Big Splash Adventure Indoor Water Park Review (October 26, 2013)

Apologies on getting this review out late. I’ve been booked solid for the past month and haven’t had an adequate amount of time to continue on it! But I now have it finished and ready to be viewed!


So, on Saturday October 26, I made an hour and fifteen-minute drive from Louisville, Kentucky, north to Big Splash Adventure resort and indoor water park located in French Lick, Indiana. Once at the top of the hill where the resort is located, you are greeted with the backside exterior of the indoor water park with all of the main water slides poking out. Further down, you see the hotel-portion of the resort, and the entrance to the main lobby to check into the rooms or buy day passes for the water park.


The indoor water park itself has a great amount of space around and above, with the majority of the water park’s walls and roof being made of glass so sunlight can enter through practically any angle, and so park goers can get a good view of the Indiana hills surrounding the resort. The park’s attractions include the Lost River that flows around paths and under slides, the Buccaneer Bay water playground with tipping bucket and small slides, two whirlpool spas, and the park’s four main water slides.



The first of the four major water slides is Pirate’s Plunder. The initial start of this blue body slide is a near-flat straight section and may need a bit of effort for riders to get going, but the slide picks up a bit once inside the dark area of the flume. There’s nothing very intense about this slide outside of not being able to see ahead of you along the way due to the darkness, making some turns sudden. It’s also one of the only two slides that end in the pool that connects to the lazy river.


Sitting to the left of Pirate’s Plunder is Silver Beard’s Revenge, the park’s wide inner-tube bowl slide. It begins with a gradual, yet easy drop into the bowl section where sliders complete an impressive amount of revolutions before coming into the exit in the middle. Exiting the slide involves a steep drop into a dark section and completing a U-turn before splashing into the shutdown lane at the end. The slide itself is quick on the drop, yet very gentle for the entire slide (minus the small drop upon exiting the bowl). It’s the most popular ride in the entire water park, with the longest wait of all slides.


To the left side of Silver Beard’s Revenge is the park’s normal enclosed inner tube slide, Jolly Roger Jetty. The first half of this slide consists of a left turn followed by a right helix in complete darkness. The slide’s tunnel then protrudes out of the water park, shining more light inside, and does two helixes to the left before coming back inside to land in the pool connected to the lazy river.



The last of the water slides is the park’s most intense, Scallywag Scuttle. This body slide was designed to fit the tight space near the roof, which made for a tight and quick initial turning drop out of the platform before continuing the rest of the slide and splashing into the shutdown lane at the end. Thanks to the drop from the station, Scallywag Scuttle has a quicker speed throughout the entire slide compared to the other slides.

Overall, the water park had a very decent collection of water park attractions and slides for a park of its size. I found myself especially enjoying a few laps around the gentle lazy river that winds under the slide structure, around paths, and under different themed fountains and dump buckets and shower curtains along the way. It is far from a water park that would provide thrill seekers a place to get their fix at, but it does have one element that many of the closest water park to it doesn’t have: A roof

It’s a heavy-hitter for families with young children, and made up the majority of goups at the park during my visit.

Jolly Roger Jetty: 7/10
Pirate’s Plunder: 7/10
Scallywag Scuttle: 8/10
Silver Beard’s Revenge: 8/10

Overall water park rating: 7/10

Trip Report: Holiday World Splashin Safari (August 31, Hyena Falls Review)

Having not been able to visit Holiday World earlier in the year, I was able to find an opportune time to make a drive up on Labor Day weekend. This would be a particularly short visit since I wanted to be out of the park and driving before sundown, so I made sure to hit the essentials immediately.
Upon arriving and getting in to the park, I made my way to the lockers where I would place my belongings (including camera), then made a bee-line straight to Hyena Falls. If you’re not familiar with the layout of Holiday World, then you should probably know that the walk to there can be, admittedly, quite lengthy. On your way there, you pass a wave pool, two water play structures, a world class wooden roller coaster (Voyage), and an Intamin shoot-the-chutes (Giraffica, previously called Pilgrim’s Plunge).

Eventually you make it to a more quiet corner of the amusement park where the new ProSlide complex was placed, along with a small splash and fountain area for smaller children, a new large restroom stall, an extra Dippin’ Dots stand and a roofed area containing free Pepsi drink stalls and a pretzel stand. The area was fairly quiet upon arrival considering it was far from most of the other water slides in the park, but as the day went on, people began to migrate more towards it and that’s when the lines really filled up.
So how about the new slides?

