Writer Touts Lake Rudolph Campground and Theme Park
Editor’s Note: The Topeka (Kan.) Capital-Journal published a travel story promoting alternative vacation spots near Kansas. Excerpts from that story follow.
With budgets tight and gasoline prices still relatively high this summer, many people are looking for vacations that get them out of town for a few days but don’t cost an arm and a leg.
Here is a location that is sure to please your family — and your wallet: Santa Claus, Ind.
Never heard of it? You aren’t alone. The town only has about 2,000 residents.
But that number swells every day of the summer, thanks to the Holiday World and Splashin’ Safari theme park.
The two-for-one parks are quite possibly the cleanest and most family-friendly of their kind you can find anywhere.
Both parks can stand on their own in terms of their rides and slides. Yet it is the way the parks are run that make them so special, and, in a way, unique.
First, visitors will find they don’t have to fork over $10 or whatever it is that theme parks are charging these days to park. You park for free.
Second, tickets prices for admission to both parks are reasonable, and you can find discount tickets all over Santa Claus — some knocking off as much as $7 per ticket.
Third, inside the park, the soft drinks — Pepsi products — are free. All day long. So is the sunscreen, also available at stations throughout the park.
Both parks have rides and slides that will “wow” the most die-hard thrill-seeker, but they also have an array of attractions designed just for younger folks.
Paula Werne, Holiday World and Splashin’ Safari spokeswoman, said the park tries to add a major ride or two every year.
How popular is the park? It attracts around 2 million people a year to this small southern Indiana town. Most come from within a triangle of sorts bounded by Cincinnati, Louisville, Ky., and Indianapolis.
The locals know what they have in Holiday World and Splashin’ Safari, and they wouldn’t trade the parks for some of the better-known venues within a half-day’s drive.
“It’s very family-friendly,” said T.J. Ball, of Tell City, Ind. “If you have little kids, this is the place to come.”
Speaking of friendly, Holiday World and Splashin’ Safari were honored in 2011 as the “friendliest” theme park in America by the theme park industry.
Not surprisingly, the park that started as a regional attraction about a half century ago today can hold its own with any of the Big Boys.
Most folks say it takes a couple of days to enjoy Holiday World and Splashin’ Safari, with some opting for the coaster-type rides one day and water rides the next.
A scant three-hour drive east of St. Louis — and about eight hours east of Topeka — makes Holiday World accessible to northeast Kansas residents.
A superb lodging experience in Santa Claus awaits at the Lake Rudolph Campground and RV Resort, an award-winning park adjacent to Holiday World and Splashin’ Safari.
You can bring your own tents, motorhomes, RVs or fifth-wheels to the park.
Don’t own your home-away-from-home on wheels? No big deal — Lake Rudolph also has park-owned RVs and cabins on site, so guests who don’t have personal RVs still can experience the campground feeling.
Lake Rudolph finished in the Top 10 of all large RV campgrounds in 2011 as voted on by experts — people who drive motorhomes and stay in the parks.
The campground takes on the feel of a small, tight-knit community, with nearly every spot filled most days.
Several people at the Lake Rudolph Campground and RV Resort said it is the nicest, cleanest park they have visited.
The Lake Rudolph Campground and RV Park also is open for Halloween during seven weekends in September and October. The park just started the Halloween offering a few years ago and it has caught on so well that all weekends for 2012 are nearly sold out, with people reserving spots already for 2013.
For something you and your family will remember far more than another couple of nights in a hotel room somewhere, the Lake Rudolph campground is just the ticket.