes at our games from year to year.

And doesn’t that well-loved penguin look just a little like The Velveteen Rabbit?

Oh, Cecelia, we’ll sure take a look for you!

After checking, I emailed Emily with the disappointing news that all the penguins had flown the coop years ago.

A quick Google search netted thousands of “plush penguin” opportunities and Emily headed over to eBay and found, among the 1,700 plush penguins listed, an exact match.

We had a similar situation last fall when a mom named Tammy emailed the following: This summer my three-year-old, Christopher, was at your park (and LOVED it of course). He won a stuffed monkey at one of the midway games. He named that monkey Crum and carried it with him everywhere.  Christopher and Crum

On a trip to Illinois, poor Crum was lost and never seen again. I was won- dering if there is any way possible to buy another one of these blue mon- keys? I know it’s a long shot but what a lovely Christmas gift it would be for him to get Crum or Crum’s identical twin in his arms again. Here is a pic – you think there is any chance? I appreciate your time and help.

By the time we’d received Tammy’s email, all of Crum’s brothers and sisters had gone home with other happy children.

So again we Googled, this time “blue monkey plush.”

I heard back from Tammy the other day with the happy news that Crum had been found! Apparently, that rascal was hanging out at Grandma and Grandpa’s house. Crum and Christopher were happily reunited. Whew!

It really is the little things that count, isn’t it? It’s the funny blue monkeys named Crum and penguins with wings that make a small child’s ear infection feel a little less ouchy that are important. That are real.

As the Skin Horse in The Velveteen Rabbit explained:

Generally, by the time you are Real, most of your hair has been loved off, and your eyes drop out and you get loose in the joints and very shabby. But these things don’t matter at all, because once you are Real you can’t be ugly, except to people who don’t understand.



Does anyone ever retire from Holiday World?

Retirement? What's that?

Sure, we work hard, but this is one heck of a fun place to work. It really is like family.

We do want to take a moment, though, to thank Macy, who has been a familiar smiling face around Santa Claus Land and Holiday World for 45 years. She's decided to retire after four and a half decades.

That's Macy in the middle; Vanessa, our Director of Retail, is on the left and Erin, our Director of Games, on the right. They're dear friends.

Vanessa and Erin recently presented Macy with a shadow box, filled with memories of her years here at the park, many of them working in our shops.

Macy retired after 45 years

Don't be surprised if you see Macy here at the park this summer though. Sure, she's stepped down from her full-time gig, but that doesn't mean she isn't planning a fun little retirement job.

When you see her, just be sure to say hello and ask her how she's enjoying retirement.

Some sage advice …

… from a sleet-covered Lewis & Clark car:

Driving advice

Be safe, everyone!

Caption contest: How Sharpie is your wit?

Update: Congrats to our winner – Tammy L. from Keavy, Kentucky. Her caption was short and sweet – and made us laugh out loud: "For a good time … call 1-812-937-4401." (That's the park's phone number.) Congrats to Tammy, who wins two one-day tickets. Thanks to all who entered!


It's time for another caption contest!

While leafing through Nathan's latest construction photos from Hyena Falls, this one made me laugh.

What in the world is a Sharpie doing in a construction zone? And more importantly – what the heck is he writing?

Judging by the looks on their faces, it's pretty important.

Here's my feeble crack at it: Tic … tac … wait! I can't remember – am I "x" or "o" this time around?

What's he writing?

Now it's your turn – what's he getting ready to write with that Sharpie? Or, what are they discussing so earnestly?

Make us laugh out loud and you could win two one-day tickets to Holiday World & Splashin' Safari!

A few rules:

1. Must be 13 or older to enter.

2. Must not be an employee of Holiday World & Splashin' Safari (or that employee's immediate family member).

3. Yes, you may enter more than once. Because you're just that witty, right? But five times per person is the limit. Really. And only one caption per posted Comment, please.

4. If you've won tickets from one of our contests within the past six months, you're not elegible to win. If it's been more than six months – have at it!

5. Judges' decision is final. It always is.

6. Deadline is next Monday at noon. That's 2/25/13 at 12 noon CST. We'll notify the winner by email by that Wednesday.

How to enter? Post your hilarious caption to the above photo as a "Comment" here on this HoliBlog post (we moderate our Comments, so don't get all worked up when it doesn't show up right away, okay? As long as you don't go all naughty on us, we'll post your caption).

Good luck!

Would this sundae make your visit even more of a fundae?

That's our Food & Beverage Director, Jason, in the blue shirt.

Food is his business. Serious business.

Food glorious food

Today was yet another day of "tastings" for Jason and his F&B management team.

No matter what he specifically asks the vendors (the Men in Black, above) to bring for sampling, they manage to show up with a few surprises.

Such as …

Pot Roast Sundae

… this inter- esting concoc- tion.

They called it a "Pot Roast Sundae."

Some folks on our Face- book page got a little bit con- fused about this – thinking we had tipped off the edge of the earth at long last.

No, that's most certainly not meat and ice cream. What you see is meat, potatoes and au jus. In a cup.

So perhaps "sundae" is not the best choice of word.

What do you suggest? Pot Roast Parfait? Meat 'n' Potatoes in a Cup?

And, more importantly, does this look delish to you? We'd love to know what you think!

A light dusting of snow

Wednesday morning, we had a surprise snowstorm.

By 8:30, I was tweeting about it:

A bit later, Nathan grabbed a camera and headed out to take these flakey photos.

"Go toward the light!" Heading up Raven's lift hill.

Raven's lift hill

And around the swoop over Lake Rudolph:

Raven's turn over Lake Rudolph

Then back into the station:

Raven station

You can tell how much snow we received by looking on the seats of these benches. (Wonder if that's where the term "benchmark" originated?)

Benches in Halloween

And finally, a look past our Christmas shop to our ever-glowing water tower:

Snowfall on Holiday World

Alas, the snow had melted by mid-afternoon. But it sure was pretty while it lasted.

Feeder’s digest

Tell me the truth, am I a crusty old thing for telling Jason, "I have absolutely no sympathy for you – take your troubles elsewhere!"?

Thing is, our Foods Director's gripe was about all the taste-testing he has to "endure" this time of the year.

Pizza tasting

It's a tough job …

Which of our menu items do you miss the most during the off-season?


No we're not blogging about Kitty Claws today.

We're giving you a look at what our Coaster Cats are up to.


Heath and Anthony are up on the structure, working on one of The Voyage's ledgers.

They're making adjustments to some of the ledgers and lean batters located past that last 90-degree section of track. This is being done to smooth out the end of the ride.

Voyage maintenance

What's a ledger? That's the horizontal wooden plank over their heads.

The Voyage

And lean batters are the steel supports that run diagonally from where they're anchored in the ground up to where Anthony and Heath are standing.

Below are two more of our Coaster Cats, Ross and Jon. Most of the gentlemen in our construction and maintenance crews get that "mountain man" look over the winter. Those beards really help keep their faces warm (just ask Santa!).

Ross and Jon

Do you know anyone who might like to join in the fun? We're looking for one more Coaster Cat to complete our crew (er … litter?).

Ross and Jon work on Voyage track

Here's information about how to apply for this full-time, year-round job: We also have full-time positions open in Retail, Accounting, and Special Events.

Some may classify our Coaster Cats as maintenance men and that is technically true. But with a view like this, we think they're also artists.

Voyage art

You never know what you’ll see

… walking through the park in February.

It's odd enough to see the Frightful Falls boats out of their Halloween trough.

But here in the Christmas Plaza, it appears we might have a cow tipper on the loose!

Cow tipping, anyone?