The wisdom of Sir Isaac

Sir IsaacSir Isaac Newton said it first: “What goes up must come down.”

Centuries later, Blood, Sweat & Tears set the phrase to music.

Whether you prefer physics or ’60s pop-culture references, it’s time for us to let you know that Giraffica, the ride formerly known as Pilgrims Plunge, is no more. The tower is being removed this week.

If you’re one of our super-fans, you’re probably not surprised. You’ve noticed the ride has not been open as often as we all would have liked. We sincerely apologize for the disappointment.

In researching the story of the Mayflower, we learned that there was originally a second ship filled with Pilgrims. It was called the Speedwell. In 1620, the two ships set sail for the New World but they were forced to turn back not once, but twice. It seems Speedwell was simply not up to the voyage that was to come.

And so the Pilgrims from both ships set sail that September on board the Mayflower, heading toward freedom. They took along what they could from Speedwell, but were forced to leave behind that which could no longer serve them well.

Sir Isaac also said, “for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction.” This action we just took? It isn’t the end of our Thanksgiving feast.

We hope you’ll join us this season as the Mayflower sails merrily in our Thanksgiving section. And like the good sailors on board the original ship, be sure to keep a steady watch on the horizon.


Behind the water curtain

Words to describe our industry:

  • Friendly
  • Helpful
  • Outgoing
  • Nosy

Nosy? Oh, heck yes! We just love to visit each other for a peek behind the scenes.

Or, in this case, our friends from Raging Waves Waterpark near Chicago, took a peek behind the water curtain.

Raging Waves Waterpark staff on a visit to Splashin' Safari

That’s our water-park attractions director, Lori, on the right. She says we should have busted out our free sunscreen – everyone was a bit sun-kissed by the end of the day.

It’s so nice to see blue skies again – opening day is less than eight weeks away!

The name game

The “name game” sounds like loads of fun, doesn’t it?

Believe it or not, it can be an agonizing process!

You start out with the theme of the park section, add details about the ride or slide (or, in this case, restaurant), and then start churning out ideas.

You generate long lists and then start to cull.

You search online to make sure this isn’t a name already in use. Does it rhyme with a naughty word – or if it can be shortened, is the nickname G-rated? Will it sound good in commercials and will park Guests remember the name?

Splashin’ Safari names have been particularly interesting, as we try to stay with a safari theme. We’ve used safari references (such as Jungle Racer and Hyena Falls), Swahili words (such as Bakuli, Bahari and Zinga) and we even made up a word: Watubee.

The safari animal name Wildebeest was tossed on the table year after year. By me. Time after time, it was scratched off the list early on in the process. It got to be sort of a joke; whenever we needed to name anything (including staff members’ children and grandchildren), someone would suggest Wildebeest and everyone would have a good laugh.

As you know, eventually everyone else warmed up to Wildebeest and our first water coaster was named after that stampeding safari animal. (Which, looking back, was even more fitting than we could have dreamed; have you ever seen the stampede toward Wildebeest when we “drop the ropes” at park opening each morning? Lori (our water-park attractions director) and her staff had to institute a “pace car” entry to keep eager riders from running and pushing.)

Wildebeest debuted in 2010. Fast-forward to present day and F&B Jason challenged his management team to come up with a few good names for Splashin’ Safari’s new restaurant.

Since Wildebeest was the late Will Koch’s final ride project, Jason suggested the water coaster as a starting point for ideas.

There were some great suggestions: Wildebeest Feast and WildeFeast. Then Wildebeest Bistro.

Suddenly, Katie S. came up with a combo:

Katie names WildebeestroWell done, Katie!

Well done … just like the Philly Steak & Cheese sandwich planned for Wildebeestro.

And what else will be on the menu, you ask?

Wraps! We’ll have a Chicken Bacon Ranch Wrap, a Hummus Wrap and a Black & Blue Wrap (that’s foodie code for roast beef and blue cheese – I got to sample one last week – scrumptious!).

And, let’s see: Grilled Cheese Sandwiches, Salads, Popcorn Shrimp, Hot Dogs, Giant Turkey Legs. And more. (The full menu will be posted on our website in early April.)

Side dishes will include Corn on the Cob, Fresh Fruit Cups, and Steak Fries.

Desserts? Oh, my. Yogurt Cups, Whole Grain Jungle Animal Crackers, Butterfinger Pie, Giant Cookies, and more.

And, yes … brewed sweet tea as part of our free soft drinks offering.

And what will Wildebeestro look like? Here’s the designer’s rendering:

Wildebeestro design

Here’s a closer look at the wildebeest carvings on the posts out front:

Wildebeest carving

And here’s a side view:

Side view of Wildebeestro design

And exactly where in Splashin’ Safari is Wildebeestro located?

Follow the magic blue arrow:

Wildebeestro construction (location)

We sure hope you’re as excited as we are about the new restaurant and new menu items. We expect Wildebeestro to open in time for the Memorial Day Weekend.

And if you’d like to help us with another naming project, be sure to enter this contest by Tuesday, March 11 at 10am CDT.

A Mammoth #FlashbackFriday

Were snowflakes flying in your neighborhood today? They were swirling wildly for a while here in Santa Claus.

Two years ago this week, it was Mammoth fiberglass that was flying. We thought this would make a fun #FlashbackFriday photo.

Oops, wrong nest

For years we’ve joked that Splashin’ Safari is a showroom for ProSlide Technology.

After all, the majority of the “cool stuff” in our water park is from them.

Let’s see … Zinga, Bakuli, Hyena Falls, Otorongo, Mammoth … the list goes on and on.

So when another park wants to shop around for a new water-park ride, they just may want to drop by here and kick the fiberglass (so to speak).

A week or so ago, one of these test drives – with reps from a very well-known park that I really can’t mention – took a turn that you’d only expect to find in a cartoon.

Here’s what happened:

Maintenance Director Tony had Wildebeest tested and ready to go early for our guests-from-another-park. (We really do all get along well – this industry is like a club.)

As our visitors took off in a Wildebeest boat for their test ride, oops … it didn’t make the full circuit.

When a “fault” occurs, it’s a good thing (for those concerned about safety). It means the system detected two of the boats were too close together and told the linear induction motors to halt so that the boats would stay put.

But how could just one boat cause a problem?

Rocket J. SquirrelRemember the old Rocky and Bullwinkle cartoons?

This might help shake out the cobwebs: Bullwinkle: “Hey, Rocky, watch me pull a rabbit out of my hat.”
Rocky: “A-gain?”
Bullwinkle: “Presto!”
Lion: “ROAR!”
Bullwinkle: “Oops, wrong hat.”

Well, it appears old Rocket J. Squirrel has retired to the hills of southern Indiana. And he must have heard that Wildebeest is a ProSlide Hydromagnetic Rocket ride.

Yes, it’s all starting to make sense now.

That’s right, a flying squirrel was the culprit. Our little Rocky was looking for a new place to build a nest and managed to cross in front of one of Wildebeest’s sensors at the just the right (er, make that wrong) moment.

Tony informed the winged creature that far happier and quieter places exist in our woods.

He then returned to the waiting riders with a quote from that classic cartoon:  “And now, here’s something we hope you’ll really like!”

Fashion forward?

Fashion forwardA flower pot on the head and a pink “grass” skirt.

Now that’s a fashion statement.

But one person’s flower power is another person’s …

Fashion forward

…well, I’m not sure.

But there’s plenty of attitude.