Kentucky Kingdom and Herschend Family Entertainment announce new partnership


FRANKFORT, Ky. (WEHT) – Herschend Enterprises has become a majority partner and operator of Kentucky Kingdom and Hurricane Bay amusement and water park located in Louisville, Kentucky.

Georgia-based Herschend is the nation’s largest family-owned theme attractions and entertainment company. Herschend operates popular tourism attractions such as the Dollywood® Parks & Resorts in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee and the Newport Aquarium® in Northern Kentucky.

Kentucky Kingdom and Hurricane Bay cover a 65-acre entertainment complex, offering visitors the convenience and value of two parks in one. The park opened to the public in 1987 after the Kentucky State Fair Board announced that a theme park would be built on the grounds of the Kentucky Fair and Exposition Center. Negotiations with Herschend Enterprises began last year.

Herschend Enterprises is bringing Craig Ross, who has also been Dollywood’s President for the past 10 years, to serve as Kentucky Kingdom’s interim General Manager.

Future plans for the Louisville amusement and water park 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
  • 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

To learn more about Herschend Enterprises national entertainment and tourism attractions, visit

(This story was originally published on February 23, 2021)

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