Wednesday, February 24, 2021

Kentucky Kingdom Joins the Herschend Family Entertainment Family of Parks

© Kentucky Kingdom

After a week of much speculation, it has been officially announced that Kentucky Kingdom has become a part of the Herschend Family Entertainment family of parks and attractions.  The park and their new operator held a large press conference to share the news, which can be viewed here on the park's website.

No news about the park's sale price or other transaction details are available at this time since Herschend is a private company, but the press release does note that Herschend has "become a majority partner and operator" of the amusement and water park.  Kentucky Kingdom can now call parks such as Dollywood and Silver Dollar City as siblings, though Herschend has a much larger portfolio than just those well known parks.

“We are pleased to turn the park over to a new generation of leadership.  Herschend is an outstanding operator, who will undoubtedly take Kentucky Kingdom & Hurricane Bay to the next level.  We expect their involvement will add greatly to the Commonwealth’s thriving tourism industry,” said Kentucky Kingdom’s founder, President and CEO Ed Hart.


© Kentucky Kingdom

The park will have new leadership immediately as a result of the transaction, with Herschend's Craig Ross assuming the role of the park's General Manager.  Mr. Ross recently served as General Manager of Dollywood for ten years, and saw that park through some ambitious expansion plans.


As for the future of Kentucky Kingdom, Herschend outlined several priorities for the coming years.  These include "building the appeal for multi-generational families; hosting family-friendly seasonal and themed events and festivals; enhancing product and guest experiences through rebranding and the addition of Herschend-owned programming, such as costume character appearances; expanding of the season to provide entertainment to more park guests; and building relationships with state and local tourism partners to increase awareness and entice travel to Kentucky Kingdom, Louisville and the Commonwealth."


Kentucky Kingdom has announced that they will open for the 2021 season on May 8th.