April 2024 | Herschend Enterprise Newsletter April 2024 | Herschend Enterprise Newsletter

Important Computer Software Update

Please Read If You Have a Company-Issued Email Account

You may have noticed that we’re upgrading our technology across the company this year—from our human resources tools to ticketing and foods points of sale and now our Microsoft products. By the end of this year, all Herschend properties will move to the latest Microsoft software.

This may feel like a lot of change, but these upgrades bring our technology up to date with industry best practices and will, over time, revolutionize how we connect and do business.

Our Chief Technology Officer, Adam Wolf, recently emailed you about this change and the next steps. Please review that communication and stay tuned for more updates soon!


The Heart of Our Culture

The Heart of Our Culture

Our Heartspitality culture equation starts with LOVE. An unconditional love that comes from our actions. Love at Herschend is choosing to behave in a manner that makes everyone feel welcome, valued, and respected. Leading with love in all we do is the foundation our founders planted to grow Herschend more than 70 years ago, and it continues to guide our actions today.

Showing Mother Nature Some Love

The Cecil B. Day Butterfly Center at Callaway Resort & Gardens has made a significant impact on butterfly conservation and environmental education. It inspires visitors to appreciate the beauty and importance of butterflies while fostering a deeper connection to nature. Through its conservation efforts and educational programs, the Butterfly Center contributes to the preservation of butterfly species and their habitats, helping to ensure their survival for generations to come.

In honor of Earth Month, the team at Callaway Resort and Gardens is sharing some tips and tricks about rewilding. Rewilding helps restore and protect natural habitats by creating connected landscapes where wildlife can thrive. Many of Herschend’s properties take part in rewilding, from special gardens on-park to volunteer projects in their communities. Here are a few ways you can give back to Mother Nature too:

  • Plant Native: Incorporate native plants into your private or community gardens. These plants provide essential food and shelter for butterflies and other essential pollinators throughout their life cycle.
  • Create Sanctuaries: Champion the creation of designated butterfly-friendly zones around town or create one in your backyard. Sanctuaries feature things like butterfly houses, flowering plants, and shallow water sources.
  • Reduce Pesticide Use: Opt for natural pest control methods in gardens, where possible, to help protect butterflies and other beneficial insects.
  • Educate and Advocate: Spread awareness about butterflies' importance and the need for habitat conservation in your community.

By allowing nature to flourish, we're not only providing vital habitats for butterflies but also supporting biodiversity and improving air and water quality.

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Culture Connections

The Vancouver Aquarium recently welcomed team members to an enriching and uplifting World Cultures Day, spearheaded by the passionate efforts of its dedicated DEAI (Diversity, Equity, Accessibility, and Inclusion) Working Group. This vibrant occasion served as more than just an event; it was a profound testament to Vancouver Aquarium's deep-rooted commitment to celebrating diversity and fostering a sense of belonging among its diverse team.

The diverse cultural heritage of the team was represented through music from across the globe, sumptuous food prepared by team members and cultural attire as vibrant expression of their heritage. Through events like this and other similarly flavoured initiatives, the DEAI working group at Vancouver Aquarium reaffirms its unwavering commitment to creating a welcoming and inclusive environment where every individual is valued, respected, and celebrated for who they are.

Callaway Gardens Callaway Gardens

For the Love of Linens

Meet Alyssa Williams. Alyssa is a housekeeping intern at the Lodge and Spa at Callaway Resort & Gardens. Alyssa is part of Callaway’s partnership with the Georgia Vocational Rehabilitation Agency, whose mission is to help people with disabilities become active members of society by assisting in finding job opportunities. Alyssa is a proud ambassador for individuals with autism who enjoys engaging with her coworkers, cleaning, and making the beds.

*Pictured from left to right are Carolina Gautreaux – Housekeeping Manager, Alyssa, and Mike Regli & Resort General Manager.

