Since its beginnings as the small, Christmas-themed park known as "Santa Claus Land," Holiday World has grown by leaps and bounds to become not only a major attraction in our area, but one for families across the Midwest. Now, thanks to a really cool timelapse map from Google Earth, you can literally watch Holiday World's growth over the past 30-plus years!

Santa Claus Land opened in 1946 and changed its name to Holiday World in 1984 after adding the Halloween and 4th of July sections. In the nearly 33 years since that first expansion, the park has gone on to add a Thanksgiving-themed section, and of course the popular water park, Splashin' Safari which debuted in 1993. Several rides added over the years have won countless awards for being considered some of the best in the world including The Voyage and The Wildebeest.

Visitors to the park over the years have witnessed its growth through their own first person perspective, and have no doubt felt that growth in their legs as park continues to expand it's mark on the landscape, but to see it from space gives you the opportunity to truly appreciate how much it's grown over the years.

Starting in 1984 as a little, white, rectangular-ish, parking lot shape, very little changes over the first few years of the timelapse outside of a small expansion on the northwest corner until the addition of Splashin' Safari in '93 which pops up as a new white blob just to the north east of the park.

The pace picks up considerably between 1995 through 1999 with the addition of more attractions and the additional parking lot south of Highway 162.

2005 shows the early stages of the Thanksgiving section in the northeastern portion of the park before it's opening in 2006, followed by the addition of The Wildebeest in 2010 (shown as a tiny red dot in the northwestern corner of the park), all the way up to what the park looks like today.

The map moves pretty quickly after you press the play button, but fortunately allows you to move the slider back and forth on your own so you can see the changes from year to year. There's also the option of changing the speed between slow, medium, and fast under the year next to the play button.

With ownership constantly looking to add more attractions to keep people coming back for more, one can only imagine how the park will look another 10, 15, or even 20 years from now. Whatever that may be, I'm sure technology will give us the opportunity to watch it unfold in front of our eyes.

[Source: Holiday World]

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