Holiday World: A Midwest Theme Park Destination {great vacation idea for families!}


Family Travel Ideas in Indiana

Just a short drive from Michigan, you will find one of the best theme parks in the Midwest. Read about our adventures at Holiday World, and why it’s a great theme park for families! 

 

Great family vacation idea to check out this summer- Just a short drive from Michigan, you will find one of the best theme parks in the Midwest. Read about our adventures at Holiday World, and why it's a great theme park for families!

Holiday World: A Midwest Theme Park Destination

It’s a fair statement to say our family loves going to amusement/theme parks. We haven’t made a bucket list of every single theme to visit before we die, but we’ve been to a few. When I heard of a theme park in Santa Claus, Indiana, I had to do some digging. 

First, knowing there is a city called Santa Claus is pretty cool. I am a HUGE lover of all things Christmas, so I was looking forward to visiting this unique little town. Second, if you’ve been a reader here for a while you know I am all about exploring small towns, and why small towns are a great place to vacation.

 Best Theme Parks To Visit- Holiday World

We packed up our Toyota Sienna and headed down to Holiday World, a theme park in Santa Claus, Indiana. 

 Best Theme Parks To Visit- Holiday World

When we arrived, we could see some cool rollercoasters waiting for us to come on a thrilling ride. After passing through bag check and the entrance, you are immediately treated to Christmas music and a tree! Previously known as Santa Claus Land, Holiday World was the nation’s first theme park opening up its doors in 1946.  It initially included a toy shop, toy displays, a restaurant, themed children’s rides, and, of course, Santa. 

Best theme park- Holiday World

As the park grew, so did the opportunity to expand this theme park to include more attractions. In 1984, Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Fourth of July themes were added, followed by Splashin’ Safari Water Park in 1993. 

Best theme park- Holiday World

As you go through each holiday, the music changes as well as the theme.

Best theme park- Holiday World

So of course, going through Christmas we were able to sing along to some of our favorite Christmas songs. Be sure to visit Mrs. Klaus’ Kitchen for some yummy treats. 

Best theme park- Holiday World

We were able to grab a few frozen hot cocoas, fudge, and humongous chocolate chip cookies that were soft and gooey! 

Best theme park- Holiday World

Best theme park- Holiday World

Best theme park- Holiday World

There is a spot for Santa Claus to sit and a big Christmas mailbox where kids can drop off their “Dear Santa” letters. Plus, a variety of Christmas decorations, more Christmas music, and that “it’s the most wonderful time of the year” feeling. 

Best theme park- Holiday World

Isn’t this tree beautiful?

Best theme park- Holiday World

Leaving the Christmas section of the park, we walked into Fourth of July. 

Best theme park- Holiday World

The boys had to play a round of basketball and rode a few rides before heading for the rollercoaster rides. 

Best theme park- Holiday World

The kids rode the Revolution a few times! Round and round they went, and all I could hear was screams of laughter! It was safe to say our morning was off to a great start! 

Family Travel Ideas in Indiana

A new fun ride at Holiday World is the Firecracker ride. 

Family Travel Ideas in Indiana

Shortly after the boys finished checking out the patriotic section of the park, we headed over to Halloween to ride our first roller coaster. 

Best theme park- Holiday World

The boys planned to ride every single roller coaster at least once, maybe twice. One of the many things we loved about Holiday World was short wait time on rides and no sweltering crowds of people.

Family Travel Ideas in Indiana

In 2016, Legend was “reborn,” with nearly 1,400 feet of new track (all eight layers!) plus the addition of a fifth tunnel and a new double-down element! The most dramatic drops on The Legend measure 113 feet, 77 feet, and 64 feet (the 77-foot drop features the world’s first spiral drop).

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We screamed like madmen the whole ride, but it was a lot of fun! After riding the Legend, we headed over to the Raven. This is a fan favorite roller coaster, known for its low swoop over Lake Rudolph, and surprising fifth drop and extreme finish. 

The boys loved this ride so much; they went back to ride it again. (And Zayd’n went back a third time!)

FREE things at Holiday World

Another one of our FAVORITE reasons to love Holiday World is all the FREE stuff you can get! Yes, FREE stuff! Taking an entire family to a theme park can be expensive. It was refreshing to see Holiday World understanding this by providing several free amenities! {plus the ticket prices to get into Holiday World are reasonable!} 

Such as:

  • Free soft drinks (including Gatorade, lemonade, iced tea, coffee, and water) are available throughout both parks all day, every day
  • Free sunscreen (Rocky Mountain Sunscreen, SPF 30) kiosks are located in front of the restroom buildings in Splashin’ Safari and by the west steps of Holiday Theater in Christmas, in Holidog’s FunTown, and next to Tippecanoe’s by The Alamo in Holiday World
  • Free parking
  • Free Wi-Fi
  • Free use of inner tubes

What other theme parks gives you FREE soft drinks? Not FREE refills, FREE drinks. Meaning, you don’t have to buy ONE drink while at Holiday World! Mind blown! 

