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ZOOMbabwe

Family Raft Ride at Holiday World's Splashin' Safari in Indiana

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ZOOMbabwe

The massive ZOOMbabwe enclosed water slide at Holiday World's Splashin' Safari water park.

©Arthur Levine, 2002. Licensed to About.com
Are you afraid of the dark? If so, you may want to skip ZOOMbabwe, the 887-foot long enclosed family raft ride that sends passengers hurtling through a maze of pitch-black darkness for 50 seconds. Everyone else will want to hop on board for a world-class waterpark ride.

ZOOMbabwe Up-Front Info

  • Type of water ride: Enclosed family raft slide
  • Thrill scale (0=Wimpy!, 10=Yikes!): 3.5
    (Prolonged darkness, some raft spinning, moderate drops)
  • Height: 102 feet
  • Length: 887 feet
  • Ride duration: 50 seconds
  • Height requirement: 48 inches to ride alone, 36" with an adult
  • Splashin' Safari Photo Gallery

Who Turned Out ZOOMbabwe's Lights?

At 102 feet, ZOOMbabwe is among the world's tallest enclosed water slides. Nestled in Splashin Safari's woods and snaking through Holiday World's The Legend roller coaster, its bright purple tube is an imposing site. The extreme height doesn't translate into extreme speeds-- this is, after all, a "family" ride--but it does keep riders in the dark for nearly a minute of wild, spinning fun.

After climbing ten stories of stairs to reach the loading platform, guests will feel as if they've earned every second of ride time. Groups of up to five riders (depending on total weight) pile into the circular yellow rafts. With a little push by one of Splashin' Safari's invariably cheerful ride ops, it's time to start ZOOMing.

After getting soaked by the mini-waterfall that cascades over the entrance of the tube, the rafts pick up speed as they descend into the inky darkness. The reverberating screams of riders throughout the tube (not to mention your own raft) add to the drama. ZOOMbabwe never feels out of control but the combination of total darkness, no sense of where the rafts are heading, and unpredictable spinning make for a thrill-packed water ride.

The only light entering the tube comes from a few pinholes that, Lite-Brite style, appear to be African masks. These reinforce the park's "safari" theme. With no way to gauge the diameter of the tube or get any other bearings, the masks seem to float, dreamlike, as the rafts zoom past them.

Sunlight--at last!--tips riders off that the end of the ride is near. Depending on the combined weight of the rafts' passengers and the way the weight is distributed, ZOOMbabwe ends with either a moderate or major final splash.

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