Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Family Fun Without Breaking The Bank: Why You Should Choose Holiday World & Splashin' Safari for YOUR Family! #HolidayWithPepsi #AD

I was asked by Carusele to participate in the #HolidayWithPepsi campaign, sponsored by Pepsi. Although I have been compensated, all opinions are my own.

Don't you love a good theme park?  Throughout the years, my family and I have visited several and it's always such a fantastic experience. We ride all of our favorite rides, meet some fun characters and enjoy some delicious 'fair food'. How could it not be a blast? Then comes the moment of truth.. the moment we look at our bank statement and realize just how much that trip has cost us. When we plan our trip, we account for the ticket costs, a small budget for souvenirs and food and yet that final tally creeps up on us. It starts with the parking fees, then food, then drinks, then the kids ask for even MORE souvenirs! Yikes! As it turns out, the tickets can be the CHEAP part of the trip. Who knew?

Perhaps this is why the frugal side of me finds myself being drawn towards my personal favorite theme park: Holiday World & Splashin' Safari. With their unlimited FREE Pepsi products, sunscreen and parking, what you see on the ticket price truly is what you get.

But let's be honest, it's not the ONLY reason it's my favorite. In fact, it really is only a very small portion. For me, it's all about family. Growing up in Southern Indiana there wasn't a whole lot to do. Playing in the creek, riding bikes... at some point did get a little old. Holiday World & Splashin' Safari was a big deal. I remember making a visit to Holiday World every single summer--- or at least most summers anyway. Some of my earliest memories were those riding the train and hearing those beloved nursery rhymes time and time again. By the time of my last visit I had heard those familiar words so many times that I could have given the tour myself. I also remember hearing stories from my mom who grew up in Santa Claus and knew the park well, back when it was simply known as Santa Claus Land.

In junior high, Holiday World became my first real job. I worked as a sweeper and learned firsthand just why it's been called the cleanest and friendliest park in the nation! I wasn't the only family member to work there though, both my mom and my sisters also had jobs there at one point or another. I think I still have some cousins that work there the occasional summer even. As I worked I would often see Pat Koch- the matriarch of Holiday World- out and about working, just like us. Broom in hand, making the park a pleasant experience for all who visited. It truly was a park for families run BY families.

My sisters and I, Holiday World 1990.

Last week, I had the opportunity to continue this family tradition with my own family- taking my children on their very first visit to Holiday World & Splashin' Safari.

Carrying on the tradition! My children, 28 years later.

We decided to start the day bright and early at opening. Okay, okay... they open at 10 CST, so it wasn't super early BUT we did arrive earlier even to ensure the best possible parking. Parking is free no matter where you park, but we knew at the end of a long day parking close was ideal. My best friend Brittany joined us for the fun and to provide an extra set of hands, just in case. (When traveling with an autistic child, it's always best to be prepared!)

As we entered the park, I was embraced by the familiar sights and sounds of my childhood. In the 12 years since my last visit, many things had changed but the fun had not. We were greeted by a large Christmas tree and our favorite carols playing in the background. Now as my daughter would say, we're a 'Christmas family'. I love Christmas and start preparing for months in advance. My tree is up November 1, but if it were acceptable I'd never take it down. I always loved having that little piece of Christmas in the middle of the summer. My kids did too, and were thrilled to have the chance to see every child's favorite person: Santa Claus!

But, it's not JUST Christmas. The main park is divided into 4 holiday sections (in addition to Splashin' Safari of course): Christmas, Halloween, 4th of July and Thanksgiving. Each section features a variety of rides, games and more that fit those themes perfectly. Even the restaurants stuck to the theme of the sections they were located in. We personally enjoyed some Mexican cuisine at The Alamo in 4th of July... but there were many fantastic options to choose from such as Kringles Cafe, Goblin Burger, etc. You can even grab a Thanksgiving meal! Not to mention snack shops throughout with my husband's favorite- fair food! Funnel cakes, Dole Whip, Fried Reeses, Dippin' Dots...you name it! Like the Pepsi Oasis throughout the park, all of the restaurants also feature those free unlimited drinks.

Before we hit any rides, we went straight to one of the several free sunscreen stations throughout the park. Yes, that's right...FREE! How many times have you gotten to a theme park (or pool or zoo...wherever) and realized that you forgot to pack the sunscreen? It happens to me ALL the time. In fact, I'd forgotten it for this trip too! I was extremely thankful they offered this so that I didn't have to worry about spending more money at the gift shops to make sure we didn't burn! Safety first, then the fun!

Before we had a chance to ride though, bad weather hit! This is Southern Indiana after all, so the weather can be a little bit CRAZY! All rides were shut down for about 15 minutes as we waited for the lightning to pass. Though the rides (or some rides) shut down a few more times during our visit, we didn't let that stop us! Those brief periods of waiting gave us a chance to check out shows, visit the gift shops or grab a snack! And the less than desirable weather off and on through the day kept many away which meant shorter wait times for us!

