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?

Wrangling the start tub

Start tub.

That’s the pool you get into right before you ride Zinga, ZOOMbabwe, Watubee … and now, Bakuli.

It was the last piece to be added, a full 73 feel above the splash pool.

The start tub is down there, on the lower right. All hooked up.

Waiting to fly.

But first, there’s a bit of prep work up top.

That’s Randy smearing on the Super Glue.

Meanwhile, Will chats it up with John Simpson from Channel 7. Will talks with his hands a lot … in fact, if he had a scrap of paper and pen handy, he’d probably be sketching out something for John.

It’s an engineer thing.

For some reason, we all got a kick out of this, on the side of one of the cranes:

At last, it’s time for the topping.

Recognize that fellow up top?

It’s Craig! (Remember Craig?)

He’s ready to wrangle.

When that last piece is up high enough, Craig will grab the tether and guide the start tub into position.


A light spring breeze can be very pleasant when you’re still wearing a jacket, but we were all willing to sacrifice a little comfort if it made the job easier.

Grab it, Craig!

…and hang on tight!

Ahhh…nearly there.

Something like a hundred bolts now need to go into place.

Still a lot of work before we turn on the water, but Bakuli is all in one piece.

One big, huge, twisting, colorful piece.

Swinging ‘glass

Bakuli construction

It’s been a little too windy for this sort of work the past few days, but on Monday morning there was a whole lotta swingin’ going on down in Splashin’ Safari.

Bakuli construction

It’s a painstaking process, getting that piece of fiberglass to fit perfectly onto the rest of the slide.

Bakuli, as you may recall, starts seven stories up

Bakuli construction

Not sure why the sky disappeared from the above photo. When I compressed the file, the blue sky vanished. Weird.

Thankfully, the sky returned in this next shot.

Bakuli construction

Here’s the other end of the ride.

Remember, “bakuli” is the Swahili word for “bowl.”

Bakuli starts as an in-the-dark water slide and then drops the riders into this 60-foot-wide bowl.

Around and around you’ll go. And where you stop…

Bakuli construction

… is right here, which will eventually be a pool.

Put it all together and you get this gigantic flying saucer.

Bakuli construction

Let’s widen that shot and put Bakuli in perspective.

Bakuli construction

That’s The Voyage in the background and Monsoon Lagoon in the front-right corner. There’s Bahari River in the middle.

Just don’t anybody come up with the brilliant idea that our new water ride looks like a snake.

We know.

We’re in denial.

Surely you remember the Queen of de Nile … she wasn’t much of a snake lover, either.