Hyena Falls is yet another water slide complex built by ProSlide company for Holiday World Splashin’ Safari. On the lower deck are three enclosed inner tube slides named Chuckles, Giggles, and Tee-Hee. The slides vary in having helixes or regular turns, but each one has a section that has riders coming out of an enclosed section and down a dip to gain a bit more speed before coming back into a tunnel. They’re fairly short, but can pick up some fair speed when riding with a partner.


On the upper deck sits a specialty slide, the new ProSlide Wave named Laughs. This particular slide is longer than the three previous ones, and has a larger tunnel to accomodate ProSlide’s special two-seater whirly wheel inner tubes and larger single-person inner tubes. It begins with an s-bend curve before coming down a fast drop into the slide’s main centerpiece, which is a halfpipe element that is completely rounded to give a smooth, zero-gravity experience when riding up and down the wall. The exit from the element did have minor jarring due to the inner tube riding over rough waters at the bottom and coming quickly towards the edge of the flume before slowing down, but nothing to cause any discomfort from the floating sensation one receives on this slide in particular.
All four slides make a very nice addition to the park’s already impressive lineup, especially with Laughs. I was able to try each of them at least once (Laughs twice) before going back to the water park and re-riding other slides.
Right after Hyena Falls, I was able to hop in the single rider’s line for the park’s largest Hydromagnetic Water Coaster, Mammoth, and had an experience on it that definitely beat my first time on it (when the water was freezing cold)! It’s safe to say that the water this time felt especially warm, and the raft almost felt as though it moved quicker on the course! With the excessive amount of water that was thrown around during the quick course, it still made for a very, very wild ride that must be experienced before leaving the park!
The only other slides I was able to hop on were Wildebeest and Jungle Racers before taking on the
dry-side of the park. Coming from the Thanksgiving area later in the day, I noticed that the park had silently removed two inner-tube slides that used to sit near the entrance of the water park, their names AmaZOOM and Bamboo Chute.
All in all, the day visit went smoothly. The coasters were still running wonderfully, and the same could be said about the rest of the park; especially considering the crowds on a Labor Day weekend.

(*Edit [May 7, 2014]: It has been confirmed that both AmaZOOM and Bamboo Chute were relocated to the Lake Rudolph campgrounds next door where it now operates as Santa’s Splash Down.)

*Hyena Falls:
   *Chuckles: 7/10
   *Giggles: 7/10
   *Laughs: 8/10
   *Tee-Hee: 7/10
Jungle Racer: 7/10
Mammoth: 10/10!

Atlantis Clarksville Trip Report (July 12, 2013)

Because I wasn’t able to visit another water park since May, I did another visit to Atlantis in Clarksville, Indiana but made it a surprise visit since I wanted to see how the water park was doing, and would be like on a busy day.

A very sunny morning about an hour after the park had opened had some light, but very good crowds. The majority of visitors were large groups of very excited children on field trips, but the rest were mostly teens and adults looking for a very nice day out in the sun.

I spent about a few hours in the water park and had myself a pretty good time. I spent most of my time sliding down the slides since I didn’t really feel like bothering with the wave pool. With this visit, I was able to compare what the park would be like with a crowd. The splitting of the staircase for body sliders on the left, inner tubers on the right was a very nice idea and allowed for body sliders to bypass those with inner tubes and head straight to the slide of their choice. The top of the complex was much less organized though, with people standing in random locations unsure what line they might be in for the slide they want. It takes a bit of squeezing-by other people sometimes to be able to reach the slide of your choice.

The slides themselves were just about the same as the last visit, except that the slide surfaces were cleaner and smoother, and the water felt slightly warmer than my first visit in the cold. One very noticeable change was in the enclosed body slide where I had mentioned that the second helix on the slide previously had back-scratching, which wasn’t felt on this visit!

So, I’m happy to say that this visit turned out to be a better visit compared to the last, and the water park was doing much better than it was earlier this summer! I can definitely recommend this water park if you’re ever in the Louisville of Clarksville areas and want to get your feet wet, just be sure to avoid weekends since those are the busiest times for the park. Also, if you want to avoid additional charges for locker use, bring your own locks!

