March 2023 | Herschend Enterprise Newsletter March 2023 | Herschend Enterprise Newsletter

A Message From Our CEO Andrew Wexler

Buzzing with Spring Energy

Let's Celebrate

The winners of Herschend’s 2022 Arow Award winners are…

Green Leaf Awards – Presented to properties for improvement in the following Arrow Model components:

  • Leading with Love– Wild Adventures
  • Strong Brands– Silver Dollar City Attractions
  • Great Place Six– Wild Adventures
  • Enterprise Risk Management– Adventure Aquarium
  • Financial Stewardship– Showboat Branson Belle
  • Net Promotor Score – Harlem Globetrotters & Wild Adventures
  • Inclusion– Adventure Aquarium
  • Share It Forward– PSC

Gold Leaf Awards – Presented to properties for the highest scores in the following Arrow Model components:

  • Leading with Love – Showboat Branson Belle
  • Strong Brands – The Dollywood Company
  • Great Place Six – Showboat Branson Belle
  • Financial Stewardship – Adventure Aquarium
  • Net Promoter Score – Pink Adventure Tours
  • Inclusion – Wild Adventures
  • Share It Forward – Wild Adventures

Special Category Awards

  • Merchandise Award – Dollywood
  • Foods Award – Callaway Resort & Gardens
  • Jo Dee Herschend Shining Light Award – Adventure Aquarium
  • Comeback Kid Award – The Dollywood Company & Wild Adventures
  • Golden Leaf Award – Wild Adventures

Individual Awards

  • Horizon Award – Clint Wright, Vancouver Aquarium Executive Director
  • On Target Award – Rebecca Foster, Newport Aquarium VP, and Executive Director
  • Property Support Center Impact Award – Alice Young, Process Improvement & Integration Manager
  • Archer Award – John Vigue, Wild Adventures VP, and General Manager
  • Bullseye Award – Pete Owens, The Dollywood Company VP of Marketing and PR
  • Dedication Award – Steve Ernest, Chief Legal Counsel
  • Golden Arrow Award – Patrice Mendes, VP of Culinary, The Dollywood Company

HFE Corp | Current Job Opportunities HFE Corp | Current Job Opportunities

Find Your Dream Career Right Here!

Our commitment to creating memories worth repeating starts from within – find a rewarding career here at Herschend! Check out available positions across Herschend by clicking the link below. For those looking to unlock their potential or learn a new skill, check out GROW U., our free tuition program.

Work With Us
Free Tuition Program

Making Medication Affordable with RX Outreach

Rx Outreach is a free, non-profit mail-order pharmacy program available to all Herschend employees, even if you are not benefit-eligible with Herschend. Membership for this program is designed for individuals and families facing severe financial hardships due to COVID-19.

Click Here to access the application, visit our Benefits Resource Website at, or scan the QR code for more information. If you have any questions, please get in touch with Corporate Benefits at

Herschend Family Entertainment | Scan The QR Code Herschend Family Entertainment | Scan The QR Code

Silver Dollar City

A Historic Coaster Takes Its Final Ride

2023 marks Silver Dollar City’s 64th season and the Grand Finale for the world’s most historic indoor coaster, Fire In The Hole.


Travelers worldwide are known to come to Silver Dollar City to notch Fire In The Hole in their rider logs of classic coasters. The ride’s storyline is modeled after the real-life mining town, Marmaros, located atop Marvel Cave and home to residents of long-ago Ozarks. The attraction, novel in its introduction in 1972, has fire-brigade-themed trains that twist, turn, and drop into a burning town where riders are the volunteer firefighters, saving the citizens and battling the flames before getting soaked themselves.

Did you know that every Herschend employee and their dependents receives discounted admissions to all Herschend attractions and resorts? Connect with your HR leader for assistance.

Share It Forward

“It’s Knowing That You’re Not Alone”

Stories like this one from Dollywood are happening every day at all Herschend properties, which is why the Share It Forward team will be filming employees’ personal impact stories across Herschend throughout the 2023 season.

