Adventures Park Group (APG), and Herschend Family Entertainment Corporation (HFE) today confirmed HFE was the successful bidder at public auction for APG’s Wild Adventures Theme Park. Based in Valdosta, Georgia, the 166-acre park features 100 rides and attractions including nine roller coasters, hundreds of animals and a water park. After a bankruptcy approval hearing to be held on September 27, 2007, HFE will become the sole owner of Wild Adventures. Kent Buescher, APG’s chief executive officer and Wild Adventures founder, and Joel Manby, chief executive officer, HFE, made the announcement.
“I’m extremely proud that in just over a decade, Wild Adventures was named one of the top 50 theme parks in North America. What started as a petting zoo now boasts nine rollercoasters! I want to especially thank the hundreds of Wild Adventures employees who have worked to make the park what it is today. I’m confident I leave Wild Adventures and them in good hands with the Herschend team. Herschend has a solid history of operating first-class, successful theme parks with a reputation for high quality service and great guest value,” said Buescher.
“We believe Wild Adventures aligns well with the Herschend philosophy of delivering great value for our guests while always maintaining a family focus. We have admiration for what Kent and his team have built. Our aim is to make the transition as seamless as possible for our new employees and as transparent as possible to our guests. We will operate business as usual, with a continued focus on the guest experience,” said Manby. “We expect to announce plans for the 2008 season shortly.”
HFE will assume day-to-day park operations including overseeing more than 600 full-time and part-time employees.
About Herschend Family Entertainment Corporation
Herschend Family Entertainment Corporation (HFE) owns, operates or partners in 17 properties in 7 states. Properties include Branson, Missouri’s Silver Dollar City theme park, Showboat Branson Belle lake attraction, White Water water park, Talking Rocks Cavern, The Wilderness at Silver Dollar City campground and Celebration City theme park. HFE is an operating partner with Dolly Parton in the Dollywood Company, which owns the Dollywood theme park and Dollywood’s Splash Country water park, both in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee. The Dollywood Company is also the largest shareholder in the Dixie Stampede dinner attractions located in Branson, Pigeon Forge, Myrtle Beach and Orlando. In Georgia, HFE operates Atlanta’s Stone Mountain Park in conjunction with the State of Georgia. HFE owns Ride The Ducks amphibious tours in Branson, Baltimore and Philadelphia, and Ride The Ducks is also an attraction at Stone Mountain Park in Atlanta. Since the company was founded in the early 1960s, the many properties have been internationally awarded numerous times for excellence in theme, presentation and operations, including the worldwide Applause Award for excellence and the THEA Award (Themed Entertainment Assoc.).