Body Slide (Closed Flume): 7/10
Body Slide (Open Flume): 6/10
Tube Slide (Closed Flume): 7/10
*Tube Slide (Open Flume): 7/10
Overall Water Park Rating: 6/10

Atlantis Clarksville Review (May 24, 2013)

Atlantis water park in Clarksville, Indiana is a fairly small water park on the other side of the Ohio River where the city of Louisville, Kentucky sits. There isn’t a lot to expect from this park, but for local Louisvillians, it gives a good local water park for people to visit, and gives people a less distance to travel compared to the extra hour drive north-west to Holiday World Splashin’ Safari.

Wildebeest Wildebeest Raft
Wildebeest Wildebeest Raft

My visit to the park started about an hour and a half before the official first day of opening on Friday of memorial weekend. Weather that morning was cold, with wind chills that blew at around high 60 degrees (fahrenheit). But I braved the temperature and did my morning POV shooting down the park’s slides, with the off-ride footage recording and picture-taking later during my visit when more of the sun came out. Being the first day of opening this season, and the morning being very chilly, the turnout for the water park turned out to be very low, so most of my footage shot around the park had very little to no people in it.
The water park’s main features are the Mount Olympus water slide structure, which houses the park’s four main water slides, and the Tsunami Sea wave pool that has a maximum depth of 5 feet. Outside of those, there is King Neptune’s Cove which is a kid splash area, two main concession stands, and plenty of loungers to relax in the sun or shade.

The Mount Olympus water slide complex has four WhiteWater West water slides spiraling and curving in and around each other before landing in the shared 3ft deep pool at the end. Sporting either white or aquatic blue color, this slide complex consists of two body slides and two inner tube slides, one of each type are enclosed while the others are open flume slides. The slides didn’t have any specific names other than “Tube Slide” and “Body Slide,” so I’ll just refer to each by them being an open or enclosed flume.

The first slide to the right, once reaching the top of the tower, was the white open-flume tube slide. It consisted of multiple turns and a slight helix during the course, and had a pretty decent length to it. Very nice, and very easy for beginner sliders. Some single riders can find themselves losing control of their tube and end up facing the wrong direction if they’re not careful!

The next slide from that to the left would the enclosed inner tube slide. A completely pitch black course the whole way down with a few sudden turns along the way. The experience for this slide is also pretty decent, but definitely a step up from the open flume inner tube slides due to the darkness factor.

The first of the body slides is the open flume body slide, which winds itself in figure eights and contains a few dips before coming into the pool at the end. Good, easy slide for those willing to go alone, and can provide a mild thrill for bigger sliders going down on their backs.

The last of the slides (but probably the first you’d see reaching the top of the tower staircase) is the enclosed body slide. Definitely the quickest in the park due to its steeper descent, and how most riders are forced to lay on their backs on the way down. The slide has some good speed to it, especially on the second helix. The biggest drawback for this slide, though, is that the second helix does seem to have some back scratching to it.


The water park as a whole doesn’t really provide great “thrills” in my opinion, but it’s definitely a good choice for visiting a local water park with young children or to spend a few hours with friends at, especially with the low $8 admission fee to enter. The park does have some very busy peak days, and you could end up waiting in lines for a fair amount of time too.

Overall, it’s not really something to go out of your way for if you’re a traveling visitor to the city of Louisville for a day or two, but if you would like some quick spins on some slides for a very reasonable price and do not have the time to drive an extra hour west to Holiday World’s Splashin’ Safari, then I would highly recommend giving this water park a try.

Body Slide (Closed Flume): 7/10
Body Slide (Open Flume): 6/10
Tube Slide (Closed Flume): 7/10
Tube Slide (Open Flume): 6/10
Overall Water Park Rating: 6/10

Splashin’ Safari Mammoth Review (June 2, 2012)

