September 2023 | Herschend Enterprise Newsletter September 2023 | Herschend Enterprise Newsletter

A Message From Herschend CEO, Andrew Wexler

The Season of Change

Pumpkin Prep

Fall is officially here – which means pumpkin theming, events, and festivals are in full swing. Here’s a few ways our parks and aquariums prepped for the season.

This fall, Adventure Aquarium is hosting its all-new Fintastic Fall Days. Guests can glow deep below as they dive into an underwater realm filled with gorgeous glowing gourds of all shapes, sizes, and species.

Wild Adventures kicked off Great Pumpkin LumiNights with free admission for first responders, utility workers, and residents of counties eligible for FEMA public assistance from Hurricane Idalia.

At Silver Dollar City, Harvest Festival preparations included placing more than 16,000 pumpkins all over the City.

Generosity In Action – An Employee Thank You Note

Generosity In Action – An Employee Thank You Note

I would like to take a moment to say thank you from our family. I recently had a cancer diagnosis and surgery. I am doing well and so grateful, but we didn’t know how we would be able to “survive” financially. I am so happy to work for Silver Dollar City. I didn’t know it was my dream job when I started there three seasons ago. I had heard of Share It Forward, and several of my coworkers encouraged me to apply. I am so thankful I did. Not only did you share my concern, but showed compassion toward me and my family. You were kind and generous when we were stressed and down. God is our strength, and I am thankful for you all!

I want to thank you for the help you’ve given us. When we started this journey, we didn’t know how it would end. Chemo? Radiation? Just surgery? How would we pay for all of this? You made my situation manageable. As of today, all bills relating to my cancer are paid in full.

Share It Forward provided access to a free Ramsey+ license, where we have also started Financial Peace University. COVID caused us to use our credit card more, and that caused us to lose track of our spending. Car repair bills also caused our credit card totals to go up. We are now able to work on that again to get our balance back down.

Also, we applied for Child Assistance following prompting by the SIF team. I only wish we had applied for this program sooner. We are grateful for all that you are doing for our daughter, it will help us with clothes, shoes, and school especially.

Thank you again for your kindness, compassion, and help.

REMINDER: SIF has emergency needs cards to help meet immediate basic needs such as transportation, fuel, food, prescriptions, and clothing. If any employee is without the means to secure those items, this element of our hardship program may be able to help.

Contact your HR representative or SIF Coordinator today for eligibility and program details.

Property News

Herschend Happenings

Silver Dollar City

The Timeless Act of Sparking Joy

Erwin and Dwaine are definitely two wise guys, but don’t you dare call them “old.” At 87- and 89 years young, this dynamic duo can run circles around almost anyone in The City. It’s their pride and joy to make the park sparkle and shine as Area Park Hosts.

That means we clean potties and sweep streets,” Erwin says with a belly laugh. Dwaine interrupts him, “Oh, Erwin! We do so much more than that, though.” Dwaine is referring to what he calls the “people part” of their important work.

We get to watch families have their best day ever,” he says. “I get tears in my eyes down at Fireman’s Landing seeing the little kids play and laugh. It really takes me back to my own childhood.

Erwin agrees that joyful interactions with guests make his workload a lot lighter. “We get to see them build a strong foundation for their children by making memories together,” he explains. “If I can help someone read their Pathfinder map or tell them what shows I suggest, it makes my busy work go by faster.

The dynamic duo is on a mission to carry out The City’s Mission – To create memories worth repeating. “That’s what it’s all about,” Erwin says. “Doing our small part in this place to make sure folks have a good time and come see us again! Even a street sweeper plays a role in that.

Silver Dollar City | Erwin and Dwaine Silver Dollar City | Erwin and Dwaine

Kentucky Kingdom & Hurricane Bay

Take Me Out to the Ball Game

On August 24, the Kentucky Kingdom full-time staff, plus family and friends, attended the Louisville Bats baseball game. Troy King, Sales Manager, kicked off the night with the Ceremonial First Pitch. Plus, Logan Sanderson, Marketing Manager, had the opportunity to share information about 2024 Season Passes, Pumpkins at Kentucky Kingdom, and discount tickets to the park during an in-game radio interview. The night was filled with fun in the club and suite area of the stadium as the crew enjoyed their favorite stadium food and beverages and watched their team take home the win.

Dollywood Parks & Resorts

I’ve Got a Golden Ticket

Dollywood guests were surprised on Saturday evening as Dolly arrived onstage in Showstreet Palace Theater during the 25th annual Golden Ticket Awards presented by Amusement Today. Not only did Dolly receive her own award during the event, Dollywood earned a record five Golden Ticket Awards.

