By Leah Koch

Communications Team

We’re almost a full week into isolation here in Indiana. And as someone who’s never been too far from Holiday World for terribly long, I’m already starting to miss my office and daily walks around the park (see the picture of the Olympic speed walking team also known as the Communications Team to the right–left to right: Josh, Sabrina, and Myself).

But being cooped up has brought out more than just the wish for a sunny walk amongst coasters.

When you’re at the park every day, you can feel the history. My great-grandfather opened Santa Claus Land in 1946. This park has grown and changed through the years and you can see the changes my grandfather made. And the changes my father made. And the changes my siblings, my mom, and I have made. (See photo: My dad, Will Koch, at the Grand Opening of Splashin Safari back in 1993 )

Shows Will Koch on opening day of Splashin' Safari in 1993

You can feel the echoes of laughter from 74 years of people coming through the gates. And the presence of memories from tens of millions of visitors.

It’s something really special.

So to help, I’ve been browsing through some archival images and soaking up some of our history.

But Holiday World’s history isn’t just about the Koch family. It’s about everyone who’s ever visited and shared a happy memory.

In times like these, it’s great to feel the presence of the Holiday World & Splashin’ Safari community–we’ve had a ton of fun sharing ways to bring Holiday World home at Holidog’s Digital FunTown.

But we’re also looking toward our Opening Day, and ready to hear the real laughter and joy coming from the park once again.

Until then, I’m asking a favor of all of you. Please share your favorite stories and memories of Santa Claus Land and Holiday World & Splashin’ Safari. Comment below, and/or share your photos on social media using the hashtag #MerryMemories.

Because until the sun rises on Opening Day on those beautiful wooden coasters and wave pool beaches, we’ll be missing YOU.


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.

Leave a Comment

* indicates required field

  • (will not be published)

7 Responses to “What’s your merriest memory?”

  1. James Reynolds

    I have been coming to Holiday World as long as I can remember! I’m 31 now and the earliest I can go back to remembering being there is because of a picture my aunt has of me as a little tike with one of your performers at the time whose name was Julie Vanhuessy! (Hoping I spelled it right, it’s wrote on the photo) It’s dated 1993! Love the place and can’t wait to get back this year!

  2. Alex Chubokas

    My best Holiday World memory has to be my first trip. Me and three others I worked with at Cedar Point worked until 6pm, left and drove overnight to the hotel. Went to the park the next day. From the start(the drive to the park) hitting a hilly road and hitting a drop off on the other side of the hill. Getting airtime in the car while the two in the backseat slept away. Seeing the park for the first time was incredible. We did the, pardon the old howopo reference, three wooden coasters first and flipped out over Thunderbird. Splashed in awe as we closed out Splashin Safari and made it to the dry park just in time for one last Voyage ride. It was a great way to spend all of our first times there and did NOT want to leave.

    • christy owens

      My husband and I went to Holiday World when we were kids with our families. It was called Santa Claus Land back then. Had so much fun and memories. Getting there extra early and being the first person line and staying until closing. My dad and his brothers riding the bumper boats and acting like teenagers. My husband’s family always getting pictures taken with Santa Claus. Riding the banshee together. Now we have a son and we are continuing the tradition with our family. Can’t wait to come back this year for more memories. #MerryMemories

  3. Allison Donofrio

    I last went to Holiday World last season during Happy Halloween Weekends. It was my first trip and I had a blast! I loved going on Thunderbird as many times as possible, and would love to be able to take my 9 year old nephew this upcoming season!

  4. Kristin Zahn

    My favorite memories from Holiday World & Splashing Safari, all take me back to my childhood. Growing up, my family never took vacations, but we did go to Holiday World, every year. Each time we visited, it was an all day event. We would make sure to arrive as the doors were opening and leave right at close. We wanted plenty of time to make our rounds throughout the entire park. We always started in the water park and ended in the theme park.
    I remember watching high dive performances, always wanting to make sure they were okay after diving… riding the bumper cars (before they were removed)… riding the same roller coasters many times, trying out different riding spots… stopping for ice cream while listening to the karaoke performers… admiring the view from the top of the ride lines… but most of all, quality time with my family. I now have kids of my own and hope to create memories like mine, for them! #MerryMemories

  5. Tiffany Rhoden

    Some of my merriest memories are the smiles and laughs on my parent’s faces, they become kids again with us. (Mind you, I’m 35 and second oldest, so we ALL become kids again. Haha) I’ll never forget my father and I’s very first night ride, front row of the Thunderbird! ? The park truly makes our entire family of 26 so happy. We are from Southeast MO and purchase season passes allowing us to visit 4-5 times a year for multiple days back to back. It is truly our happy place! Who needs any other park when you have Holiday World?!
    #merrymemories #yearstocome

  6. Darian Foster

    I remember a little river that ran through splashin safari. It had a tiny bridge you could walk over and it was decorated with landscape rock that was formed in concrete. I think it was by crocodile isle but I’m not certain. Would love to find an old picture of it someday.