Land South Holdings buys Cypress Gardens, Herschend buys Wild Adventures

Posted Wednesday, September 26, 2007 10:02 AM | Contributed by Barry Short

Mulberry-based Land South Holdings bought the oldest theme park in the state Tuesday for $16.8 million at a bankruptcy auction in Georgia. Former owner Kent Buescher plans to stay on as CEO of the Gardens.

Read more from The Ledger.

Adventures Park Group (APG) and Herschend Family Entertainment Corporation (HFE) today confirmed HFE was the successful bidder at public auction for APG’s Wild Adventures Theme Park. Based in Valdosta, Georgia, the 166-acre park features 100 rides and attractions including nine roller coasters, hundreds of animals and a water park. After a bankruptcy approval hearing to be held on September 27, 2007, HFE will become the sole owner of Wild Adventures. Herschend paid $34.5 million for the Valdosta park at the auction.

Read the press release on Business Wire.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007 10:14 AM
I suspect this was as good an outcome as enthusiasts could have hoped for. Silver Dollar City has always seemed to be one of the better run parks. One would guess the trend would continue with this purchase.
Wednesday, September 26, 2007 10:26 AM
Holy Bleep!

AWESOME FOR WILD ADVENTURES a park with a ton to do already,

If it wasn't before, It'll become a destination stop for people on their way to FL it's also year round, Something Herschend doesn't have yet.


Wednesday, September 26, 2007 11:19 AM
At least there is some good news to counter the bad.

I've never been to Wild Adventures but I hear it's a place with great potential and I believe no one will take advantage of that potential like Herschend. As for Cypress, I was at the park a few months after it opened and felt it was a great little park in the making. Buescher seemed to have passion for the place so it's nice to hear he's part of the park's future.

Excellent news!

Wednesday, September 26, 2007 11:41 AM
Lord Gonchar's avatar

I've never been to Wild Adventures but I hear it's a place with great potential...

That's a nice way of putting it. ;)

Wednesday, September 26, 2007 12:00 PM
matt.'s avatar Wonderful news.
Wednesday, September 26, 2007 12:04 PM
Back in 2004 (I think... Thunderhead's first year at Dollywood, Miracle Strip's last year on the planet), my wife and I took a 2 week vacation to Florida (to visit family, not to visit Orlando parks)... drove there and back, making stops at Carowinds, Myrtle Beach parks, Wild Adventures, Miracle Strip and Dollywood (with a few other parks being rain outs). Wild Adventures had to be the surprise of the visit!

Not saying it was better than Dollywood... but I expected a lot from Dollywood (and it delivered) but expected simply a "coaster stop" from Wild Adventures and instead found a neat little park with the smoothest SLC I have ever encountered as well as an oft maligned and oft underated wood coaster in Cheetah. (it was also the only coaster where I was ever stranded on the lift hill... 20 minutes... and the sureal thing was that I was the only rider on train!)

Glad Herschend got it. Would have hated to see a developer get it (or even some other chain who might decide to Geauga it)

*** This post was edited by SLFAKE 9/26/2007 12:12:23 PM ***

Wednesday, September 26, 2007 12:45 PM
Yay for both parks. I'm glad especially that Cypress Gardens will be saved for another generation of park-goers. It's definitely worth a side trip for anyone making the trek to Orlando.

This is how this kind of story is supposed to end. *dark look*

Wednesday, September 26, 2007 2:16 PM
Great news for both will be interesting to see what the Herschends do with Wild Adventures.

Glad to see Cypress Gardens was saved too.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007 5:07 PM
rollergator's avatar 100.4 miles from my front door to a Herschend park? Think I'm a happy camper? You BET! :)
Wednesday, September 26, 2007 10:58 PM
Lord Gonchar's avatar The good news? You're only 100 miles away froma Herschend park!

The bad news? It's Wild Adventures. ;)

Thursday, September 27, 2007 12:45 AM
Yeah, but give them some time. Good chance Herschend will make something great out of it.
Thursday, September 27, 2007 1:11 PM
rollergator's avatar LOL Gonch, there is NO place for the park to go but was improving and growing at an enormous clip until about 5 years ago. Since Cheetah, the Screamin' Swing has been the ONLY noticeable ride enhancement.

Food *options* have improved somewhat, but food quality is still lacking. Landscaping needs a MAJOR upgrade, the sole wooden coaster is virtually unrideable, and the Herschend customer-focused friedliness would *certainly* be a welcome change. Honestly, given the location and the populations nearby, if they can put the HFEC stamp on WA, it could easily become a mid-level park that impresses people. The last enthusiasts that I know of who came away impressed, came several years ago...


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