Dolly, along with Herschend founders Jack and Peter Herschend, were honored with the Industry Legends Golden Ticket Award. It was the unique partnership between Dolly and Herschend Family Entertainment that created Dollywood from the former Silver Dollar City Tennessee theme park in the mid-1980s.

Dollywood received finalist placement in ten total categories and won more Golden Ticket awards than any other park in the world. The awards ceremony takes place at a different theme park each year, with Dollywood last hosting in 2012.

Dollywood Theme Park | Golden Ticket Awards Dollywood Theme Park | Golden Ticket Awards

Harlem Globetrotters

2024 World Tour Coming To A City Near You!

September brings several exciting announcements from the world-famous Harlem Globetrotters. Season 2 of Play It Forward will premiere on October 7 on NBC, with Season 1 now available on Telemundo!

You can also catch the action live in a city near you during the 2024 World Tour.

See Full Schedule

Wild Adventures

Food for the Soul

Following Hurricane Idalia, Wild Adventures’ team members worked tirelessly and without electricity over a four-day period to clean up debris so guests could enjoy the Last Chance to Splash, marking the end of Splash Island’s 2023 season. Every Labor Day weekend, Wild Adventures collects non-perishable food items to donate to Second Harvest of South Georgia, which distributes the items among local families in need. This year, the Labor Day Food Drive was more urgent than ever as many families in the community were impacted by the storm and faced with power outages, food loss, and damage to their homes. Wild Adventures’ guests donated more food in one day this year than the park typically collects on all three days.

Wild Adventures | Labor Day Food Drive Wild Adventures | Labor Day Food Drive

Vancouver Aquarium

It’s Official!

The Vancouver Aquarium is excited to announce the establishment of the Vancouver Aquarium Marine Mammal Rescue Society, a new non-profit organization that will work in partnership with the Vancouver Aquarium. Donations will go directly to VAMMRS as they expand their efforts to give marine mammals a second chance at life.

VAMMRS has a team of more than 200 volunteers and is currently rehabilitating 50 harbour seal pups.

Learn More

Adventure Aquarium

F.I.S.H Night

In partnership with Shriners Children’s Philadelphia, Adventure Aquarium recently hosted a sensory-inclusive F.I.S.H. Night (Family Inclusive Sensory Hours) on Saturday, September 23, for guests with autism and other sensory needs. During F.I.S.H. Night, the Aquarium lowered the music, softened the lights, and reduced the crowds, all in an effort to create the most enjoyable experience for guests and families with sensory needs, who may find a typical trip to the Aquarium overwhelming.

In 2022, Adventure Aquarium became certified sensory-inclusive by KultureCity, a partnership that ensures all of the programs and events that the venue hosts are sensory-inclusive. The certification process required staff at Adventure Aquarium to be trained by leading medical professionals to recognize those guests with sensory needs and how to handle a sensory overload situation. AAQ also offers sensory bags equipped with noise-canceling headphones, fidget tools, and verbal cue cards for guests to use during their visit.

Adventure Aquarium | F.I.S.H Night Adventure Aquarium | F.I.S.H Night
Newport Aquarium | Mermaids Newport Aquarium | Mermaids

Newport Aquarium

Mermaids Are Making A Splash At Newport Aquarium

Newport Aquarium has been getting ready to host Mermaids this fall for the first time in 3 years! So much goes into it including hard work by the Dive Team, Guest Experience, Animal Care, Marketing and more. Nearly every department has pitched in to make it a mer-mazing experience for guests. This year, they’ll get to meet a mermaid in Shark Ray Bay Theater and another in Mermaid Cove where she can swim right up to say hello, sing a song and tell visitors all about her adventures getting to Newport Aquarium. It all leads up to getting to see a mermaid swimming underwater in the Coral Reef Tunnel surrounded by hundreds of tropical fish. Guests will find her doing flips and blowing magic bubble kisses to the kids. Thanks to everyone for all your hard work creating an experience families will remember forever!

Callaway Gardens

Congratulations Callaway Gardens!

For the seventh straight year, the Lodge and Spa at Callaway Resort has again earned the impressive AAA Four-Diamond designation. One of only 1,700 Four-Diamond Properties in the United States, the honor goes to fewer than six percent of the nearly 28,000 hotels approved by the AAA. According to AAA, “A Four Diamond hotel is refined and stylish, providing upscale physical attributes, extensive amenities and a high degree of hospitality, service and attention to detail.”

To earn this designation, hotels and restaurants must pass a rigorous evaluation that includes unannounced, in-person visits by AAA’s expert inspectors. This esteemed award directly correlates to the hard work and attention to detail of an extraordinary group of individuals. Earlier this month, the team was celebrated for their achievements during a special luncheon.

Congratulations to Michael Regli, Resort GM and the entire team for earning this honor!

Callaway Resort and Gardens Callaway Resort and Gardens