A dilly of a treat

Pickle Juice Pops

Growing up playing sports, I was encouraged to drink pickle juice during summer practices to help prevent muscle cramping. (Yes, you read that correctly!)

Pickle Pops… so the idea of adding pickle juice pops to the menu at Bahari Snacks this season didn’t sound too strange to me.

I love pickles. Always have.

When the opportunity came to taste-test a pickle pop, I gave it a try.

Turns out it tastes exactly like a pickle – only in frozen form.

There are even bits of pickle slices suspended in the frosty goodness.

That’s not to say they’re meant for everyone’s palate.

Recently, we set out to take an entirely non-scientific Pickle Pop Poll in Splashin’ Safari.

Here are the results:

Guests Trying Pickle Juice Pops | Holiday World & Splashin' Safari

The next time you’re marathoning here on a toasty day, consider a Pickle Pop for cooling off your insides.

Independent’s Day

George the Eagle

What a nice surprise! The Theme Park Insider Awards were just announced – and we won Best New Roller Coaster for 2015!

Or, rather, Thunderbird did …

Reviewing the list of winners, the awards all went to Disney, Universal, Six Flags, and … us.

As a family-owned park for nearly 70 years, our independence means a lot to us.

Right, George?

George the Eagle
George the Eagle is wearing a Birthday Button today.

Birthday ButtonAre you planning to visit on your birthday? Be sure to pick up your free Birthday Button at Guest Relations, In-Park Services, or Splashin’ Safari Guest Relations and wear it all day so we can wish you many happy returns of the day (that’s old-fashioned talk for “Happy Birthday!”).


Geek now, or forever hold your peace

VP James and Kari Byron

Okay, so we can officially let the cat out of the bag now.

Travel Channel was here today.

But that wasn’t the secret. What we couldn’t talk about ahead of time was what this new show is about.

Well, we still have to keep quiet about that. Sorry.

But we can tell you who the hosts of this show are.

Kari Byron interviews VP James

Do you recognize Kari?

Oh, wait, Tory’s face is blocked. (We were all squished together like a bunch of geekarazzi.)

Wait. Try this photo (thanks, Leah!):

Tory, James and Kari

VP James, a big fan of Mythbusters, admitted to me this was a bucket-list kind of day for him. Just watching Tory and Kari host an episode of their new Travel Channel show from afar was a thrill.

James hung back when others asked for photos and autographs in the Thunderbird station. When Matt noticed, he pulled James over and introduced them all around. I piped up, “You know, this is the guy who was project manager for Thunderbird. He got this thing built!”

Suddenly the orange shoe was on the other foot.

Once Kari and Tory met James, they knew they had to get him on camera.

Unplanned. Unscripted. Unavoidable.

James gave me such a look. Our rather reluctant YouTube host whispered, “The Hard Hat Chronicles is one thing … but this?”

Yes. Of course.


“Why do you think we started The Hard Hat Chronicles so long ago?” I replied, trying to disguise my it-was-all-part-of-my-plan smugness. “We knew this day would come. I wanted you to be ready.”

Matt was grinning from ear to ear. “You’ll do great, James!”

James wasn’t quite there yet. “I think I should probably be mad at you,” he half heartedly directed at me, with a look of defeat crossing his brow.

“I think you’re about to have the best experience of your life,” was my response. (This one’s for you, James’s mom, I thought. He tells me she’s a HoliBlog subscriber and oftentimes knows these stories of our inner workings before he does. And she lives in upstate New York! James had told me earlier she and her office mates vote for Thunderbird in this USA Today poll each day. Thanks, James’s mom!)


Tory, Matt, Leah and Kari

Tory, Matt, Leah and Kari, finishing up this morning’s shoot for a new Travel Channel show. Don’t miss the Thunderbird train photobombing the shot!

So when will this air? Possibly in August. And how will you find out? Maybe take a tip from James’s mom and subscribe to the HoliBlog so you won’t miss one geeky moment.

Would you like to receive HoliBlog notices – along with news releases and sweepstakes – by email? Sign up here and you can choose whether to receive the emails weekly or the same day the blog posts are published. Thank you!

The Ladies who Launch

Exactly 11 months ago tonight – Christmas Eve in July 2014 – we were bursting with excitement.

Our 66 Days at Sea were finally over and it was time to reveal all.

