Holiday World open for 75th season
Kylie Schepers/The Herald
Chad Benefield, radio host of WBKR, Ian Rice of Owensboro, Kentucky, and Herald Reporter Christine Stephenson ride the Voyage at Holiday World & Splashin’ Safari Friday. The media was invited to a sneak peek of the park on Friday and the park opens to the public today. Holiday World is celebrating its 75th anniversary this season.
By CHRISTINE STEPHENSON
SANTA CLAUS — Holiday World will be celebrating its 75th birthday during a summer marked by reopening and a greater sense of hope as the country continues to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic.
Holiday World will be open for the season starting today, and Splashin’ Safari is set to open May 21. Unlike last year, the park will be fully open with live entertainment again, Holiday World’s Media Manager Sabrina Jones said. The park is also honoring the anniversary by hiring 2,200 team members, according to the Holiday World website.
Although the staff is grateful that the park was able to open at all last year — several theme parks around the country sat empty — it didn’t feel quite the same with ride closures and fewer activities and guests.
Jones said that according to surveys the park does to predict future data, the park will likely have an influx of visitors this season.
“It’s going to be like the great return,” Jones said. “I think people are really starting to feel comfortable with traveling again.”
The park will still require face coverings at the front gate and indoors for those 8 years and older, but they are not required when outdoors where social distancing is possible. Guests will also not be required to wait in line virtually this year. Other information about COVID-19 safety can be found at www.holidayworld.com/2021visit.
In addition to rides and water attractions reopening — including the Cheetah Chase, the world’s first launched water coaster — there will be live entertainment throughout the season again, including Wild & Wacky Magic with Don Baggett and a new cirque show called “Celebrate.” There will also be a new entertainment and pool area at Splashin’ Safari called Muziki Bay and several new food items to try, including funnel cake fries.
There will also be a virtual Santa feature inside the St. Nick’s Gift Shop, where kids can tell Santa their Christmas wishes over a video call.
“We’re telling them that Santa has been very busy delivering vaccines around the world but that he always has time to stop back and spend time with his park in Santa Claus,” Jones said.
For those interested in working at the park, there are still positions open in rides, slides and food, Jones said.
Overall, Jones and the rest of the staff are excited to see the park return to its “full magic,” she said.
“Our mission has always been to be a place where families come and have fun, and I think in 2021, that’s never been more important,” she said. “Everybody’s had an opportunity to refocus their priorities, and we’re excited to be a lot of people’s summers, especially those who may have had a tough year and are ready to escape some of the craziness COVID threw at them.”
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