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Silver Dollar City | Nominate A Heroes of Today Silver Dollar City | Nominate A Heroes of Today

Hearts & Heroes

To commemorate its 64th season, Silver Dollar City Company will give away $64,000 in tickets to folks who impact their communities through volunteer work. Monthly winners will receive four free tickets to Silver Dollar City.

The City is also encouraging its own Citizens to step up and serve others. Their first volunteer outing was visiting residents at local nursing homes with flowers.

“So many folks are stretched thin and pulled in all sorts of directions these days, but there’s something impactful about slowing down and rolling up your sleeves to help friends and neighbors,” says Brad Thomas, president of Silver Dollar City Company. “That’s the giving, generous spirit of the Ozarks. I can’t wait to see the even greater impact we —as a company and a community— can have on those who need us. The gift of your time is never wasted.”


Get Your Nose in the Game

Comic Relief US and the Harlem Globetrotters are partnering up in 2024 for Red Nose Day. The duo is fundraising at 44 US games across 15 states this month to help children facing poverty.

An exciting Halftime Skills Showcase with five lucky audience members will be featured at every game, along with fun Red Nose Giveaways. The showcase features a custom Spalding – Harlem Globetrotters – Red Nose Day basketball collab that is showcased during the special skills performance.

"As Ambassadors of Goodwill, we are furthering our partnership with Comic Relief as they strive to help end the cycle of child poverty here in the U.S. and around the world," said Keith Dawkins, President, Harlem Globetrotters & Herschend Entertainment Studios. "With our CSR efforts aligned around the areas of Education, Health & Wellness, and Community Empowerment, working alongside organizations like Comic Relief US ensures that we are having real impact with our audience."

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Why We Exist

Why We Exist

Our purpose of Bringing Families Closer Together by Creating Memories Worth Repeating® comes to life through our actions. It gives our work meaning and connects our brands and hosts to one another everywhere.

Kentucky Kingdom Theme & Water Park Kentucky Kingdom Theme & Water Park

A Petal Palooza

Kentucky Kingdom’s Horticulture team is hard at work preparing the park for opening day and the all-new Petal Palooza. Starting May 25, Guests can experience color in motion as a celebration of the transition from spring to summertime in Louisville, Kentucky. The Petal Palooza festival will commemorate the boldness of color with a larger-than-life Mosaiculture and six live flower walls!

Visitors can capture picture-perfect moments with a colorful painted mural and hear rich sounds as live music fills the air. The park is also offering interactive, special events throughout June, including a Silent Disco party and Color Run 5K race, so guests can experience the seasons with all their senses!

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Wild Adventures Wild Adventures

A Park with a Purpose

Wild Adventures is always working to create new and innovative ways to introduce the park to more families and ensure families from throughout the region want to return time and time again. In 2024, Wild Adventures is committed to supporting more families than ever with new partnerships and initiatives to make the park more inclusive and accessible to children and adults with autism. Wild Adventures has partnered with Autism Speaks to help further autism awareness training among team members and provide accommodations like noise dampening ear muffs and exit line access for guests with autism. The park is also sponsoring World Autism Month.

Newport Aquarium Newport Aquarium

Memories Made from Clay

Naomi and her 3-year-old son had an unforgettable visit to Newport Aquarium that left her little one excited to come back every day! But a host working in the aquarium’s newest exhibit made it extra special for both of them.

The guests were exploring the new exhibit Ring of Fire: World of the Octopus when Clay, a member of the engineering team, went the extra mile to help them find one of the many species of crabs that call the Ring of Fire home.

Naomi said, “I'd go back just because of his helpfulness and personality! He said he's worked there since the aquarium opened, and it's the greatest job he's ever had!”

The Results of Love & Purpose at Work

The Results of Love & Purpose at Work

Your love for one another, our guests, and our communities makes our purpose possible, leading to something truly spectacular – real impact and an infectious joy that spreads through our hosts to our guests and out into our communities.

Jack Herschend | Silver Dollar City Foundation Jack Herschend | Silver Dollar City Foundation

Honoring a Legacy of Service & Joy

On April 9, Silver Dollar City Foundation honored Jack Herschend for his years of dedicated service and leadership as a member of the Foundation Board of Directors. Recognizing Jack’s deep passion for education and sharing the gospel, the foundation purchased 14 children and youth books in Jack’s honor.

