June 2023 | Herschend Enterprise Newsletter June 2023 | Herschend Enterprise Newsletter

A Message from Herschend CEO, Andrew Wexler

Tripadvisor Names Silver Dollar City Number 1 In The U.S.

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Celebrating Great People

The summer season is here, which means our properties' annual service recognition awards are underway!

Below are details on service awards that have occurred so far this season. Congratulations to this year’s honorees! Thank you for your years of service to Herschend, your colleagues, and our guests. You make Herschend a great place to work for great people and the reason our guests choose us to create memories worth repeating.

Dollywood Service Awards Dollywood Service Awards

On June 8, The Dollywood Company celebrated over 200 people with significant work milestones across all three properties. Hosts with anniversaries between 5 and 45 years were celebrated. Each honoree received a gift handmade by our crafters and friends of Dollywood, and many were featured in videos throughout the presentation. Our Dreamer-in-Chief, Mrs. Dolly Parton, virtually presented Dexter Manning, our 45-year honoree, with a special “key to Dollywood.”

  Watch Full Video


Service pin ceremonies are always special in the Ozarks. It’s an opportunity to celebrate and recognize a fantastic group of people for what they do every day for our fellow hosts and guests. On June 17, Jon Williams and his team at White Water had the opportunity to celebrate 11 outstanding individuals for their service. Along with plenty of laughs, applause, and stories being shared, the special highlights of this service pin ceremony were three significant milestones. Mr. Tim Crawley and Mr. Tim Widger were celebrated for 25 seasons with Silver Dollar City, a special anniversary honored with a personalized sign in the park. Ms. Shirley Riddle celebrated 30 seasons and was gifted a handmade pottery platter.

Yesterday, Silver Dollar City recognized more than 120 hosts with anniversaries between 5 and 50 seasons with a special “Home and Family” theme. While this is always a time of reflection, at its core, it is a true celebration of each of the hard-working recipients being recognized, done with the help of Silver Dollar City’s amazing Street Troupe and Homestead Pickers performers. The highlight of this year’s ceremony was Chuck “The Marshal” Terry celebrating 50 seasons of service! Chuck has worn many hats over the years, but he’s better known now as SDC’s Marshal. Deputizing young guests, honoring our veterans, and playing the pivotal role of flag-raising during our opening ceremony.

  Watch Full Video


Silver Dollar City | Chuck Terry Silver Dollar City | Chuck Terry
Callaway Resort & Gardens | Annual Employee Recognition Event Callaway Resort & Gardens | Annual Employee Recognition Event

At Callaway Resort & Gardens’ annual Employee Recognition event earlier this month, 20 team members were recognized for anniversaries between five and 45 years with a fun luau-themed luncheon. The afternoon's highlight was celebrating Diane & Anthony Leonard, who have been with Callaway for 40 years. The now-married couple’s love story began when they met on the job their first year.

Share It Forward has invested in a Ramsey+ site license so every member of the Herschend community has access to a one-year membership full of tools and resources.

Every free membership includes access to the following:

  • Financial Peace University and other money courses
  • The premium version of the EveryDollar budgeting app
  • Unlimited live Q&A financial coaching sessions
  • Free federal tax filing

Get Started Today

Welcome, International Students!

Several properties across Herschend participate in the Bridge USA exchange program, which offers students across the globe an opportunity to experience career opportunities in the US. In addition to bringing a variety of cultures and perspectives to the team, this program provides critical staffing support during the busy summer months.

  • In May, Kentucky Kingdom welcomed 90 international students from Thailand, Ecuador, and Colombia. They have also recently partnered with the Kentucky School of the Blind (KSB) to provide real-world work experiences for 12 incredible students in a two-week summer camp this month.
  • In partnership with Holtz Builders, The Dollywood Company recently opened an international residence hall to provide convenient and affordable housing options for seasonal hosts. This season, Dollywood Company has welcomed over 500 international students to the team, many of whom reside in the new building..
  • Citizens of Silver Dollar City welcomed its 120 international students with a celebration event at the all-new Fried Fancies. The event included food, music, dancing, and Bingo on the patio. Later this year, Silver Dollar City will open its much-anticipated international residence facility.
  • Callaway Garden has two international students who were welcomed to the team during their annual employee appreciation luncheon.

World Ocean Day

Did you know the ocean produces up to 70% of the oxygen we breathe? It’s just one reason for all of us to do our part to protect it. Not to mention, it’s home to so many of our fishy friends! On World Ocean Day, our aquariums held special activities to build further understanding and connection between humans, the world’s oceans, and all its wonderful and important creatures.


