Happy Birthday to us… Part 2!

75th Dedication Plaque

We (I) recently discovered from IAAPA historian Jim Futrell (shameless plug listen to our interview with him here) that Santa Claus Land kind of has two opening days, so we get to celebrate 75 years twice!  Just kidding, we’re an amusement park–everyone knows we celebrate our birthdays EVERY day of our birthday year, and some…

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Santa Claus Land Sunday – 1946 Newspaper Articles

Happy Fourth of July! In addition to celebrating our nation’s independence today, we’re kicking off Santa Claus Land Sundays. From now until our 75th Birthday on August 3, we’ll do our best to share another piece of Santa Claus Land history. This week, we’re starting off with an early report of America’s First Theme Park…

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Merch Mondays

Every department is getting really excited to celebrate our 75th, but our merchandise department is going especially over the top. They’ve bombarded us with photos and ideas, and the collection is really impressive this year.  Our staff who have seen the commemorative memorabilia seem to have formed a consensus: it’s not a matter of whether…

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Founder’s Day

Ronald Reagan. Louis J. Koch, Santa Jim Yellig

Today is the birthdate of Louis J. Koch. Let’s declare it to be Founder’s Day! Did you know that Holiday World started out as a retirement project? It was back in 1946. Our original name was Santa Claus Land. Louis J. Koch was an Evansville industrialist (he was one of the sons in the George…

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That “Harper Valley PTA” Girl!

Jeannie C. Riley ad

What in the world do Jeannie C. Riley and the song Harper Valley PTA have to do with Holiday World? The Grammy Award winner’s connection is with Santa Claus Land, actually; she performed her hit Harper Valley PTA in concert here on Sunday, June 11, 1978. That’s 41 years ago! This ad is from our archives Something else in that…

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Long may he wave

Santa Waving from Marketplace Balcony

What’s that? High atop the tower at the new Santa’s Merry Marketplace? It’s Santa Claus! #VolumeUp The tower itself is nearly six stories tall. Each morning, Santa and his helper will welcome Guests as they enter the park. This harkens back to our Santa Claus Land days when Santa would appear “up on a rooftop”…

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#ThrowbackThursday: Ski Show

Human Pyramid

Did you know we used to have a water-ski show? It was a long time ago. Sixty years, actually. It was called the Willie Bartley Water Ski Show and was performed on Lake Rudolph. This was back when Lake Rudolph was called Rudolph Lake. And it was smaller then than it is now. I kid…

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Memories of coaster names

1995 Brochure cover

We call it The Name Game here. Whenever we have something new, it needs a name. Over the years, we’ve spent untold hours coming up with themed names for attractions, restaurants, shops, and games. When our friends at CoasterRadio podcast asked me to call in to talk about how we came up with our coaster…

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The Eagles have sanded

Eagles Flight face

Every decade or so, our Eagles Flight ride gets a serious makeover. Those birds get plucked. Sanded down, actually. You know, like those high-priced treatments at a fancy spa. Here’s Joe in the Paint Shop, assuring the eagles that he’s a professional. He knows what he’s doing. He won’t wing it Let’s start with a sunny…

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Happy Birthday, Santa Jim!

Santa Claus

He was born on February 18, 1894. Santa Jim. Countless children whispered in Santa’s ear over his decades wearing the red suit here at Santa Claus Land. The story of how Jim (a great grandfather of our fourth-generation park owners) became Santa will quite possibly bring a tear to your eye. And here he is…

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#FlashbackFriday: 1955 Chrysler Commercial

Chrysler commercial

It’s #FlashbackFriday again and we found an amazing piece of Santa Claus Land history to share with you. This is the “Chrysler TV Caravan,” with a commercial touting their 1955 “hundred-million-dollar gift” – a new Chrysler! Don’t miss Santa Jim waving at the end. (He’s one of our 4th generation owners’ great-grandfathers.) Of course, this is…

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A focus on snow

Holidog statue after an ice storm

Are you a fan of snow? This drone footage was shot a year ago, when the park was under a blanket of the lovely stuff. Here in southern Indiana, we don’t usually get a lot of snow. And when we do, it doesn’t last long. But when we do … We take photos! Here are…

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