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Tips To Make the Most Out of Your First Visit to Holiday World

By HoliBlogger Trina H.

If you are looking to have the best day ever at Holiday World and Splashin’ Safari, then you have come to the right spot.

We’re sharing over 40 of our best tips with you.

Visiting any amusement park for the first time may seem overwhelming and you don’t want to miss out on anything. Yes, FOMO is a real thing! You saved up and now it’s time to plan your trip. Are you ready to have the best time making memories with your family at Holiday World and Splashin’ Safari?

We have lived in Indiana all our lives and recently visited the park for a long weekend. Let me be the first to say that we will be back again and again! Who doesn’t love FREE parking, FREE sunscreen, and FREE soft drinks?? I am sharing our best tips and recommendations to help you make the most out of your day and your kids will say that it was “THE BEST DAY EVER.”

About Holiday World & Splashin’ Safari

You get 2 parks for one price! That’s right you can explore over 120 acres of rides and slides all in the same day. We went back and forth throughout the day to cool off.

Holiday World is located in Santa Claus, Indiana and about 2 1/2 hours south of Indianapolis. It is by far one of the cleanest parks that we have visited. Plus, like I said before, you get FREE parking, sunscreen, and soft drinks. There is truly something for everyone from toddlers to teenagers and every age in between. Yes, even adults can join in on the fun!

My youngest enjoyed the smaller slides like those in Kima Bay and my oldest rode the water coasters like Mammoth and Cheetah Chase Water Coasters over and over again.

HoliBlogger Trina and her family by the Santa Statue.
HoliBlogger Trina's sons with Don Baggett.

Pre-Planning Tips

Some advanced planning can help you save money as well as provide the best experience.

Here are a few tips to consider when booking your trip.

  • Best Days to visit are Tuesday through Thursday. There are typically smaller crowds on these days while Saturday is the busiest time to visit.
  • Check out local Stay & Play Packages for discounts on tickets.
  • Consider Season Passes to not only save on multiple visits but also get discounts on food, locker rentals, gift shop purchases, tickets for friends, and more.
  • FREE Pre-K Season Pass for 4- & 5-year-olds. That’s right FREE. (Don’t forget age-confirming documents to process their pass). Kids 3 and under are also FREE.
  • Pick Your Date one-day ticket option is cheaper than the Any Day Ticket.
  • Don’t forget about 2-Day and 3-Day Flex Tickets. You can also purchase Next Day Tickets for $30 while still in the park.
  • Renting a Cabana or Cheetah Chaser Lounger is totally worth it! New in 2023, you can place a mobile food order to have it delivered to your cabana! Plus, they offer a mini-fridge and locking cabinet in the cabana. Cheetah Chasers have shade with two chase lounges, small cooler, locking cabinet, and even a charging port for phones!
  • Review the park map along with height restrictions before you arrive.
  • Yes, the Digital Photo Pass is worth it but opt for the all-season digital photo pass. Your kids can use their phone number at self-checkout if they don’t carry a pass with them on the rides.
  • The park is on Central Standard Time. Keep that in mind if visiting from other areas or even parts of Indiana.
  • Holiday World & Splashin’ Safari is cashless this year so consider converting cash to Holicash gift cards and wristbands to use throughout the park. We considered loading money for each kid on a wristband for the day and plan to try it next time. Balances on wristbands can be transferred to gift cards or back to the original form of payment at the end of a visit.
HoliBlogger Trina's husband and sons in The Wave.
One of HoliBlogger Trina's sons and her husband in Bahari River.
HoliBlogger Trina's husband and youngest son at Safari Sam's SplashLand.

What to Wear & Pack for A Day At the Park

  • Pack a waterproof backpack to store all your items. We found one on Aamazon.
  • Take a waterproof phone pouch with lanyard to wear your phone. I wore my phone with season pass and credit card (Apple Pay, Google Pay, ReadyCARD, or HoliCash are accepted too). I didn’t carry anything else from slide to slide, not even a towel.
  • Plan to get an all-day locker rental (small or large sizes available). You can get up to 4 wristbands to access the locker throughout the day.
  • Pack light! You really don’t need a lot of stuff. We barely used towels and just dried off walking to the next ride.
  • Bring cups for toddlers. You don’t need a reusable cup for the drink oasis unless you have a little one that can’t drink from a disposable cup yet. No need to carry more items around that could possibly get lost.
  • Water shoes are a must! The pavement can get hot walking in the water park from one attraction to the next. You will thank me later for this one.
  • Consider wearing quick dry clothes. My husband and boys wore their swim trunks and a quick dry shirt. I wore a pair of light weight shorts and quick dry tank top over my swimsuit. You will need shoes, shorts, and shirt to re-enter from the waterpark.

