Indiana Beach Buyout Needed

After one family owned it for so long and managed it so well, it's just sad to see Indiana Beach sliding downhill like it is under the new owner which is apparently a great campground corporation but has never run an amusement park. I thought bringing the guy in from Busch Gardens would give them some amusement park expertise but apparently not. So I think it's time for either the Kennywood Corporation or Holiday World to buy the place from this owner and give it some professional management. Kennywood already owns Idlewild and Lake Compounce and has shown they can manage small parks very well. Holiday World would have the advantage of being in the same state. The Kochs might cringe at the idea of spreading their time and talent over two parks, but they've got another generation coming up and a limited number of administrative jobs at the current park. It's not like Indiana Beach is a huge park like Cedar Point or Kings Island. Running the water park at Holiday World is a lot bigger job than running Indiana Beach would be. But there sooooo badly needs to be a change in Monticello, Indiana. People are going so far as begging the original family to buy it back.

I can't wait to see what Paula has to say about this idea.

Paula needs a vacation.

How's that? :)

Paula Werne
Holiday World

CoasterDemon's avatar

I often wonder when I'm at parks (Indiana Beach included) what it would be like if they had a little of the love and TLC that Holidayworld is run with. Part of me wishes there would be some sort of Holidayworld school for amusement/theme park personnel.


Uh, sorry to break the news for everyone, but the former Kennywood Entertainment parks have been owned by Parques Reuinidos for several years now...

stoogemanmoe's avatar

I would love to see IB get the TLC that it so desparately needs. It would a prayer answered to see The Koch family buy IB. What would happen to the the food stands that are owned by independant owners though? I don't think the sale of IB will happen anytime soon. I'm just glad that Tom Jr. is still involved. Paula, take that very well deserved vacation and have fun! Are you going to be like the postman that goes for a walk on his/her day off? ;)

My Beautiful wife, Julia, is the best thing that has ever happened to me!

We know Kennywood is owned by Parques Reuinidos but that would not keep them from buying another park. The former Kennywood group of parks is rather like a division within the company, which also owns parks in Europe. The point is, we'd like to see someone with proven expertise in running small parks take over IB. I realize it's just a fantasy, but a reasonable fantasy nonetheless.

LostKause's avatar

We are Venom?

Edit: Sorry about the lame attempt at geek humor that probably no one would get except for Spiderman comic readers. I seriously want to know what group you are representing though. Who is this... "We" you mention.

Last edited by LostKause,
Jeff's avatar

You really think Parques Reuinidos makes everything rainbows and puppies?

Jeff - Editor - - My Blog

I apologize for ruining the fantasy, but there is no "group" that manages the former Kennywood-owned parks. Parques has a division called Palace Entertainment that runs their US properties, but aside from that there's no structure in place that insulates Kennywood from its corporate overlords. Kennywood Entertainment is no more -- people in some office building in California are now calling the shots.

Of course the whole discussion is a fantasy anyway since the company now owning Indiana Beach has not put it up for sale. However, for the sake of argument, as far as the Kennywood/Palace Entertainment is concerned, they can call it Whizbang and run it from the Canary Islands and they could still add another park to their collection.

There are two points underlying this discussion.

The first is that Indiana Beach was a quaint, quirky, charming small park with great coasters and great rides and a great restaurant in The Sky Room. Across the bridge were also some great places to stay like The Black Dog Inn. All of this is rapidly deteriorating under one of the worst examples of mismanagement we've seen in the industry.

The second is that as people stop coming the park is losing value. If it keeps losing value it will inevitably become a buyout target. That is when other comapnies can step in. This could already be going on behind the scenes. Such things are rarely made public until the deal has been finalized.

Quibbling over what might be the administrative structure of the former Kennywood Entertainment is irrelevant.

Pagoda Gift Shop's avatar

Wouldn't it be better for Holiday World if IB just closed? I mean, they aren't in different markets.


