On Saturday, I made the trip to Santa Claus, IN for a live broadcast at Holiday World and Splashin' Safari. It was a big day for our great local theme park for two reasons. 1.) It was the first day of the 2012 season for Splashin' Safari, and 2.) it marked the debut of their newest water coaster, The Mammoth.

First off, let me tell you there's a reason Holiday World and Splashin' Safari have won the Golden Ticket Award for Friendliest Theme Park 13 years in a row. The staff at Holiday World always have a smile on their face and are extremely gracious as they allowed me to bring my wife and kids with me (it's one of the perks of the job I suppose).

As Holiday World as grown over the years, they've expanded their marketing into cities like Louisville, KY and Nashville, TN. This usually means that when we travel to Santa Claus for a live broadcast, there are radio stations from those cities there as well. We're usually paired up in groups and led throughout the park by a representative from the marketing department where we check out the marquee rides and even get to "line jump" by going in through the exit. I always feel a little guilty about that since I know other people have been waiting in line for 20-30 minutes then here I come in through essentially the wrong way and hop on the next coaster train. So next time you see me or someone else with radio station gear on, just know it wasn't our idea (but we're not going to turn down the offer).

After a ride on The Voyage, which is such an awesome coaster and I swear went faster than last time I rode it, but maybe I'm just getting old, we made our way to Pilgrim's Plunge which I had not ridden before because I'm not a huge fan of heights and the platform before the "plunge" stands 165 feet in the air. Turns out that it too is a great ride that I'll definitely jump on again.

Once my broadcast wrapped up at noon, I met up with my wife and kids to spend the rest of the day doing whatever. I knew going in the forecast called for temps in the mid-70's and I tried to get it through my 7-year old son's head that it may not be the best day for Splashin' Safari because the water would be chilly. But, that didn't stop him from wanting to at least give it a shot.

Before getting that far, we took a ride on Raging Rapids. Both my kids love it and it's become a must ride for them every time we go. Again, I warned them the water was going to be chilly, but they didn't care. If you've never taken a ride on Raging Rapids, the last part of the ride involves traveling through a flooded Western town where a curtain of water waits at the end. My hope was that we would get through the curtain quickly, therefore minimizing the amount of water we took on, but that hope was quickly dashed. As our boat entered the water curtain, it bumped up against the railing, and began to spin, using my seat as the pivot point. Needless to say, there wasn't a dry spot on me when the ride was over. It also turned out that I was right about the water temperature. I could have sawed through concrete with my nipples.


My son was still adamant about Splashin' Safari even though at this point, the skies had become cloudy and a light drizzle started to fall. We changed into our trunks and made our way to The Mammoth.  If you make a trip to Holiday World this year, you MUST ride this water coaster! It more than lives up to the hype. It's fast, features a ton of twists and turns, and you'll even find yourself catching some air in a few places. What impressed me the most was how the Liner Induction Motors propel the raft through throughout the ride using something called "Hydromagnetic" technology. The way I understand it, there are magnets under each raft that work with magnets underneath the uphill portions of the track that literally thrust you up each incline. I swear there were points where we went uphill faster than we went down hill. It. Was. Awesome!

We wrapped up our day at Splashin' Safari by spending a few minutes in the Bahari Wave Pool, another must for my son. Again, the water was cold, but jumping up and down riding the four foot waves got my blood pumping enough to where I didn't notice it...or maybe my skin finally went numb. Either way, we had fun and that's all that mattered.

Here are a few pictures I took during our trip including a few shots of The Mammoth which is much larger than the pictures may suggest. Be sure to keep listening to 106-1 KISS-FM every weekday all summer long for your chance to win free tickets! If there's one thing better than a trip to Holiday World and Splashin' Safari, it's a trip to Holiday World and Splashin' Safari using tickets you didn't pay for!

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