It’s sad to type this, but it’s official. Splashin’ Safari has closed for the 2017 season. I added that information to the “Ride Closures” section of our website first thing on Monday morning after the water park closed.
That can’t keep me down long though. If there’s one thing I love as much flying over the top of one of the hills on our water coasters, it’s fall. The crisp air, fall foliage, and being able to spend all day in my favorite sweatshirts.
Oh, and Halloween decorations. I go all out.
You can imagine my excitement last week when I ventured out into the park, camera in tow, to capture photos of the park as all our Halloween decorations started going up. The park transforms this time of year. Halloween hill has been taken over. The pumpkins are here. I repeat: the pumpkins are here in all shapes and sizes! (If you think you know just how many pumpkins we brought in to decorate the park, be sure to enter our newest sweepstakes!)
Before I even took my first photo, I spotted a couple of visitors that had made their way into the newly-placed decorations. As those who listen to our podcast already know, this is what we’d call a Code WL. If you’re behind on your listening, this is how we let each other know when wildlife is spotted in the park. Here’s a picture I snapped before one of Santa’s reindeer decided they were finished exploring.
I definitely got the easy job. We have crews that have been working diligently for the past two weeks to get everything put into place for the start of Happy Halloween Weekends. The flower beds are filled with mums now. Hundreds of straw bales have been placed all around the park. Forty truck-loads of corn fodder shocks were brought in. My job was to explore the park and capture the beauty of all the new additions.
On my most recent trip into the park, I stopped to get a few pictures and chat with Tom who was replacing lights on the Star Spangled Carousel (called the Star Spangled Scarousel during Happy Halloween Weekends). He let me know that there were over 1,300 lights on the Carousel, the majority of which are changed in the fall. They’re no longer the red, white, and blue that you’re used to during the summer; the red and blue have been replaced with green and orange. I also had to stop and get a photo of Millie, who was putting the finishing touches on some decorations near Rudolph’s Reindeer Ranch.
As the new guy in the office, I’ve had a lot of memorable “first” milestones since I started. First Behind-the-Scenes Coaster Walk. First Rock the World Music Fest. First Network TV show shoot.
I think the opening of Happy Halloween Weekends just might be my favorite one yet.