If you're implying that they're not perfect I agree with you. There are some details I could quibble about at Kennywood, Idlewild, Lake Compounce or Sandcastle since they took over. However, they are obviously competent and they seem to handle the bigger issues quite well. Nothing beats a family who founded the park and lives right there, lavishing tender loving care on it like the Kochs. But all we can ask for is competence. What we're seeing at Indiana Beach is Incompetence. None of us want the park to close. We've lost too many of the smaller parks. And if you've been to Indiana Beach this Summer you know closing is become a serious possibility. You can't justify travelling to the park when once you get there the coasters are all down. All? How is that possible?

A Bad Day On A Good Coaster Is Still Better Than A Good Day Anywhere Else.

LostKause's avatar

What if this mismanagement is being done on purpose and the park is being "geaugaed" (I use this term as a joke)? It doesn't seem likely because of the new attractions that the park received this year. The only other reason that I can come up with for the problems is that management bit off more than they could chew when they bought and installed the new stuff.

CoasterDemon's avatar

It almost feels like Indiana Beach is striving to achieve the operation model of Mount Olympus. And that is very sad.


One of the best ways for a park ownership to lose its small, cozy, family-friendly feeling is to buy more parks and become larger.

stoogemanmoe's avatar

CoasterDemon said:
It almost feels like Indiana Beach is striving to achieve the operation model of Mount Olympus. And that is very sad.

I have to agree with you on that CoasterDemon. Something else I saw in another thread was the Tom Spackman encouraged his kids to sell? I can't believe they would all do that. How can someone in the family want to sell this gem. I know that there is alot of upkeep, the insurance is probably expensive and so on and so on. Man this whole IB thing is really getting to be sad. I've been going to this qirky wonderful park ( pre Morgan) for all my life since I was 8. Never have I seen this gem so umpolished. I too hope that my favorite park does not become another badly ran uncared for POS like Mount Olympus.

My Beautiful wife, Julia, is the best thing that has ever happened to me!

*WARNING* Long Post

I am a lifelong IB die-hard. I started the Indiana Beach History group on Facebook earlier this year to talk about the Spackman years.

I've avoided the park all season because of the negative talk, downtime issues and loss of 'charm' along the midway. I also watched as employees quit and protested outside the park to draw attention to the maintenance and employee conditions and help save the park.

But, I gave in and made my first 2011 visit today. It didn't suck as bad as I thought it would.

Ride issues that were brought up on forums and trip reports have been mostly fixed (i.e., Cornball lapbars, broken boards on the Antique Cars). Employees were in good spirits. Only a few rides were down all day. One employee told me "they're being very careful and appreciative to the employees still here."

Then I had the opportunity to chat with GM Gary Quasebarth for 20 minutes. I now have faith that if he is allowed to work his vision - the park can begin its journey to earn back its status as the 'Riviera of the Midwest'.

Many people don't realize that all the changes this year were instituted under a previous GM that was fired/quit (conflicting reports) early this year. According to a press release, Gary came on board on May 2nd - with work on the new attractions already started and well behind schedule. IN MY OPINION, money issues, not-fully thought out decisions and playing catch-up all season have factored into the decline of the park this year. While park management was aware of these issues all season, it appears the employee protest finally made the corporate office fully understand this situation and allow actions to be taken that have already improved the park.

I don't want to break any implied confidentiality of my conversation with Gary today, but he's aware there are relationships to be mended with the community, rabid park fans and families who have made it an annual tradition to visit the park. He has ties to community himself, and I think he has come home to try and fix the park. He spoke very highly of the Spackman family, as well as W.H. Robinson (the long-time marketing minds during the Spackman years). He understands why we are upset about lost traditions at the park. He knows bad decisions were made before his arrival (i.e. Water Swings moved, etc.) and is doing his best to fix them.

I think we can expect lasting positive changes over the off-season - the only time management can really concentrate on anything other than day-to-day operations. After today, I'm not ready to write off the park. I'm not ready to call for a new owner. I do want Gary to be able work his vision.

Now the only roadblock I see is a corporate owner who is also busy defending itself in several legal battles and seemingly short on cash.


Are you an addict?
CoasterDemon's avatar

^How about the "45 minute wait is NOT long enough to warrant a 2nd train operation on Lost Coaster" rule?

DantheCoasterman's avatar

I want my over-water Yo-Yo and boardwalk Flying Star back.


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