Don’t let the hot summer days slip away without a trip to one of Indiana’s most famous theme parks!
This year was the first time we’ve visited Holiday World and Splashin’ Safari with kids. Even though I have great memories of going to Holiday World when I was younger, I think I like it even better now that I’m a parent.
With that said, it’s very different to go as a kid than to go with kids, kwim? We learned a lot from our two trips this season. My hope is that the tips we learned make your trip even better!
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11 Tips for Holiday World and Splashin’ Safari
Holiday World and Splashin’ Safari operate on central time. Who knew? Not me! And yes, our ignorance meant we showed up on a hot, summer day an hour before the water park opened.
The park provides free parking, free drinks, and free sunscreen. These extras are part of what makes Holiday World famous. It was NICE to run up the drink stations throughout the day and grab an ice-cold drink without having to pay!
Go on a cloudy day. The lines are shorter and the parks are less crowded! And if it rains…
Make use of the weather warranty. This is a bit of a gamble, but here’s how to visit Holiday World for free! If a storm causes rides to be shut down for at least an hour (and it’s at least one hour before Splashin’ Safari’s scheduled closing time) and you prefer to leave for the day before they reopen rides, you are welcome to stop by Guest Relations to sign up for a free return visit in 2019. We did this! We went on a cloudy day in June, played for a few hours, and then a tornado warning closed the park! We waited for an hour and then signed up for our FREE return visit. We then went back to Holiday World in July for free and stayed all day!
Bring the little ones. Children ages two and younger get in free!
Make use of the Parent Swap. Is your baby too little for some of the rides? Have no fear! One parent can ride while the other stays with the child (in the line), then the two parents will “swap.” The adult who rode first will wait in the exit with the child while the other parent rides. An additional child/big sibling who is tall enough to ride may choose to ride with both parents if there is a seat available!
Expect to find plenty of fun things to do with toddlers. Just because they’re little doesn’t mean they’re left out! Our girls loved The Howler in Holidog’s FunTown. Our oldest (42″) could ride it by herself. Our toddler (36″) could ride with an adult. In Splashin’ Safari, our toddler spent most of the morning going up and down the eight rides in Safari Sam’s SplashLand. SplashLand is great for little ones because there’s a maximum height limit of 54” or you must be accompanied by a child under 54″.
Bring your dog. Although dogs aren’t allowed in the parks, you can board them at Holiday World! This is a handy tip if you don’t have a dog sitter lined up. Guests have the choice of an air-conditioned kennel or an outdoor kennel. Read more HERE.
Have your child wear your phone number on a bracelet. This tip came from one of my friends who is a Holiday World expert: “Just inside the main entrance I get the wrist bands they provide to put on the kids. They have a blank line on them where you write your cell phone number on it. I’m SO paranoid my kids will get separated from me that I won’t do anything else until I’ve put those phone number armbands on them. I even bring scotch tape along to put over the part I write on so the numbers won’t smudge from sweat or wet rides. If there’s more than one adult with me, I put one band per number just to be safe. I write ‘mom’ next to my phone number so they’ll hopefully call me first.”
Protect your things. Here’s another tip from a Holiday World expert, ” I take several ziplock bags to keep things in because even when they’re in my bag that tend to get wet. There are free lockers at the end of each ride you can stash your bag in while you ride. Those lockers at rides are nice because you can keep your things locked up long enough for you to ride the ride without having to pay or walk forever to access your things.”
What to Bring to Holiday World & Splashin’ Safari
- Double stroller (for our kids ages 2-4),
- Water shoes (the concrete heats up!)
- Umbrella (for nap time shade)
- Snacks for the littlest kiddos (apart from baby food, outside food and drinks are not allowed)
- Misting fans
- Sunscreen (We lathered up as soon as we got out of the car and then re-applied at the sunscreen stations.)
- Puddle jumper life jackets (although life jackets are provided, we prefer our puddle jumpers!)
Holiday World and Splashin Safari are located in Santa Claus, Indiana. If you’re coming from Terre Haute, plan for the drive to take about 2.5 hours each way.
Want some water fun closer to home? Don’t forget to check out our guide to places to swim in Terre Haute and the Wabash Valley!