Newport Aquarium team members held various special talks to educate guests on ways they can help our oceans thrive, including conserving water, limiting single-use plastics, and being very careful with chemicals like fertilizers so they don’t make their way into our oceans.


Adventure Aquarium’s Mermaid Naia visited the Salvation Army Camden Kroc Center to surprise kids participating in their afterschool and aquatics programs. During the poolside encounter, Mermaid Naia answered questions and talked to the kids about the importance of ocean conservation.


With help from Ocean Week Canada, the Vancouver Aquarium marked World Ocean Day using microscopes and magnifying glasses to help guests observe ocean microplastics and then used Ocean Networks Canada's video feeds to explore the deep sea. The aquarium also recently launched a Sea Otter live stream where guests and enthusiasts can watch the playful otters explore their habitat online before seeing them in person.

Watch Live Feed

Property News

Herschend Happenings

Adventure Aquarium

Under The Sea

Mermaids took over Adventure Aquarium this month during the 12-day Mermaids Under the Sea festival. Ocean lovers brought their imaginations to life as the Aquarium transported the magic of the underwater world from the big screen to an immersive under-the-sea experience (of their Shark Realm exhibit). “Real-life” mermaids dove deep among Adventure Aquarium’s collection of sand bars, sand tigers, and nurse sharks and wadded with stingrays while singing and blowing kisses to visitors. Guests also had the opportunity to sit, chat, and take photos with a mermaid, all free with admission.

Vancouver Aquarium

Raising Awareness for Mental Health

The Vancouver Aquarium’s first Mental Health Week, May 1 to 7, was a huge success, with significant positive feedback and attendance throughout the week. A series of lunch and learn events were hosted to help further a supportive work environment and share resources available to staff. These events included a yoga session, a cooking lesson from their Executive Chef David, and how animals can help improve mental well-being. A special thanks to the mental health committee for organizing an exceptional week of events.

Dolly Parton's Imagination Library Dolly Parton's Imagination Library

Dollywood Parks & Resorts

The Imagination Library Has 200 Million Reasons to Celebrate this Summer!

Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library opens a new chapter this summer as the program celebrates over 200 million books gifted worldwide while rolling out new statewide expansion programs in California and Montana!

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Wild Adventures

Kids with Serious (kinetic) Energy

The Valdosta Middle School Stem Academy worked all semester to produce prototype rides for Wild Adventures. The students spoke with engineers from companies that create roller coasters and some of our maintenance, attractions, and marketing team members to learn what goes into designing and building rides. The students used equations they learned throughout their studies to calculate their ride’s kinetic and potential energy. The teams presented their projects to a panel of Wild Adventures judges, including Maintenance Director David Wallace, Rides Maintenance Manager James Howard, and Attractions Department Manager Jeremy Franclemont. The group rated each project on design, safety, branding, and theming.

Wild Adventures Wild Adventures

Harlem Globetrotters

A Look Behind-the-Scenes

Our NBC hit Emmy-nominated series, “Harlem Globetrotters: Play it Forward,” is back in production on season two. ‘Torch’ George and ‘Bulldog’ Mack just wrapped taping at Shining Hope Farms in Charlotte, NC. Shining Hope is an equine therapy facility providing recovery support for patients suffering from chronic conditions to mobility concerns. The 30-minute series will shine a light on how this horse ranch is bridging the connection between animal and patient and bringing joy to adults and children across North Carolina.

Watch Season 1

Pink Adventure Tours

On Wednesdays, We Wear Pink

June 23 was National Pink Day – a special day to celebrate our favorite color. To honor this special day, Pink Jeep reminds us what the color pink means to us.

In the 1600s, the Chinese word for “pink” meant “foreign color.” In Japan, it served as a wistful symbol for a fallen samurai. Scientists have debated its existence, yet it may have been the first color of life on Earth1. Unnatural, brash, soft, and resilient, pink is a spectacular contradiction.

“If you try to roll up the rainbow to make a color wheel, there will be a gap between red and violet. That's where all of the rest of the light in the universe is supposed to go — radio waves, microwaves, infrared, ultraviolet, x-rays, gamma rays, and so on. But since we can't see any of those wavelengths, we replace all of that hidden grandeur with pink.” – Scientific American2

A PINK vehicle forging through the wilderness is an otherworldly sight. Distinctly here, but not of this place. The contradiction of our color is not lost on us. PINK is determined to be a presence. Active, alert, and beholden to the landscapes we inhabit. On one hand, PINK is an echo in the canyon, a guest who leaves without a trace. On the other, PINK is a visible pennant that loudly sets an example for others to follow. If each of us is a visitor here, let’s make each visit count. Be a steward. Be PINK.


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