Herschend Family Entertainment Purchases Kentucky Kingdom, Hurricane Bay in Louisville
LOUISVILLE, KY. — Herschend Enterprises has become the majority owner and main operator of Kentucky Kingdom and Hurricane Bay, an amusement and water park located at 937 Phillips Lane in Louisville. Georgia-based Herschend is a family-owned theme attractions and entertainment company whose operations include Dollywood, Silver Dollar City and Newport Aquarium. Craig Ross, Dollywood’s president for the past 10 years, will serve as Kentucky Kingdom’s interim general manager. The acquisition was a collaborative effort between Kentucky Kingdom LLLP, the Kentucky State Fair Board, the Tourism, Arts and Heritage Cabinet and the Finance & Administration Cabinet. The price of the transaction was not disclosed.
Kentucky Kingdom and Hurricane Bay opened in 1987 and cover a 65-acre entertainment complex. According to the Louisville Business First, entrepreneur Ed Hart and an investor group with Ed Glasscock, Bruce Lunsford and the Al J. Schneider Cos. reached a deal with the State of Kentucky to acquire and reopen the park, which closed in 2009 following a decade operating as Six Flags Kentucky Kingdom. In 2014, Kentucky Kingdom reopened after a $44 million redevelopment effort that doubled the size of the Hurricane Bay water park.
Future plans for the Louisville amusement and water park include hosting family-friendly seasonal and themed events and festivals and expanding the park season time. Kentucky tourism is the third largest industry in Louisville, generating an annual economic impact of $3.5 billion. Kentucky Kingdom plans to fill 1,200 job openings for the upcoming season.