The collection includes The Chosen, Volume 1: Called by Name by Dallas Jenkins; Daniel and the Very Hungry Lion by Tim Thornborough; Dust, Volume 1 by Kara Swanson; KJV Essential Teen Study Bible; Children’s Bible Stories for Bedtime; and many more. These books, each marked with a bookplate recognizing Jack, are available to check out at the Library Center of the Ozarks in Branson.

Newport Aquarium | WAVE Foundation Newport Aquarium | WAVE Foundation

25 Years of Making Waves

WAVE Foundation at Newport Aquarium congratulates Julie Uffman on 25 years! Julie sold the very first ticket to Newport Aquarium the day it opened in 1999. She's held many titles since 1999, including Newport Aquarium Operations Supervisor, Operations Assistant Manager, and Operations Manager. She started with WAVE Foundation in 2005 as the Education Curator moved to Development Coordinator, and is now Operations Manager.

WAVE's Executive Director Tricia Watts says, "Julie's contributions to WAVE Foundation and Newport Aquarium over the past 25 years cannot be overstated. She has gained knowledge working in many various roles over the years. Julie is WAVE's institutional knowledge. She is still so passionate about the mission of WAVE. We all love and appreciate Julie very much."

Rebecca Foster, Vice President & Executive Director of Newport Aquarium, shared, "Julie has made thousands of memories in her 25 years with Newport Aquarium and WAVE. She’s passionate about her work and it shows in her dedication and commitment. I am lucky to have known Julie in my 23 years, not only as a colleague but also as a friend. I am proud to know her!"

Dollywood Theme Park Dollywood Theme Park

Leveling Up Our Recycle Game

Keep the Tennessee River Beautiful (KTNRB) was recently named “2023 Nonprofit Recycler of the Year” for its program at Dollywood. Through the program, approximately 350,000 cigarette butts have been recycled and turned into items like outdoor furniture. That effort is just one of the recycling programs in place at Dollywood Parks & Resorts, under the watchful eye of Grounds Manager Bobby Johnson.

Johnson has grown the park’s recycling efforts during his tenure and recently launched his most ambitious program yet. He hopes this will see the Pigeon Forge, Tennessee, park reach its goal of ultimately having 100% of its refuse not reach a landfill. Dollywood, along with partners The Coca-Cola Company and Tennessee-based recycling company iSustain, are working as a team to increase recycling efforts to help achieve that goal by sourcing a specialized PET bottle baler to ensure the many collected beverage bottles are baled and ready to sell to recycle companies. Additionally, the partnership with The Coca-Cola Company provided more than 65 new recycling bins, which allow a convenient location for park guests to recycle bottles.

The revenue generated from the cardboard and plastic sales is donated to Dollywood’s Share It Forward program, which helps hosts during times of need.

Pink Jeep Adventure Tours | Annual Bowling for Kids Sake Pink Jeep Adventure Tours | Annual Bowling for Kids Sake

Laurie Bowls a Strike for Kids

Earlier this month, PINK Adventure Tours leadership team participated in the annual Bowling for Kids Sake (BFKS) in Camp Verde, Arizona. BFKS is Yavapai County’s largest fundraising campaign for youth and serves as Yavapai Big Brothers Big Sisters’ largest volunteer recruitment event. A total of $82,000 was raised over the course of several weeks, culminating in a series of “Thank You” bowling sessions.

PINK Adventure Tours fundraising was led by Laurie Hammonds, Payroll Manager. Through her network of friends and family, Laurie raised over $2,400 for the effort. Laurie was recognized for the second consecutive year for raising the most money.

“PINK Adventure Tours participation and support of this event demonstrates the power of relationships that ignite the promise in us all,” said the BFKS President. “Our 50+ years of service to this community and program expansion to reach young adults and youth in Yavapai County would not be possible without support from partners like you!"