The swimming grasshopper

Don’t worry, there are not bugs in the water.

The “grasshopper” is Jason.

We have a company-wide “coaching” program that involves park directors coaching full-time managers.

It’s fun. Especially for bossy know-it-alls like me. (Is it fun for you, too, Jason? Yes, of course it is …)

From the start, I’ve called Jason my “grasshopper.”

He was so disappointed to find out, months later, that I was referring to a TV show, not some spiritual character from a folk tale of yore.

Anyway, usually my grasshopper is the manager of our Human Resources department. But next week, he’s the swimming grasshopper.

That’s Jason in the middle, flanked by Jordan and Justine. They’re refreshing his lifeguarding skills so he’ll be ready for next week.

Because next week, our staff shrinks considerably. Not some new diet, alas. It’s back-to-school time in southern Indiana.

To prepare for next week, some of the office staffers are dusting off their various in-park skills so they’ll be ready to join operations folks to help next week go swimmingly well.

Here’s Jason “saving” Justine:

If you visit during the latter half of the next week (Wednesday through Friday) it might help to know ahead of time that The Wave will be open (and Bahari wave pool closed), Bahari River will be open (and the Congo River plus Bamboo Chute and AmaZOOM will be closed).

And remember, no raising Caine in the water park. A grasshopper is watching.

“Are you out of your mind?!”


My seven-year-old just hollered, “Are you out of your mind?!” to his teacher.

Teachers, actually.

Swim teachers, to be precise.

They laughed and encouraged James to try.

And off he went, paddling away. Still “beating up” the water too much, but a vast improvement from a week ago.

Some of the Splashin’ Safari lifeguards are teaching swim lessons this summer.

Somehow we lucked out with our schedule, and James has his own private swim tutor.

Two tutors, actually.

James and his swim teachers
That’s Jennifer on the left and Leah on the right. James likes Jordan, too, who has conducted a few of the lessons.

Jordan passed along a conversation he had with my son the other day:

James: Jordan? May I ask a personal favor?

Jordan: Sure, James.

James: Would you please call it my bottom instead of my butt?

Bless Jordan, he has complied with the rather Victorian request. “Come on, James — keep your bottom up! Breathe through your nose! You can do it!”
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We like to give HoliBlog readers a peak behind the curtain.

Today you get a glimpse behind the water curtain.

Faithful readers already know how Lori and Jennifer like to theme each season with their lifeguards and slide attendants.

For 2007, it’s all about the red carpet. (Hooray for HoliWood?)

One of the team’s “challenges” so far this season was for each crew to choose a movie theme and pose for a silly photo. I guess this provided a bonding experience for all involved.

The next step is for Lori and Jennifer to select the winner.

But this year, you get to have a say.

Take a look at the eight photos that follow and, if you’d like to, send us a quick email ( by Monday (July 2) at 10 am CDT with your vote. Please use the photo number to help in the vote counting.

Ready? (Can anyone else hear Bugs Bunny? Overture…curtain…lights. This is it … the night o’ nights…)

Photo #1:

The theme is Black Hawk Down.

Photo #2:

They call themselves the Blue Diamonds.

Photo #3:

The Blue Guardians.

Onward to Photo #4:

Dude, Where’s My Guards? (Not to worry, these photos weren’t taken during operating hours.)

Photo #5:

Gold Member. (Gotta watch which cut-rate brand of sunless tanner you buy, dude.)

Photo #6:

At long last, a movie I’ve seen: Greased Lightning and the Pink Ladies.

Photo #7:

Ogre Achievers. (I guess lifeguards have layers…)

And, last but not least, Photo #8:

Wave Heart.

Remember, we need your vote by Monday. And no stuffing the ballot inbox, please.

Bakuli buzz

Judging from the many emails we’ve received, the consensus is: “Bakuli rocks.”

Being from a more, uh, seasoned generation, at first the “rocks” reference was a little alarming.

Rocks? Is the structure not stabilized? Are there pebbles in the pool?

Happily, my sons do their best to keep me in the groove with the current vernacular. “Rocks” is good.

This fellow is really rockin’:

Here’s the link to an article about Bakuli that ran in Sunday’s Indianapolis Star, Nashville Tennessean, Louisville Courier-Journal and Cincinnati Enquirer.

Those papers’ circulation numbers top 1.25 million.

Now that rocks!

Testing … 1 … 2 … 3 …

Will gets a kick out of how HallowSwings and Bakuli are so color-coordinated.

Here’s a photo of one of the views from the top of the Bakuli tower. (Hey, John — maybe we should get a BakuliCam up here!)

Ours crews work hard all fall, winter and spring building the new stuff we add each year.

So who gets to try out Bakuli first?


Okay fellas, back to work.

Pretty bird!

This pretty parrot is nearly ready to head north to Splashin’ Safari.

Can’t help but wonder if the trip on the interstate will be as attention-getting as those turkeys for Turkey Whirl.

The final destination is in Crocodile Isle, topped by a colorful umbrella.

The pools are filling throughout the water park; in Holiday World, Raging Rapids, Frightful Falls and Thunder Bumpers are filled and ready for fun in just a few weeks.

And the temps are back in the 70s! What a relief; that return to winter was no fun.

And yes, the coasters are in testing mode.

Can you hear them? Click, click, clicking up the lift hills.

We’ll get you some pictures of them soon.

Later, ‘gator

It’s still a bit chilly to take a ride on this new water slide for Crocodile Isle (did anyone else get snow on Friday?).

But in just over a month, the new slides will be in place (along with plenty of life guards) and all ready for the new season.

The inside story

Lori, Jennifer and Whitney couldn’t wait.

They had to check out “the bowl.”

Bakuli’s innards are colorful, that’s for sure.

And slippery.

To get in, they had to climb up the exit slide.

Jennifer and Whitney had no trouble.

But Lori … she made several tries.

Oops. Slipped and fell.


Then she tried it barefoot.

Same result.

Finally, a laughing Jennifer flung her sneakers down for her fearless leader to use.

Must have been Spider-Man sneaks, as Lori had no trouble that time.

Whitney waved a welcome.

She’s assistant manager this year. It’s a family tradition; her sister was in that position last season.

Whitney is standing in the “entrance” to the bowl, which is also the end of the enclosed slide.

’round and ’round you’ll go, and then out of the bowl into the splash pool.

Bakuli is nearly complete.

At this point…

…just add water.

Mummy want a cracker?

Tell me this parrot doesn’t look like he’s ready for a sarcophagus!

Actually, he’s ready for a lovely paint job, the addition of a colorful umbrella, and a trip to Santa Claus for installation in Splashin’ Safari’s Crocodile Isle.

Meanwhile, as you may have noticed, our webcam is off to rehab (no, not the same place Britney went to) and should be back in two or three weeks.

Happy Saint Patrick’s Day tomorrow!

Open wide!

One of the new slides for Crocodile Isle appears to be in a perpetual yawn.

They’re still working on the new slide, of course; surely we’ll see a more colorful version soon.

He was kind enough to also pose for a profile shot:

Meanwhile, the zebra slide is ready to go.

Your assignment at the supper table this evening is to solve that age-old question: black stripes on white or white stripes on black?