Our new … project … for 2015. Code name: BT-15.


Fast-forward to now and Thunderbird is flying high.

Lauren and Leah made the announcement 11 months ago, so we thought it would be fun for them to give you a guided tour today:

Do you think Thunderbird is the best new ride to open this year?

With just two clicks you can vote in this USA Today poll and push Thunderbird to the top! Thank you so much!

Kids say the darndest things!

You probably have to be a grandparent like me to remember Art Linkletter. (Spellcheck proves my point, stating there’s no such word as Linkletter. Sigh.)

Mr. Linkletter made a career out of talking to young children and reacting to their unfiltered comments.

His TV show’s “Kids Say the Darndest Things” segment was a hoot.

This tweet reminded me of him, and how we must listen closely to our children and grandchildren. Whether it’s deep wisdom or an adorable malaprop, children always have something important to say.

Enter our ‘Dear Old Dad’ Sweepstakes

Lake Rudolph King Rental RV

Thanks to all who entered our sweepstakes – and congratulations to Britney F. from Benton, Kentucky, who wins four one-day tickets to Holiday World & Splashin’ Safari plus two nights in a King RV at Lake Rudolph Campground & RV Resort.


It’s June, and that means Father’s Day is not far off.

So it’s time for a giveaway – we’re calling it our “Dear Old Dad” Sweepstakes.

Because on Father’s Day, every Dad deserves to be taken out to launch …

Thunderbird Launch


Our prize package includes four one-day tickets to Holiday World & Splashin’ Safari plus two nights in a King RV at Lake Rudolph Campground & RV Resort (right next door).

Here’s what that King RV looks like, inside:

Lake Rudolph King RV

… and outside:

Lake Rudolph King Rental RV

How to enter our “Dear Old Dad” Sweepstakes? Let’s start with a few necessaries:

  • You must be at least 18 years old to enter.
  • Employees of Holiday World & Splashin’ Safari, Lake Rudolph Campground & RV Resort, Sun Communities, and Sun RV Resorts (and the immediate family members of employees) are not eligible to enter.
  • Use the widget, below, to enter daily. There are lots of options, so you can earn extra entries by posting here on our HoliBlog, tweeting about this sweepstakes, and visiting us on our Facebook pages. The winner – chosen at random – will be emailed the afternoon of June 19. If you win this sweepstakes, which includes overnights in a King RV at Lake Rudolph, please note you must be at least 21 to phone in your lodging reservation;  some black-out dates will apply for overnights.
  •  For the “post a comment on the blog” entry option, simply tell us why Dear Old Dad (or another favorite relative or pal) deserves a getaway at Holiday World and Lake Rudolph. (Our comments are moderated, so as long as the content is HoliFriendly, it will appear soon.)
  • Did you know you can subscribe to our HoliBlog so that you receive all of our posts (including contests) by email? If you’re using a desktop computer or tablet, look for the “Subscribe to Blog” sidebar at the top-right corner of this page. On a smartphone? Just scroll down a tiny bit more to find it. Or if you’d like to subscribe, follow, pin, like and review us, head over to our Connect with Us page.

Ready to enter? Of course you are: Simply enter our sweepstakes here from a mobile device; or if you’re using an immobile device, enter by using the widget, below. And not just today – enter daily through Friday, June 19, 2015 at 10am CDT.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Good luck to all! And whether or not you win, we hope on Father’s Day your Dad gets to laugh and smile like this fellow!

Turkey Whirl

Wally’s World

Last Thursday was a special day – and a wild one. Just ask Wally Schaaf.

Imagine being 91 years old and deciding it was time to ride your first roller coaster …

That’s exactly what he decided, and he did it big!

That morning, I watched as Wally – a resident of Scenic Hills Care Center – and his son Mike took their first flight on Thunderbird.

Here they are, strapped in and ready for launch:

Wally's Ride

After what seemed like a long minute and 18 seconds later, they rolled back into the station.

He did it! He rode the roller coaster all but one of his fellow residents declared they wouldn’t ride.

After Wally finished his ride, we took him to see his on-ride photo. As we reached the Thunderbird Plaza and the 14-story Immelmann loop was once again in his view, he looked up at it – as another train launched – and with the biggest grin on his face, he declared, “I rode that!”

To learn more about Wally’s ride, check out this story from the Ferdinand News.