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Kentucky Kingdom and Herschend Family Entertainment announce new partnership

Herschend operates Dollywood, Silver Dollar City and Newport Aquarium
Kentucky Kingdom
Kentucky Kingdom(WAVE 3 News)
Published: Feb. 23, 2021 at 10:51 AM CST|Updated: Feb. 23, 2021 at 10:54 AM CST
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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WBKO) - Herschend Enterprises has become a majority partner and operator of Kentucky Kingdom and Hurricane Bay amusement and water park. Herschend operates popular tourism attractions such as the Dollywood® Parks & Resorts in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee and the Newport Aquarium®.

“Kentucky’s ability to attract nationally recognized companies to the commonwealth is part of our commitment to build a stronger Kentucky by fostering partnerships that create opportunities for future economic growth and revenue,” said Gov. Beshear. “Herschend is a proven innovator and leader in the tourism industry, and we are delighted that they recognize the potential Kentucky has to offer and have committed to expanding their operations in the commonwealth.”

“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 Chief Executive Officer 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.”

Negotiations with Herschend Enterprises began last year for the sale of ownership interest in Kentucky Kingdom.

“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.

Future plans 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 is currently accepting applications to fill 1,200 job openings for the upcoming season. For more information, visit kentuckykingdom.com.

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