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Herschend takes over as operator of Kentucky Kingdom

Dollywood operator Herschend Enterprises has become a majority partner and operator of Kentucky Kingdom and Hurricane Bay.

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Kentucky Kingdom and Hurricane Bay, which opened in 1987, is an amusement and water park located in Louisville, Kentucky.

Herschend operates Dollywood in Pigeon Forge (Tennessee), Silver Dollar City in Branson (Missouri) and the Newport Aquarium in Newport (Kentucky).

Herschend welcomes more than 14 million guests annually to its 25 properties, and is now expanding operations to Kentucky Kingdom and Hurricane Bay.

“After opening Newport Aquarium in 2008, we’ve been actively seeking an opportunity to bring even more entertainment to the great state of Kentucky and that dream begins today,” said Herschend CEO Andrew Wexler.

“We’re honored to be welcomed into the beautiful and historic city of Louisville, and thrilled to build upon the exceptional 25-year legacy of Kentucky Kingdom.”

Herschend operates Dollywood in Tennessee

Kentucky Kingdom and Hurricane Bay boasts more than 70 thrill rides, including six roller coasters, two wave pools, and one of the world’s tallest body slides, Skybox Launch.

“We are pleased to turn the park over to a new generation of leadership,” said Kentucky Kingdom founder, president and CEO, Ed Hart.

“Herschend is an outstanding operator, who will undoubtedly take Kentucky Kingdom and Hurricane Bay to the next level.”

Herschend Enterprises is appointing Dollywood president Craig Ross as the interim general manager of Kentucky Kingdom.

“We strongly believe in using guest and community input to create amazing experiences and will be reaching out to the Louisville community for input on enhancements they’d like to see at the park, including attractions, shows and events,” said Ross.

New leadership for Kentucky Kingdom

“This feedback will be critical in creating a long-term plan for success and growth.”

Herschend will implement a strategic plan to expand the operation of Kentucky Kingdom. It will host seasonal and themed events and expand the season.

In addition, Herschend will enhance product and guest experiences through rebranding and build relationships with state and local tourism partners to encourage visits to Kentucky Kingdom.

Kentucky Kingdom is currently accepting applications for 1,200 job openings for the upcoming season, with more information available here.

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Bea Mitchell

A journalist specialising in entertainment and attractions, Bea loves theme parks (mainly Disney) and is particularly interested in things of a gothic, horror or fantasy nature.

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