Have a story to share? Email

Share It Forward

Enrolled in Child Assistance Program? Reapply This April

Did you know that Share It Forward offers monthly assistance to employees struggling to make ends meet? If household income qualifications are met, assistance may be used to help with a variety of expenses, including child care, food, clothing, school supplies, doctor visits, and more.

Applications are accepted throughout the year, but current recipients must re-apply between April 1 and 25 in order to receive a May distribution. Learn more about the application process, qualifications, and required documents at the link below. You can also contact your property’s HR leader for support. 

Request Assistance
Share It Forward | Family Share It Forward | Family

Property News

Herschend Happenings

Adventure Aquarium | Tate Tot Our African Penguin Adventure Aquarium | Tate Tot Our African Penguin

Adventure Aquarium

Egg-citing News – a New Penguin Chick Waddles into the World

Last month, Adventure Aquarium announced that little blue penguin parents Sheila (#8) and Spud (#3) welcomed a healthy baby boy, but the pair had yet to land on the perfect name for the baby blue. It took some time, but Sheila and Spud finally landed on their little one’s official moniker, which is…drum roll, please…TATER TOT!
In addition, to finding Tater Tot a name, the Aquarium comes with even more special news – there’s another baby on board! Parents Maremma (#11) and Bloke (#4) welcomed their own healthy male hatchling, born on February 25, just 10 days after Tater Tot. And if that wasn’t exciting enough, it’s become an entire family affair because Tater Tot and the new chick are cousins!
Like his sister Sheila, Bloke and breeding partner Maremma are having a tough time naming their bundle of blue-feathered joy. But this time, the birds are leaving it up to the humans! Guests will have the chance to vote for Taz, Irwin, Heath, or Ralph as their favorite.
It will be about a month and a half before both chicks are ready to rejoin the colony on exhibit, but the cuteness is well worth the wait.

Fun Fact: Many people think that all penguins “mate for life,” but little blues are one of the few species of penguins that are not monogamous.

Vancouver Aquarium

International Women's Day

The Vancouver Aquarium marked International Women's Day with special programming to showcase women and their leadership. This programming highlighted the barriers that female staff has overcome in animal care, diving, and tourism fields. On Wednesday, March 8, a panel of women from different departments joined to discuss what inspired them to enter these careers and advice to future generations. The universal message was the importance of encouraging each other and promoting a culture of love. A special shout out to all those included: Tia Edwards, Breanne Keil, Christine Martinello, Caroline Taylor, Maggie Stewart, Juliana Kirkelie-Kim, Paige Smallman, Hayden Kuttenkeuler, Jenna MacLeod, Jessica DeBenedetto, Madison Jean, Nadine Trottier.

Kentucky Kingdom & Hurricane Bay

Thrills & Chills Just Ahead

On Saturday, March 11th, Kentucky Kingdom hosted its annual “Start Your Career!” hiring event at the Hilton Garden Inn Louisville Airport. With nearly 100 job seekers in attendance, Kentucky Kingdom is one step closer to its target of filling 400 positions to support the upcoming season and ensure guests have a top-notch experience.

Throughout the fair, attendees had the opportunity to speak with Kentucky Kingdom’s department leaders to learn more about the park, the wide variety of available positions, and the competitive benefits of working at Louisville’s favorite entertainment destination. Attendees also had the chance to participate in interviews conducted by team leads and human resource staff.

In addition to the range of available seasonal roles, Kentucky Kingdom now offers nine internship opportunities to help high-school and college students jumpstart their careers in the hospitality industry.

Refer a friend to join our team today:

Ozark Mountain Country

Threads of Gratitude – Celebrating the Ladies of Silver Dollar City's Costume Shop

Returning Orientations are always an exciting time at Silver Dollar City! Like a reunion, friends and fellow hosts gather to laugh and share stories about their time off, and all gather to hear about the changes and upcoming plans for the new year. This year the team took a special moment to recognize a wonderful group of ladies that work so hard to keep the Citizens of Silver Dollar City looking professional and presentable. This year a former host named Bud Lane commissioned a sign to thank the costume shop for all their continued efforts over these many seasons.

