On Sept. 6, 1620, the Mayflower left Plymouth, England, carrying 102 pilgrims and 50 crewmembers. The trip marked an important, though at times tragic, beginning to the settlement of the New World.
On May 3, 2014, a completely different Mayflower officially launched at Holiday World and Splashin’ Safari and Evansville Living sent me to Santa Claus, Ind., to get a sneak peek at the vessel. Made by Chance Rides in Wichita, Kan., the ship is the latest addition to the theme park’s Thanksgiving section. Park President and CEO Mark Eckert says this is the start of a three-year Thanksgiving celebration plan for the park.
This pendulum ride consists of an open, seated gondola that swings back and forth, subjecting the riders to various levels of angular momentum. The ride swings in an arc, reaching a height of 54 feet over a pool of water. The Mayflower can carry up to 60 riders at a time (that’s six children or four adults to a seat) as long as you’re taller than 48 inches. The Mayflower is rated “Wild” on the park’s ride rating scale that varies based on intensity — rides are rated Child, Mild, or Wild.
After riding it seven times in about an hour, I had plenty of chances to experience the ride from a variety of viewpoints. I sat on the ends facing both directions a few times and sat toward the middle of the vessel once. My tip: sit toward the center if the idea of being lifted out of your seat midair makes you queasy; choose a seat on the ends if you are the adventurous type, and you’ll be sure to experience this dropping sensation. The ship is lined with flashing lights so evening riders can still enjoy a last minute thrill, before the park closes.
Other 2014 park projects include musically-themed Friday Night Fireworks shows (beginning June 13), extended Splashin’ Safari hours, additional benches and shade structures, and parking lot improvements.
To find out more about The Mayflower ride, call 812-937-4401 or visit holidayworld.com.