Meal & Snack Tips

  • Family pizza meal deal available at Santa’s Merry Marketplace and Safari Pizza is your best option for feeding the family. The meal includes a 16” sausage, pepperoni, or cheese pizza with 4 sides and dipping sauces. You can choose 2 breadsticks or an order of French fries as one of the 4 sides. Trust me when I say that this is really good pizza too!
  • Don’t skip the Blue ice cream at Udderly Blue Ice Cream.
  • Get snacks before the live shows at The Hoosier Celebration Theater. Check showtimes online at There are several locations to get snacks or drinks right by the theater. Sweet Stuff offers ice cream, popcorn, and cotton candy. There are also funnel cakes, lemon shake-ups, and Ben’s soft pretzels close by. I think my boys ate a total of 10 pretzels over 2 days!
  • Wildebeestro has kids’ meals at a reasonable price.
  • Eat at Plymouth Rock Café indoors to escape the heat of the day and get Thanksgiving type foods.
  • 4th of July section has great fair food that is very family friendly.
Family Pizza Meal Deal
HoliBlogger Trina's sons eating ice cream

Itinerary Recommendations

  • Arrive on time for the park to open. The waterpark usually opens one hour later.
  • Take a picture of your paper ticket with your phone.
  • Don’t worry if the weather becomes an issue with the Worry-Free Weather Guarantee. This is activated when weather closes a portion of the attractions for a period of 90 minutes on the day you visit. You can now use your ticket for admission on another day of your choice.
  • Get Phone Find Wristbands for your little ones to wear with your phone number on it just in case they get lost. Also take a photo of your kid with what they are wearing on that day with your phone. If lost, a park employee can call your phone number to reunite you with your child.
  • Consider renting a wagon or stroller for your little one if you don’t bring your own. There are hills in the park and little feet can get tired.
  • Make your way to the front of the water park to secure a locker. They sell out quickly so you will want to grab one first.
  • Start at the back of the park and work your way to the front for shorter wait times. Thanksgiving is a great place to go for bigger roller coasters like The Voyage and Thunderbird.
  • Wait at the entrance to the waterpark in Thanksgiving for it to open. Then head straight for the larger water coasters. This entrance location will get you there faster than at the front of the waterpark when the ropes drop.
  • If coasters aren’t your thing and you want chairs to set up “camp” then go straight to the wave pools to spread out your towels and stuff on chairs.
  • Parent Swap is a game changer with little ones. For us, one parent waited with our two older boys in line to ride then the other parent came up to the exit with younger son to swap. My older two boys could ride a second time with the other parent too.
HoliBlogger Trina's youngest son under falling water.
HoliBlogger Trina's sons in Bahari Wave with her.
HoliBlogger Trina's family in Bahari River.

Holidays in the Sky Drone & Fireworks Show Tips

It can be a long day at the park but trust me you will not want to skip Holidays in the Sky. This show occurs nightly June 17th – July 30th, 2023 and it is FREE. With over 400 drones in the sky, it is a spectacular sight to see. Our whole family loved it and probably my favorite part of the day.

  • Consider the New Elevated Experience for the best seat in the house of the drone and fireworks show. This experience also offers finger-food and bottled water.
  • Once the park closes head to the German American Bank Party Plaza for a show you will not want to miss.
  • Light the Night DJ Dance Party starts 30 minutes before Holidays in the Sky. Your kids will love the lighted floor, dancing, flashing lights, bubbles, and of course the music!
  • Save some souvenir money for the light up toys available to purchase here.
  • There are food options and a drink oasis in the Party Plaza.
  • Grab a seat on the grass lawn or by the bathroom area (towels work great) for the start of the Holidays in the Sky.

Be sure to follow the Holiday World Fans Faceboook Group for more tips and information for your next visit.