LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - A new majority owner is taking over Kentucky Kingdom. Herschend Family Entertainment, the company that operates Dollywood and other attractions, will be in charge of operations of the park this season.
“We’ve turned the operations, the marketing, all that over to Herschend and Craig Ross,” former operator Ed Hart said. “Think about that. Craig ran Kings Island, he ran Dollywood. How can you get a better general manager for Kentucky Kingdom?”
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Historically a summer park for rides, the new owner is expected to bring more food options, more entertainment and more events that expand the park’s activities into the fall and maybe even Christmas.
“The season pass program is kind of the lifeblood of our business,” said Ross, the COO of the Herschend Growth and Opportunity Group. “But when the season gets extended longer, that product is valuable for folks that are living further away, A few hour drive coming in and using the season pass Spring summer and fall, even at Christmas time, makes really good sense.”
The park will open of the 2021 season on May 8, one week after the Kentucky Derby. There will be 1,200 season jobs that need to be filled.
Work is underway to have the rides inspected and the food selections approved. A marketing plan is being prepared to attract visitors from outside Louisville.
“We have a very special way of going out and marketing to those folks that are on these family getaway weekends,” Ross said. “Lots of folks taking trips on shorter notice. Hey how’s the weather for the weekend, where can we go? So our marketing efforts are really going to be picked up.”