Kentucky and Indiana theme and water parks preparing to reopen

Kentucky and Indiana theme and water parks preparing to reopen
Kentucky Kingdom amusement park in Louisville, Ky. (Source: Kentucky Kingdom)

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - As the economy starts to reopen in both Kentucky and Indiana, many people are wondering when amusement and water parks will reopen.

Kentucky Kingdom officials said Tuesday they still don’t have an official opening date.

The park submitted a comprehensive 200-page “COVID-19 Preparedness Plan” to local and state health officials on May 5.

The park said their staff will be able to monitor guests to enforce their rules and safety protocols.

In a press release, Kentucky Kingdom's Attractions Training and Administration Senior Manager Ramon Finch said the rides and attractions are ready to go.

“We will need three weeks to allow for on-boarding, training and certification of up to 1,400 seasonal team members,” Finch said.

Kentucky Kingdom said they have been getting calls from people inquiring when they will reopen. Jessi O'Daniel, Vice President of Guest Experience, said the earliest potential date is mid-June, if they get a response from the state soon.

In Santa Claus, Indiana, Holiday World is planning to open to the public on June 17. Their water park, Splashin’ Safari, is set to open on July 4.

President and CEO Matt Eckert told WAVE 3 News things will look different when guests return to the park.

"We are taking social distancing measures very seriously," Eckert said. "There will be markings on the ground everywhere."

Eckert said they have mapped out the journey of the guests and thought about all scenarios guests and employees may encounter.

Holiday World will be launching a new virtual queuing system called the inLine Reservation System. Guests will use it to prevent queue areas from getting overly crowded. Guests will use their phones to check in, and wait for a text saying it’s their turn for the ride. Guests will have to wait in the physical queue for 5 to 15 minutes, still socially distanced from people not in their group.

Eckert said they will be increasing how often they sanitize and the potency of the chemicals they use.

"Safety is our number one cornerstone," he said. "We've been voted the cleanest park in the world for two decades now. I told my team that's fantastic, but right now that's not even good enough. We need to take it 50,000 steps higher than that."

They will also require employees wear masks, but guests will not be required to.

"We will be wearing masks just to ensure the peace of mind for our guests too," Eckert said. "We want them to come here and know we are doing everything we possibly can to make your experience as close to normal as we possibly can."

The park will be adding 90 hand “santatizer” stations throughout the park.

Guests must purchase tickets online to Holiday World can limit the amount of people inside the park. Tickets will not be sold at the gate.

“You know we manufacture fun, we manufacture laughter and now more than ever people need that,” Eckert said. “People need to experience some sense of normalcy again and that’s our job and that’s we’re going to do our best to do.”

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