What Was The World’s First Theme Park?
Answer: Santa Claus Land
In 1946, the doors opened on the world’s first theme park: Santa Claus Land, located in Santa Claus, Indiana. The amusement park was conceived by Louis J. Koch as a retirement project, inspired by his visit to the aforementioned Santa Claus, Indiana, where he came up with the idea to create an amusement park where children could see Santa and the wonder of Christmas all year long.
Unlike previous amusement parks, Santa Claus Land wasn’t merely a collection of rides, curiosities, and amusements held together by a loose umbrella of entertainment. The park was dedicated to all things Santa Claus and North Pole-related. This one design decision set it apart from all previous amusement parks like the famed Coney Island, Luna Park, and White City, where there was no connecting theme among the rides and attractions beyond general amusement.
The park is still in operation today, but is now known as Holiday World & Splashin’ Safari. Since its debut in 1946, the park has expanded to include themed areas for Halloween, Thanksgiving, the Fourth of July, and a water park, and the new name reflects that.