The sign was presented to the Costume Shop during Parkwide Orientation, and a roar of applause and cheers rose through the stands from all the hosts personally impacted by the Costume Shop team.

“We are so appreciative of all their gifts, time, and talents to support us in taking care of each other and our guests!”

Costume Shop Host Names(Left to Right) – Tamra Watkins, Marsha Kemp, Joleen Holt, and Jane Stovall.

Wild Adventures

An Oasis of New Possibilities

Wild Adventures hosted a ribbon-cutting ceremony at Oasis Outpost on March 14. Joined by City and County elected officials and administrators, community partners, and media, Wild Adventures unveiled the nearly 3-acre expansion and announced continued capital investments to expand Wild Adventures Christmas and add an RV Park and Campground!

Guests to the ribbon cutting were invited to enjoy Oasis Outpost ahead of Season Open on March 18. Zookeepers shared Keeper Talks on new animals housed in the area, including spider monkeys, caracal cats, tamanduas, African crested porcupines, and prairie dogs, and guests could even experience a meet and greet with the park’s red foot tortoises. Kids who helped break ground on the area in September 2022 were invited back to enjoy the Trail Trackers adventure ride, Sidewinder thrill ride, and Stay and Play areas throughout Oasis Outpost.

Smoky Mountain Country

Dreamer in Chief Unveils Her Biggest Dream Yet

In addition to kicking off Dollywood’s 38th season, Dolly was able to experience the I Will Always Love You Celebration, an event that honors the 50th anniversary of her writing of the iconic song. She also unveiled plans for a state-of-the-art guest attraction that showcases her legendary life and career. The experience is planned for a 2024 opening in the area surrounding and including the former Chasing Rainbows museum. 

Newport Aquarium | Hatchling Harbor Now Open Newport Aquarium | Hatchling Harbor Now Open

Newport Aquarium

Hatchling Harbor Now Open

Spring is coming, and Newport Aquarium is ready with a slew of spring babies in the new Hatchling Harbor. The new exhibit presents hundreds of animals from dozens of species - many of them babies growing up in the safety of a seagrass meadow. Guests get a fish-eye view with a seaside pier towering above, making them feel like they’re on the ocean floor. It’s all part of going beyond the glass and helping guests build special connections with the animals.

Harlem Globetrotters

Pursuing Greatness – Celebrating Community Leaders

The Harlem Globetrotters and presenting sponsor, Jersey Mike’s Subs, visited 5 US cities during the 2023 World Tour to honor local community members with the ‘Great Assist’®️ Award. The series, in its inaugural year, celebrates youth sports and organizations that actively pursue the possibilities of greatness by exemplifying LEADERSHIP, SPORTSMANSHIP and COMMITMENT in their community.

The award and community initiative are an extension of the organization’s Goodwill Ambassadorship and is in tribute to the rich cultural history that weaves through the Globetrotters’ story. Players from the team kicked off in Milwaukee, Wisconsin where they recognized Boys and Girls Club Area Manager, Troy Cotton. Cotton and his staff serve more than 80 kids with academic enrichment, healthy meals and fun activities throughout the Greater Milwaukee area on a daily basis.

Read More >
Harlem Globetrotters | Pursuing Greatness – Celebrating Community Leaders  Harlem Globetrotters | Pursuing Greatness – Celebrating Community Leaders

Pink Jeep Adventure Tours

See What The Guests Are Saying!

The Pink Jeep Tour experience is one part scenery and two parts personality. Nothing demonstrates this more than the Yelp and Google reviews, where adventure guides are frequently mentioned by name. Customers walk away with personal connections to Pink Jeep and incredible memories worth repeating.