By HoliBlogger Stephanie T.

Many remember an amusement park in Indiana where it was Christmas every day. The famed Santa Claus Land was a magical place full of festive decorations, joyful attractions, and of course, Santa Claus!

The History Of Santa Claus Land

In the small town of Santa Claus, Indiana, a man named Louis J. Koch wanted a place where travelers could always visit Santa; thus, Santa Claus Land was opened in 1946. Small in stature but big on fun, this theme park opened without rides. The first ride was the Santa Claus Land Railroad, which retired in 2012.

Santa Claus Land Map

Santa Claus Land’s history is documented at the Santa Claus Museum and Village. It features vintage souvenirs, brochures, photographs, and newspaper articles.

From there, the park grew, adding animals, a Jeep-go-round, a Willie Bartley Water Ski Thrill Show, the Santa Claus Choir, and more reindeer-theme rides.

While amusement parks were already established, it was having all their attractions based around a central theme that made Santa Claus Land America’s First Theme Park.

So, What Happened To Santa Claus Land?

As the park’s success continued to grow, so did the park.

Knowing that they could celebrate more than the spirit of Christmas, the park expanded in 1984. Sections of the park opened for Halloween and 4th of July. With the new expansion came a new name, Holiday World.

Splashin’ Safari Water Park was opened in 1993. It has now grown to nearly 40 acres, featuring the World’s Longest Water Coaster, Mammoth. It’s also home to Wildebeest, the park’s first water coaster to open in 2010, earning the title of #1 Water Park Ride In The World for 12 years.

Santa Claus Land | Santa Statue Photo

Wait? Thanksgiving Was The Latest Addition?

That’s correct. The latest addition to the park was in 2006 when a new holiday was added, Thanksgiving. It’s stuffed with incredible attractions. Thousands flock to ride The Voyage each year, a record-breaking wooden roller coaster, while America’s only launched wing coaster, Thunderbird, continues to be a fan favorite.

In 2024, Thanksgiving will welcome its newest addition to the table, the Good Gravy! Family Coaster!

Christmas Today At Holiday World & Splashin’ Safari

Strolling into Holiday World & Splashin’ Safari today, guests are greeted by the sounds of Christmas Carols, festive shops, and cheery restaurants.

Christmas is the first section of the park that guests experience. Sip on a frozen hot chocolate from the Polar Expresso, and ride on Reindeer Games. Don’t forget to snap a selfie with the “Greetings from Santa Claus Land” mural near the theater.

As you venture into the 4th of July, pay tribute to the original 1946 Engine that was a part of the Santa Claus Railroad. A reminder of the decades of incredible memories that America’s first theme park, Holiday World & Splashin’ Safari, has brought to millions of families.


Enter to Win A Pair of Tickets to Visit Holiday World in 2024!

Be sure to follow the adventures of the HoliBloggers. Each of their blog posts will have a giveaway where you can enter to win two tickets to visit Holiday World & Splashin’ Safari.

There are several ways you can be entered to win. Click any option below to get more details to gain those entries. You can enter to win through some options daily!

Entries accepted through Wednesday, December 13 at 7pm Central.


Reminder: Holiday World will never comment on a social media post telling you that you’ve won our giveaway. When our giveaway is over, the winner’s first name and last initial will be displayed in the giveaway above. Winners will be contacted at the email address they provided while signing in to earn entries.

This blog post was written by HoliBlogger Stephanie T.

Born and raised in Cincinnati, Stephanie has been a theme park enthusiast for as long as she can remember. She’s a family travel expert that seeks to inspire new and exciting adventures. As a travel writer, her blog, Consistently Curious, focuses on great weekend getaways, family-friendly destinations, and hidden gems off the beaten path.

After one visit, her family fell in love with Holiday World, and is now the birthday request of her daughter every year. When she is not planning their next outing, you’ll typically find her checking out the local food scene, making fail-worthy Pinterest crafts, and putting on yet another pot of coffee.

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12 Responses to “Whatever Happened to Santa Claus Land?”

  1. Kristi Harris

    Santa Claus land was great when I was a kid. Now Holiday World is even greater!

  2. Karla Arnold

    I really enjoyed the Holiblog about Santa Claus Land. My family and I went to Santa Claus Land many times. We would camp at Lake Rudolph. Those are amazing memories for me. I took my children to Holiday World now I look forward to taking my 3 granddaughters.

  3. Victoria

    My family and I visit Holiday World every year. Can’t wait for summer so we can go back!