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Another FAVORITE find was Dole Whip. We all know where the only place to find Dole Whip is taking a trip down south or out west to visit the mouse. But finding that frozen treat, everyone goes crazy for at Holiday World was a little “eek of joy!” 

 Best Theme Park in the MidWest

 

Best Theme Park in the MidWest
We left the Halloween and Fourth of July areas and headed into Thanksgiving. There’s always something to be thankful for, and it’s safe to say my kids were thankful for really cool roller coaster rides! 

Best Theme Park in the MidWest

“In 2013, TIME magazine named The Voyage the top wooden roller coaster in the nation! The Voyage is 1.2 miles long, placing it among the planet’s top two longest wooden coasters. It was the ride that never seemed like it was going to end! I had fun on it, but my body is getting too old for all these rides. However, the looks on the boys’ faces were priceless. They were screaming and pretending to be scared (we do that a lot, where we pretend we can’t do a ride and hold onto each other for dear life!). Talk about a fun family bonding moment! 

Best Vacation Ideas in the Midwest

We made our way off The Voyager and over to the Thunderbird.

Best Vacation Ideas in the Midwest

Zayd’n was determined to do the #frontseat challenge on all of the rides, and thankfully Ziah was happy to go with him. I went with him a few times, and let me tell ya, sitting in the front seat is a ride within itself! 

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This rollercoaster is the nation’s first launched wing coaster. Thunderbird launches riders from zero to 60 miles per hour in 3.5 seconds. Then multiple loops, rolls, twists, and turns begin: including a 14-story Immelmann loop, Zero-g roll, barrel roll, and the tallest vertical loop on any wing coaster!

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After going on a few of the boys’ favorite roller coasters again, we watched a few of their live shows and decided to go back to our cottage at Lake Rudolph for a rest. We eventually returned to take on Splashin’ Safari, which TripAdvisor named the Midwest’s Best Water Park in 2016. 

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Holiday World has also won international awards for being clean and friendly.

Good things to eat

Some of the things you must try while at Holiday World (besides all of the rides) are:

Best Vacation Ideas in the Midwest

Reese’s Piece Funnel Cake! It’s filled with peanut butter and chocolatey goodness! If that’s too much for you, they do offer regular funnel cakes and churros. 

  • Dole Whip {need I say more?}
  • Frozen Cocoa {think frozen hot chocolate}
  • Goodies from Mrs. Klaus {cookies, fudge, carrot cake and more!}
  • Frozen Slushes found in the waterpark {cool colors and flavors!}
  • The SmokeHouse {this is where we had lunch}
  • Udderly Blue Ice Cream {seriously cool blue + cherry ice cream flavors!}

Best theme park- Holiday World

Holiday World is also home to the nation’s number one waterpark (named by USA Today).

Best Waterpark for families

“The national newspaper describes Splashin’ Safari’s Mammoth water coaster as a not-to-miss thrill. As noted in this year’s Guinness Book of World Records, Mammoth is the world’s longest water coaster. At nearly 40 acres, Splashin’ Safari is one of the world’s largest water parks.”

Best Waterpark in the Midwest for families

The boys had a great time cooling off and having fun playing in the pretty blue water! 

Best Waterpark in the Midwest for families

It’s easy to spend a whole day at the waterpark, and another day riding all of the coasters and other thrilling rides! 

Best Waterpark in the Midwest for families

There’s fun for every member of the family, including areas just for the little ones! 

Best Waterpark in the Midwest for familiesWe had a great time at Holiday World. I never knew this park existed until just recently. It was about a 6-hour drive from the Mid-Michigan area, but worth the drive. We are already talking about planning a trip back! With the boys being in the tween and teen stages of life, I’m working on finding fun (their definition of fun) things for us to do as a family. Holiday World was a fun spot for the whole family, and I’m glad to add this Midwest vacation spot to our Midwest list of vacation ideas for families! 

Best Waterpark in the Midwest for families

Thank you to Holiday World for making a safe, fun and affordable theme park for families. And thank you for providing our family with complimentary passes {Disclosure: We were provided tickets, however, all opinions and photos are 100% my own}.

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3 Comments

  1. June 12, 2017
    Reply

    Wow this place looks like they have it all!!! What an amazing spot to go. I love the whole holiday theme.

  2. June 13, 2017
    Reply

    Now this place just looks and sounds amazing and is the perfect place for us to enjoy the summer. I may have to check them out one day myself with the family.

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