Holiday World adding water coaster

Holiday World’s third water coaster, Named Cheetah Chase, will feature two racing slides totaling more than 1700 feet of track.

Holiday World & Splashin’ Safari announced this week that it is adding Cheetah Chase, a third water coaster.

Matt Eckert, Holiday World's president, said the $7 million investment will make the Spencer County, Indiana, theme park "the undisputed Water Coaster Capital of the world."

And that's good news for Owensboro.

"We are extremely fortunate to be only 35 minutes away from Holiday World, which is one of the best amusement parks in the entire country," Mark Calitri, president of the Owensboro-Daviess County Convention & Visitors Bureau, said of the announcement. "Holiday World is a great asset to Owensboro."

He said, "It's a great additional amenity for the guests that are already in Owensboro attending a sporting event or convention at the Owensboro Convention Center. And, with Owensboro's proximity to the park, we are seeing Holiday World visitors looking to add value to their trip by visiting O.Z. Tyler Distillery, the Bluegrass Music Hall of Fame & Museum and our amazing Riverwalk scene."

Hotels and restaurants

Calitri said, "Our hotels and even restaurants tell us they have Holiday World visitors staying in their hotels and eating in their restaurants."

Sarah Keown, director of sales and marketing for the new TownePlace Suites in Gateway Commons, said, "We have had quite a bit" of business from the theme park.

She said. "I can happily tell you that roughly one-third of the leisure travel that we have seen since opening has been visiting Holiday World. Some had been planned stays -- reserved in advance -- but a fair amount of guests choose to purchase second-day tickets and spend the night in Owensboro. This discounted second-day option has been great for our city's hotels and restaurants."

Patrick Bosley, whose family owns Moonlite Bar-B-Q Inn, said, "I get a couple of tables for dinner every week. It's steady business. When the park closes, I expect a few people to show up an hour later. It's not large, but it's regular traffic."

Those are usually people from Bowling Green, Nashville and places in between, who decide to stop in Owensboro on their way home, he said.

Holiday World describes the new coaster as having two "ProSlide rocketBLAST-powered racing slides" on 1,700 feet of track.

The announcement said "the world’s first full-circuit racing water coaster" will travel at 30 feet per second and "will have the tallest RocketBLAST section in the world -- 27 feet tall."

Each side will have five sections -- one flat and four uphill.

According to the announcement, the ride "features the first-ever head-to-head dueling zone on a water coaster."

"Cheetah Chase is the perfect thrill ride for families," Eckert said in the news release. "The three-person rafts allow families to race face-to-face, and the launch is the first of its kind. There’s nothing like this out there."

The park's current water coasters -- Wildebeest and Mammoth --have been voted the No. 1 and No. 2 water park attractions by the Golden Ticket Awards presented by Amusement Today. Wildebeest has won the No. 1 spot for nine consecutive years and Mammoth has been certified by Guinness World Records as the world’s longest water coaster, the news release said.

Keith Lawrence, 270-691-7301, klawrence@messenger-inquirer.com

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