Valdosta - Herschend Family Entertainment is Wild Adventures new owner. Herschend operates 17 other properties in seven states including Dollywood and White Water.
They were attracted by the parks family appeal. "It is so family focused and they have great history of creating great entertainment for families at a great value," says Valerie McCarty, a spokesperson for Herschend.
The park was put on the auction block earlier this month after Adventure Parks Group filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection last year. "In 2004 we purchased Cypress Gardens and before the park even opened it got hit by three hurricanes and caused 30 million dollars worth of damages which has yet to be fully satisfied by insurance," says Kent Buescher, former ownerof Adventure Parks Group.
Herschend won the bid for 34.5 million dollars. Buescher says the sale was best for the park and for business. "Certainly to pass the torch on is tough to do but it is mitigated when you know you are passing it on into good hands."
And business will continue as usual. "Our main goal right now is to make this transition as smooth as possible for employees and as transparent as possible for guests," McCarty says.
"Park visitors can still come and enjoy the same fun, shows and attractions," adds Sara Sumner, Publicist for Wild Adventures. "Employees should not see any difference either. They'll be coming to work on schedule, they'll still be receiving their paychecks and benefits are still there as well."
Land South Reality, an investment firm from Mulberry, Florida purchased Cypress Gardens for 16 point 8 million dollars. Cypress Gardens is the sister park of Wild Adventures located in Winter Haven, Florida.
A bankruptcy approval hearing will be held Thursday in Macon to finalize the deal.