Splashin' Safari: A Great Water Park That's Free

At Holiday World in Santa Claus, Indiana

Splashin' Safari water park at Holiday World in Indiana
••• Splashin' Safari at Holiday World is among the best and biggest water parks in the country. Holiday World

Splashin' Safari is one of the biggest and best water parks in the nation. And it's free.

Well, sort of free. It's included with admission to Holiday World, the holiday-themed park adjacent to Splashin' Safari. Since it is not a standalone water park, it makes the fact that is among largest and finest water parks all the more impressive. (If you are planning a visit, be sure to bring dry clothes to enjoy Holiday World's incredible coasters and other attractions; likewise, folks planning to visit Holiday World should remember to pack a bathing suit.) Splashin' Safari easily makes the list of the best water parks at theme parks.

The park is so big it has not one, but two uphill water coasters. And not just any water coasters, but the world's longest. When the approximately 1/3-mile-long Wildebeest opened in 2010, it captured the title. It uses linear induction motors to propel its rafts uphill. Wildebeest reaches a top speed of around 25 mph, includes two tunnels (a Holiday World staple), and last two minutes and 30 seconds. In 2012, Splashin' Safari opened Mammoth and broke its own record. The newer water coaster exceeds Wildebeest by about 50 feet in length. It, too, uses linear induction motors and offers a thrilling ride.

The towering 102-foot tall ZOOMbabwe, among the world's tallest enclosed water slides, is another one of the park's featured rides and is a real winner. Riders experience much of its ride in the dark. Other attractions included Bakuli, a bowl ride, the Jungle Racer mat racing slide, and the Zinga funnel ride.

With two wave pools, two lazy rivers, and two interactive water play structures, the attractions can accommodate a lot of guests, and the park generally doesn't feel out-of-control crowded, even on busy, hot days.

The theme is African (that's the "Safari" part), hence the silly ride names. The schizophrenic park also has a California theme (that's the "Splashin' " part) and plays Beach Boys and other surf tunes over the loudspeakers.

More Free Stuff

The family-owned park has an almost religious devotion to customer satisfaction. The grounds are spotless, the prices are reasonable, and the ride ops and other staff are unfailingly polite and cheerful. While other parks seem intent on wringing every last cent out of their guests, get a load of what Splashin' Safari includes at no extra charge: free parking, complimentary inner tubes, unlimited free soft drinks, and free sunscreen. Now, that's what I call putting customers first.

See Splashin' Safari

Splashin' Safari Photo Gallery

Admission Policy:

Splashin' Safari is included with general admission to Holiday World. the combined parks offer reduced prices for children (under 54") and seniors (60+). Ages 2 and under are free. Two-day passes and next-day passes are available. Season passes and group rates are available. Special promotions may be available online at the park's Web site. Parking is free.

Operating Schedule:

Weather permitting, Splashin' Safari is open mid-May through mid-September.

Hotel Info

    Location and Phone:

    The physical address is 452 E. Christmas Blvd. in Santa Claus, Indiana.

    (Toll-Free) (877) 463-2645
    (812) 937-4401

    Directions:

    From I-64: Take Exit 63. Go south on Highway 162 for 7 miles, until 162 comes to a "T." Turn right and head up the hill to the park.

    From Bloomington: Highway 37 S to Bedford. West on U.S. 50 to Loogootee. South on U.S. 231 to Jasper, continuing south on Highway 162 through Ferdinand and into Santa Claus. When 162 comes to a "T," turn right and head up the hill to the park.

    From Bowling Green: William Natcher Parkway to Owensboro. Take U.S. 231 N, which will take you into Indiana. South of Chrisney, turn right (east) onto Highway 70. After approximately 7 miles, turn left (north) onto Highway 245, which will take you into Santa Claus to the park.

    From Chicago: Route 90 southeast to I-65 S in Indiana.

    Take I-465 south and west around Indianapolis. Continue on I-65 south. Take I-265 west to I-64 west to Exit 63. Turn left (south) onto Highway 162 and drive 7 miles until the road comes to a "T. Turn right and head up the hill to the park.

    Official Site:

    Splashin' Safari at Holiday World