#492. $22 Million Investment in Town of 2,481?! Only in Santa Claus!

Posted on | The Agurban

$22 Million Investment in Town of 2,481?! Only in Santa Claus!

Our long time readers know that we are huge fans of Holiday World and Spashin’ Safari in Santa Claus, Indiana. What the Koch family has done for their small hometown is nothing short of spectacular. Their winning spree continues, as they recently announced their latest investment –

After months of buildup, Holiday World on Thursday night revealed details of a cutting-edge $22 million ride under construction that is opening in 2015.

“Thunderbird” will become “the nation’s first launched wing coaster,” according to a Holiday World and Splashin’ Safari release. Riders will be situated in wings extending from the central part of the ride that is attached to the track.

The ride, which officials of the 68-year-old amusement park called its “first major steel roller coaster,” will feature a zero-to-60-miles-per-hour” launch in 3.5 seconds, followed by multiple inversions,” the release said.

“Thunderbird will at first soar and loop high in the air and then hug the ground, surprising riders with rapid-fire ‘near misses,’ such as keyholes, themed elements, other rides, trees and even the ground,” according to the release.

A special flywheel performs the quick launch. Leah Koch explained during the presentation that Thunderbird was her father, Will Koch’s, dream but the company had to wait for the technology to catch up before building it. (Will Koch passed away unexpectedly in June 2010 from complications of diabetes.)

That technology lies in the flywheel mechanism that launches the coaster out of the starting gate and up to 60 mph. A special dedication to Will Koch is included on the barn housing that mechanical marvel designed to launch thousands of coaster fans; emblazoned on the building is the phrase “Will Power”.

Holiday World President Matt Eckert called the “Thunderbird” a huge milestone for the amusement park.

“A wing coaster creates a feeling of incredible freedom,” he said in a prepared statement. “You ride beside the coaster track with nothing above or below you.”

The $22 million price tag “is more than twice as much as we’ve spent on any other ride,” park spokeswoman Paula Werne said Thursday.

Located in Santa Claus, Ind., Holiday World is situated in the southern part of the state about midway between Evansville and Louisville, Ky.

Thursday (July 24, 2014) night’s announcement was held at Hyena Falls in the Splashin’ Safari part of the park. After a brief explanation, park officials showed an animated video of the future ride. (http://www.holidayworld.com/thunderbird/)

Thunderbird will be located in the park’s Thanksgiving section, the release stated. Construction is already underway and may be viewed live on Holiday World’s ConstructionCam.

The ride will open next spring, officials said.

I can tell you that several at Agracel are already planning their visit to Holiday World and Splashin’ Safari next year!!