Holiday World Panorama
I recently made a trip to Santa Claus, Indiana to attend the Holiwood Nights roller coaster enthusiast event at Holiday World. The event mostly consisted of exclusive ride times on the park’s most popular rides, including their three wooden roller coasters, Raven, Legend, and Voyage.
This event also included exclusive ride times on the park’s two (count it, two!) ProSlide Hydromagnetic water coasters: Wildebeest, and new for 2012 Mammoth.
Wildebeest Wildebeest Raft
Wildebeest Panorama
I’ve already written a short review of Wildebeest before, but I feel like giving another just to reiterate what was said before. Wildebeest was the park’s first water coaster, and was the world’s longest of it’s kind when it first opened. It first consists of an easy conveyor lift to the top of the hill while sitting in the green 4-person inline raft, which makes riding this slide easier for people who have difficulty climbing stairs and makes it much less of a hassle to get on the slide.
The lift ends when you are greeted by an operator at the top, and enter the tunnel with a flood of water that constantly pours in from the sides. Then the slide gets going and never stops until it reaches the end. It flies through the entire course at a very quick speed, sending riders down airtime-inducing drops and back uphill at speeds that would match a real roller coaster (hence the name “Water Coaster”). Once the slide reaches the end, it lands on a conveyor belt that brings the raft to a halt at a separate exit station for riders to disembark.
(The following POV footage was shot with the express written permission of Holiday World & Splashin’ Safari management during a private event.)

Wildebeest is a hit with any roller coaster enthusiast who rides it, and it is definitely a must-ride if you ever visit the park. But of course, it’s not the only slide one must experience if they ever come here.

Sitting beside the Wildebeest is the newest water coaster to open at Splashin’ Safari for the year 2012. It stole Wildebeest’s record for being the longest water coaster on the planet, and absolutely dominates Wildebeest by its sheer size. With its size also comes a suitable name: Mammoth!

Mammoth Entrance
Mammoth is the park’s second ProSlide Hydromagnetic water coaster. It breaks a record by being the longest of its kind, and is the first of its kind to feature the new 6-person cloverleaf rafts. The rafts are just like the 4-person cloverleaf rafts used by select ProSlide raft slides. The difference is that it seats more people, does not have a hole where you can touch the surface of the flume through it, and the seats are a little bigger and more cozy to sit in.

Mammoth Mammoth Queue Line Mammoth Conveyor Lift
Mammoth starts with a conveyor lift up the hill side, with an operator to greet you at the top just like Wildebeest. Once you get going on this slide though, you are either facing forwards, backwards, or sideways depending upon where you sat. Another fun part about the round seating is that you get to rotate during the slide, which adds to the excitement.

Mammoth Mammoth Tunnel
Mammoth Panorama
Unlike Wildebeest, Mammoth doesn’t exactly speed its way through the entire course and it doesn’t pull any airtime on the hills (except for the fourth drop, which is angled at 45 degrees and can give a good scare for any riders going backwards!). What it does do is soak you with a ridiculous amount of water; more than Wildebeest! In some of the tunnels, the raft will pass through floods of water that completely soak every passenger on board. And when you reach the end, it gives a whitewater finale by ending in a small flowing river of water instead of on a conveyor belt like Wildebeest does.

(The following POV footage was shot with the express written permission of Holiday World & Splashin’ Safari management during a private event.)

Mammoth is absolutely amazing to ride, and is beautiful to look at. Wildebeest will provide more thrills, but Mammoth is probably more fun to ride with friends because of how you are facing each other and how Mammoth has a higher capacity.

I was able to ride both of these slides once during the exclusive ride times (ERT’s). I wish I could have ridden them more, but I wanted to be able to take photos of both slides. Also, the water that morning was freezing! The air temperature during the ERT session was around 60 degrees (Fahrenheit), and the water was cooled the night before when temperatures were around 50 degrees. Don’t think that the water is like this all the time though. On normal warmer days, the water is pretty nice. Splashin Safari even has an app on their website to tell you how warm their water is.

Still, even with the frigid water that morning, everyone who rode Mammoth seemed to love it!

I’ll have to take another trip back to Holiday World later this summer so I can try Mammoth again when the water is warmer. I definitely can’t wait for that!

Mammoth next to Wildebeest

Splashin Safari Review

Splashin Safari

I would like to first say that Holiday World has to be one of the cleanest parks I have ever visited. Even with free sodas and people drinking them from plastic cups, there is almost no litter to be found on their ground. Holiday World also gives off a great family feeling with the owners, Pat and Dan Koch, walking around their park often to greet guests. These factors I especially enjoyed about their park.

