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Designing Holiday World & Splashin’ Safari: Secrets Of A Theme Park Landscape

By HoliBlogger Barb W.

Did you know Holiday World & Splashin’ Safari sprawls over 300 acres of land? That’s a lot of ground to cover!

Like many, you’ve simply soaked in the floral ambiance without truly noticing every natural detail. As one of the cleanest, well-designed family parks around, Holiday World subtly surrounds us with cool shady spots and pleasing pops of color along our path.

It’s easy to rush past with your head stuck in the map looking for directions to the next exciting attraction. But, if you stop for a moment to take in the magical bits of scenery, you’ll truly enhance your park experience.

How does a theme park best plan the landscape in an aesthetically pleasing way for the benefit of park-goers? It all begins with a great team and a lot of ingenuity.

Yellow flowers located in front of The Voyage roller coaster.
Foliage near the Cabanas in Splashin' Safari.

It Takes A Holi-Village

Cathy Greubel, Director of Park Services at Holiday World & Splashin’ Safari, oversees the design and maintenance of landscaping throughout the park. Greubel says one of the first considerations given to plants selected for landscaping is finding ones that are low maintenance, like Boston Ferns. Potted plants also help with decorating areas throughout the park and can be revitalized seasonally.

With over 1,500 plants in the Christmas section alone, there’s plenty to tend to! All plants throughout the 300+ acre park are maintained by a crew of four who work four hours a day prior to park opening.

Selecting plants that are not labor intensive is key to helping the crew get their daily tasks done quickly. This ensures guests to have a beautiful backdrop when they arrive.

White flowers located in the Christmas section.
Flowers located in the Christmas section of Holiday World.

Setting Nature’s Stage

Imagine walking in the gate of Holiday World & Splashin’ Safari only to see a monochrome setting devoid of plant life. Lacking color and natural personality, the theme park would look different, indeed! It’s the bio-diverse shades and shapes of nature that fill our view with vibrant interest.

Planning landscape for the park involves a lot of creative vision. Each ride area, attraction, and walkway are its own intense project. Each are focused on a particular theme. There’s not only consideration for the concept but also the way the guests will interact with the landscape.

For example, Splashin’ Safari is designed to have a tropical feel. Plants are used to soften up the area to make it more inviting, but they are also used to help create shade for guests. In addition, foliage helps hide distracting areas like service roads to create a seamless, more pleasing view.

The planning doesn’t stop there, there’s plenty more to take into consideration such as varying the landscape colors to add interest. Landscapers also consider guest comfort by utilizing plants that don’t attract stinging bugs, yet still maintain balance in eco-environment.

Tending to the Native Biome

One only has to drive up to Holiday World & Splashin’ Safari to realize it’s surrounded by nature and farmland. It’s part of what makes the theme park so charming and special!

When the natural environment is altered to give new life to a plot of land, such as a beloved holiday theme park, there’s an eco-balance that must be considered. The landscaping team has been very conscientious about using plants native to the area like Hydrangeas and Lagerstroemia indica (Crape Myrtle).

The team is also working on re-forestation, replanting trees to replace aging trees or trees that were pulled for safety reasons. Re-forestation helps wildlife thrive by providing shelter and supplying food sources.

HoliBlogger Barb | Landscape Blog | Taking a Photo with Kitty

If you take time to look at the landscape throughout your journey around park, you may just see a few bunnies taking advantage of the shade provided by the bushes. At night, the local deer love to munch on the SunBelievables and ornamental Sweet Potato Vines.

Landscaping Gems

All this hard work by the landscaping team truly makes Holiday World & Splashn’ Safari a lovely haven. Everyone is greeted immediately with the splash of Christmas colors which sets the festive tone.

A consistent fan favorite are the orange and purple SunPatiens that lead the way into Halloween. These hardy flowers tolerate all weather conditions, including heat, allowing guests to enjoy the blooms throughout the seasons.

If you look around Halloween you’ll find additional plots of orange and purple SunPatiens that have been added for fan enjoyment.

Flowers surrounding the HallowSwings.
SunPatiens flowers that are orange and purple that are on Halloween hill in Holiday World

New beds of flowers have also been planted in Holidog’s Funtown. Additional potted plants decorate your journey along the walkways, and you’ll spot new trees by the Star Spangled Carousel.

Next time you’re at Holiday World & Splashin’ Safari, do take time to stop and smell the roses, per se. Admire all the beauty of the natural surroundings that enhance the landscape and brighten your day!

Want to learn how to utilize the secrets of a theme park landscape at home? Visit Rural Mom to get gardening tips from Director of Park Services Cathy Greubel!