It’s hard to believe that summer is ending, but what a season it’s been! Just this month, Vancouver Aquarium celebrated its first full year as a Herschend property. I’m proud to share that we’ve seen overwhelmingly positive guest survey results and hundreds of thousands of visitors coming through the gates this year. A round of applause also goes out to the Dollywood team for the successful groundbreaking of the Heart Song resort and the Bear Mountain announcement, which, when completed in 2023, will be the longest coaster at Dollywood, measuring 3,900 ft.!
Unfortunately, the end of summer also means that many of our seasonal and visiting hosts will be heading back to school or off on to new exciting life adventures. So, as we close out the season, I’d like to take this opportunity to thank all our new and returning seasonal team members. You are essential to providing our guests with the highest quality experience possible through our busiest months. Thank you for choosing to spend your summer creating memories worth repeating.
Please know that no matter where you are, you’ll always be part of the Herschend family. I wish you all well and hope to see you on property again soon!
-Andrew Wexler, CEO
Have you considered returning to school to finish a degree, grow your career or start a new path? It’s never too late to build your dreams, especially when it’s free! Herschend’s GROW U. gives eligible employees access to a wide variety of fully funded and partially funded education programs at high-quality schools starting day one of employment. Explore college prep courses, enroll in a degree or certificate program, or work toward your master's.
Hear more about GROW U. from Hannah at Kentucky Kingdom, who’s currently enrolled in classes. Watch Now
*not currently available at all properties. Ask your HR Leader for details.Get Started Now
In partnership with Ramsey+, Share It Forward is excited to announce Financial Peace University (FPU). FPU is a free, nine-lesson virtual class dedicated to financial essentials like keeping a budget, beating debt, and building wealth. FPU will begin on Tuesdays, starting September 6, at 8 pm EST.
To participate and access other free financial resources, activate your free Ramsey+ account by clicking the “register now” button below.
Contact Share It Forward’s Aaron Newberry at 678-993-1990 or firstname.lastname@example.org to learn more.
Ensuring every host and guest feels welcome, loved, and valued at our properties is essential – not only because it’s the right thing to do but because love, kindness, and caring are at the heart of Herschend. Jack & Pete Herschend built this company on these values, and our company has thrived for more than 70 years because team members choose to live these values every day. To continue building on this effort, we need your help!
Newport Aquarium Exhibit Interpreter Marty Harris lives with extremely low vision due to a retina disorder called Cone Dystrophy, but that doesn’t stop her from connecting with guests and telling them about the animals. One day, Marty had an unforgettable experience while working in Stingray Hideaway. There, she met a family with three young, visually impaired children who also live with Cone Dystrophy and helped the family create a memory they’ll never forget. We thank Marty for making the wonders of the sea even more accessible for this family and countless others by helping to create Vision Loss Day. Vision Loss Day is an annual fall event at the aquarium for the vision-loss community with special interpretation, including spoken descriptions, tactile artifacts, and animal touch experiences.
“My family and I were able to attend Adventure Aquarium’s F.I.S.H. night on Saturday (family inclusive sensory hours), and I just wanted to thank you for providing these opportunities to those who require things just a bit different from others. We have been to the aquarium many times as we are continuing season pass holders. Our trips have recently been more difficult after my daughter was diagnosed with Autism. With fewer crowds, more light, and much less noise, our whole family can now enjoy the aquarium experience much more!”
The Vancouver Aquarium recently started hosting sensory-sensitive events where they dim the lights and audio levels around the aquarium and hand out free comfort kits with noise-blocking ear protectors, fidget toys, instructive cue cards, and a photographic activity guide to create a more sensory-friendly environment for guests. The staff from Canucks Autism Network are also on hand with information about their services and programs.
Silver Dollar City recently created an official Calming Space for those visiting the park with sensory sensitivities. The space includes comforting colors, soft seating, low lighting, books, sensory toys, and a crash pad. “The Calming Space’s focal point is a large textured wall, built by Silver Dollar City craftsmen to portray the Frisco Silver Dollar Train. There are dimensional layers of smooth and rougher surfaces, artificial grass, wood for the railroad ties, stone for the tunnel, and glass beads for the sky.”
In July, Dollywood and Dollywood’s Splash Country hosted Sensory Sensitive Hours, with more than 350 combined guests enjoying minimum sounds in The Village and Country Fair areas, special “quiet” train rides, and no music, waves, or waterfalls in the wave pool, Lazy River, and Little Creek areas. Dollywood’s VP of Safety and Security, Evan Schukman, experienced guests’ appreciation firsthand – “As the first silent train returned, a mom stepped off to the side while her son ran over to go play with the team and the parachute. As he giggled, she looked on in tears. I thought something was wrong, so I asked if she needed anything. Her response was: ‘This has been the best day ever. It’s the first time I’ve gotten a photo of my son in public without his earmuffs. It’s his first time riding the train, the first time riding the carousel, and it’s the first time he’s ‘joined’ a group on his own to play. I just want you to know that today is the first time he’s been able to be a kid like all the other kids, and it means more to my family and me than you will ever know.”
At Herschend, our commitment to creating memories worth repeating starts from within by offering hundreds of free tuition and certification programs to employees through Herschend GROW U. and striving to promote at least 70% from inside the organization. Now, we’re making it even easier to find a rewarding career here at Herschend! Check out available positions across the Enterprise by clicking the link below.Work With Us