I visited Splashin Safari during an annual roller coasters enthusiast event called Holiwood Nights which contains exclusive riding times on their roller coasters and a few of their water slides, including the world record holder for the longest water coaster, Wildebeest.

 

The Wildebeest is a thrilling water coaster with seven upward hydromagnetic sections. The water slide starts with a conveyor lift to the top while you sit in the inline raft. Once you reach the top, you are greeted by a ride operator, and a flood of water coming in from the sides of the tunnel. The slide races towards and over each hill at a very fast pace and soaking you at the same time. Because of the fast pace, you can get airtime on most of the hills. This water coaster always leaves people smiling and completely soaked by the time they reach the station at the end of the slide. The only downside to this amazing water slide is that the water temperature on it is the coldest throughout the entire water park, but this never kept me from riding it more than 5 times during the Holiwood Nights event.

Wildebeest Wildebeest Wildebeest Wildebeest

Zoombabwe is a very tall and long dark family raft slide. This slide is pretty fast for a dark raft slide, and with all that speed it’s surprising how long it lasts. The slide has air holes in it punched out in shapes of tiki faces and there are areas in the slide where extra water is added to slow down the rafts. This water slide also sits between the tracks of the Legend roller coaster, giving a unique view of passengers riding it. The downside to this water slide is that the walk up to it is pretty long.
ZOOMBabwe ZOOMBabwe ZOOMBabwe ZOOMBabwe

Zinga is a purple and blue ProSlide Tornado that also sits in the area of the Legend roller coaster. This water slide starts with a speedy drop into a large tunneled helix, then it drops out into the Tornado section where you ride up the walls. This was a very fun slide to ride because of how fast you enter the tornado section and the floating feeling you get when you ride up the walls of the element. The downside to this slide is that it also has a long walk to get to it.
Zinga Zinga Zinga Zinga

The Jungle Racer is a normal 10 lane mat racer water slide with three dips. This slide seemed to have one of the shorter lines in the park because of it’s higher capacity and short slide duration. The slide simply completes three drops, the third giving slight airtime.
Jungle Racer Jungle Racer

Otorongo is made up of three black tunneled inner-tube slides. Each slide is named from part of the slide complex’s name: Oto, Ron, and Go. Oto (right) is a normal dark slide that does a few turns before landing you in the pool. Ron (Middle) is the dark slide with two quick drops before making a big splash in the pool. Go (Left) is the slid that completes a helix before dropping and landing into the pool. Each water slide has a water curtain where the tunnels end before you hit the pool.
Watubee and Otorongo Signs Otorongo

The park’s ProSlide Behemoth bowl, Bakuli, is a very large water slide and the hardest water slide to miss. It consists of a few left and right turns before picking up a lot of speed going down a large drop and into the bowl section of the slide. When done in the bowl, you go down a much smaller, but steeper drop then forwards into the pool. This slide is quite thrilling because of it’s entrance speed into the bowl element. The only problem with this slide is that it sits within a lazy river and has only one way to get to it.
Bakuli Bakuli Bakuli Bakuli

Splashin Safari was easy to enjoy because of their selection of water slides. Unfortunately the water park did not seem to have enough shade to go around. The majority of the water park is out in the sun, and this causes the pavement to become very hot on sunny days. Luckily Holiday World offers free sunscreen in many places throughout the water park so you can avoid sunburn. Along with this is the free drinks available throughout the entire park, including the water park. This is good so you can stay hydrated.

Splashin Safari was one of the best water parks I’ve ever visited, and the reason why is not just because of the water slides. Along with the great water slides are the nice staff, clean facilities, and the free sunscreen and drinks.

Water slide ratings (N/A= unavailable)
Watubee
Watubee
AmaZOOM: 6/10
Bakuli: 8/10
Bamboo Chute:6/10
Jungle Racer: 7/10
Otorongo (3): 6/10
Safari Sam’s Splash Land (8): N/A
Watubee: 6/10
Wildebeest: 10/10!
Zinga: 8/10
ZOOMbabwe: 7/10

Other Rides/Attractions
Amazoom and Bamboo Chute
Amazoom (Blue) and Baboo Chute (White)
Bahari River: 7/10
Bahari Wave Pool: 7/10
Congo River: 6/10
Kima Bay: 7/10
Monsoon Lagoon: N/A
The Wave: 7/10