Once everything was opened back up, one of the first rides the kids rode was the Tippecanoes... which is--you guessed it: canoes! This is a ride I remembered and loved as a kid, and I loved sharing that experience with my own children. What can I say, I'm sentimental!

My sister and I, Summer 1990.

Next we headed off to the ride my almost 11 year old had been most excited for: The Revolution. Now, I don't know if you all know this ride, but you're standing the entire time as you spin crazy fast, while lifting up sideways. Yikes! It's pretty extreme, but there was a scene in Wimpy Kid where they'd gone on a similar ride so he was convinced it was going to be awesome. Then he saw it. Nope, no way, wasn't going to happen! In fact, we very quickly realized that Shaun and MANY rides didn't go well together. While it was certainly a disappointment to my thrill seeking husband who'd hoped to enjoy all the roller coasters together, there was still plenty to enjoy... there truly is something for everyone!

While my husband could venture off to The Voyage or The Legend (or any of the other more extreme rides), we hit up all the kid friendly rides. While there are kid rides mixed in throughout the park, there are also a few sections that are just for kids. The first one is a Christmas rides section with lots of cute rides perfect for my 4-year-old. I remember Dasher's Seahorses from when I was a child, but it was just one of several. My daughter's personal favorite Rudolph's Roundup! She was able to ride in Santa's sleigh, and SHE was in control of just how high it would go.

Then there is Holidog's Funtown located in the 4th of July. If the kids need a break from all of the rides, this is the place to go. While there are some rides (to include The Howler-a kiddie coaster), there are also splash pads and a playground area for kids to enjoy. Like I said, regardless of our level of thrill seeking, we were ALL able to find rides to enjoy.

And there were more than just rides. You can enjoy shopping at a number of gift stores, games throughout the park, and the shows! There are several shows throughout the day-- a dive show, a band that performs around the park, science with Holidog and more. One of the highlights of our day was the Mysterio show. This musical performance had our Finley absolutely captivated from the start. When they asked for a volunteer, she was THRILLED to have been selected and has decided that she is now destined for the stage. Now, I don't know HOW they made her float in the air, but it was pretty thrilling for her!

I know, I know... what about this 'Splashin' Safari' that I've mentioned? Splashin' Safari is the attached water park, so if you want a little cool down, this is the place to go. It is packed full of water slides and more water fun to enjoy. Personally, due to weather, we decided to skip Splashin' Safari during our visit, though we did enjoy some water rides in the main park like Ragin' Rapids- an all-time favorite of mine and Frightful Falls. But, had we decided to visit, we could have... no extra fees! Unlike other parks we've experienced where the different parks require different tickets, at Holiday World and Splashin' Safari, your tickets get you into BOTH. It's two parks...for the price of one. Ah, there's that frugal part of me getting excited again!

Let's talk about that frugal side for a minute, shall we? Like I said, typically when you go to a theme park those expenses add up very quickly and I have found for our family, aside from the parking, one of the biggest expenses is the drinks. We can control the meals and the souvenir shopping based on our budgets... but drinks? In the hot summer sun, they're pretty important in staying hydrated. So we bite the bullet and buy a drink. Then we get to the next ride and have to throw it out!  To be honest, I was probably guilty of not drinking as much as I should to stay hydrated just to save some cash.

This always drove me crazy, and is one of the big things that truly sets Holiday World apart from the rest... drinks are free AND unlimited thanks to their partnership with Pepsi. Throughout both parks we could find a Pepsi Oasis that offered a variety of drinks. My kids aren't soda drinkers, so they could enjoy pink lemonade or Powerade while us adults had a choice of our favorite Pepsi products.

From the rides to the extra perks, Holiday World & Splashin' Safari truly does seem to get how fun with the family should be! I know my family had a blast and cannot wait to head back next year. If you're looking for a vacation spot that is packed full of fun but still budget friendly, Holiday World & Splashin' Safari might be just what you're looking for...no matter where you're from! Skip the bigger parks, and get more for your money! Trust me, it may be a small town but the fun is as big as those larger, more crowded parks! And hey... free parking, free sunscreen, free Pepsi products... what mama doesn't love the sound of FREE!?

Ready to start planning YOUR trip? Learn more and connect below:

Visit the Website.
Instagram: @holidayworld
Twitter: @HolidayWorld

Have you experienced Holiday World and Splashin' Safari? How did free unlimited soft drinks from Pepsi help YOU save? Share your thoughts and experiences below.

Comments submitted may be displayed on other websites owned by the sponsoring brand.

I was asked by Carusele to participate in the #HolidayWithPepsi campaign, sponsored by Pepsi. Although I have been compensated, all opinions are my own.


  1. This looks like a wonderful place to take the family. Unlimited soft drinks is a great bonus!

    1. It really is... the savings add up very quickly throughout the day!

  2. Looks fun
    Thanks for suggestions

  3. Looks like a fun place for families.


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