The entrance of the park in 2006 when it was operated by Six Flags
|Location||Louisville, Kentucky, United States|
|Owner||Kentucky State Fair Board|
|Operated by||Ed Hart (planned)|
|General Manager||John Shanrock (planned)|
|Previous names||Six Flags Kentucky Kingdom, Bluegrass Boardwalk|
|Area||58 acres (23 ha)|
Kentucky Kingdom (previously known as Six Flags Kentucky Kingdom) is a standing but not operating amusement park, located in Louisville, Kentucky, USA. The park is located on 58 acres (23 ha) of land which includes a collection of 30 amusement rides and a water park previously named Splashwater Kingdom. In 2011, the operators of Indiana's Holiday World and Splashin' Safari amusement park proposed re-opening the park and renaming it Bluegrass Boardwalk; however, those plans were cancelled in June 2012. The park's proprietor Ed Hart has expressed a desire to reopen the park in 2014.
Kentucky Kingdom opened on May 23, 1987, leasing 10 acres (4.0 ha) at the Kentucky Exposition Center property. The park was started by out of state Texas investors. The park was an extension of the Kentucky State Fair. One of the original rides was a roller coaster named Starchaser. The park also had other rides such as Bumper Cars and a log flume. However, the 10 acre park closed and filed for bankruptcy after only one season of operation. Most of the contractors and vendors were unpaid. Most of the rides were auctioned off to other parks. Only a few rides stayed at the park. The park had four themed areas called "Carousel Plaza","Old Louisville","Kentucky Frontier" and "The Enchanted Forest" the kiddie area which would later become "King Louie's Playground" and then "Looney Tunes Movie Town".
Ed Hart era (1989–1997)
The park remained closed through 1989 after its purchase by Ed Hart and a group of investors. Hart's first step was paying the vendors and contractors that were unpaid before. The 227 contractors and vendors were then repaid. It reopened for the 1990 season with the new owners and management team. Despite the Starchaser being sold it had remained on-site at the amusement park allowing Hart to purchase it back. Additionally new rides were added including Tin Lizzies, The Enterprise, Whirling Dervish (later renamed "Breakdance"), and The Vampire. In 1992, the Kentucky Kingdom made a large expansion and opened the Hurricane Bay water park (which was later renamed Splashwater Kingdom).
Through the 1990- 1998 seasons, the park was said to be one of the fastest growing amusement parks in the United States at this time.
Ed Hart also put rides in the park over the years he was operating the park. Thunder Run (wooden roller coaster), The Quake, T2 (Terror to the Second Power), Twisted Twins (Twisted Sisters), Mile High Falls, Chang (stand up roller coaster), Hellevator (Drop Tower), Roller Skater Kids coaster, Chaos, and Kingdom Go Carts. These rides were added during 1990 to 1999 seasons.
Premier Parks/Six Flags era (1997–2010)
At the end of 1997, Kentucky Kingdom was sold to Premier Parks for $64 million. At the time, Kentucky Kingdom was one of the main tourism attractions for Louisville, receiving more visitors than Churchill Downs. On April 1, 1998, Premier Parks purchased Six Flags from Time Warner, and as such, on June 21, 1998, Kentucky Kingdom became known as Six Flags Kentucky Kingdom. It became the ninth amusement park to use the Six Flags name.
In 1999, Six Flags planned to re-theme the one side of the park as "Gotham City", renaming and repainting several rides. Later that year, the idea was shelved and the rides retained their original names despite many of them having a different coat of paint.
In 2002, the Twisted Sisters roller coaster was forced to be renamed to Twisted Twins upon a threat of a lawsuit from the band Twisted Sister. Before the opening of the 2007 season, Hurricane Bay was rebranded as Splashwater Kingdom. It was called Hurricane Bay from 1992-2007 and then Splashwater Kingdom from 2007-2010. According to current plans for the future, it will return to the name Hurricane Bay when the park reopens.
On September 21, 2009, Kentucky Kingdom confirmed that the park's main attraction Chang was being removed for the addition of Bonzai Beach, a new water park region that has a separate theme from the existing Splashwater Kingdom.
Amid a corporate bankruptcy, on February 4, 2010, Six Flags announced the park would cease operations immediately due to the rejection of an amended lease by the Kentucky State Fair Board. This left the fair board and Six Flags to negotiate the ownership of rides and attractions. On July 25, 2010, this dispute was settled. In the settlement Six Flags received a ride of their choice which was chosen to be Road Runner Express. Six Flags was forgiven $2.8 million in lease related payments owed by Six Flags. The Kentucky State Fair Board used $2.35 million from Ed Hart to purchase Six Flags' 20-acre (8.1 ha) stake in the park. Six Flags in return gave up its property rights to the Kentucky State Fair Board, which included the offices, furniture, fixtures and equipment relating to the park, as well as all intellectual property.
Six Flags added rides during its 10-year operation of the park. These rides were Road Runner Express, Greezed Lightnin' (shutter launch coaster), Sky Coaster, Sling Shot, Tornado (water ride), Deluge (water roller coaster) and Mega Wedgie (water bowl).
Attempts to revive Kentucky Kingdom (2010-2012)
In May 2010, the former owner of Kentucky Kingdom, Ed Hart, along with several other investors formed the Kentucky Kingdom Redevelopment Company. Their aim was to reopen the park by Memorial Day Weekend the year after funding and their plans were approved. After 16 months trying to get funding approved, the Kentucky Kingdom Redevelopment Company announced on September 30, 2011, that the fair board had ended negotiations and that their company would no longer take part in re-opening the park. On November 4, 2011, Ed Hart sued the state of Kentucky in an attempt to recoup $1.4 million that he claimed had been spent as part of the failed effort to reopen the amusement park.
On January 16, 2012, the owners of Holiday World & Splashin' Safari in Santa Claus, Indiana announced they were involved in talks about the future of Kentucky Kingdom. Their media release stated they were in a fact-finding stage and that they hadn't made any decisions about whether to move forward in pursuing an opportunity to run the theme park. On February 7, 2012, four members of the Koch family, who also own Holiday World & Splashin' Safari, formed a new company, Bluegrass Boardwalk, Incorporated, to negotiate a lease agreement with the Kentucky State Fair Board and to apply for economic development incentives from the Commonwealth of Kentucky. On February 23, 2012, the Kentucky Fair Board approved a lease agreement for the former Kentucky Kingdom property to the Koch family. It was announced that Kentucky Kingdom would be renamed Bluegrass Boardwalk and would reopen on May 11, 2013 and employ 25 full-time and 800 seasonal workers. Also if Bluegrass Boardwalk would have opened, they would have removed T2 and Twisted Twins roller coasters for old age and safety. However, later that month the plans began to unravel. On May 30, 2012, it was confirmed that the park would not reopen in 2013. On June 15, 2012, it was announced that the Koch family would not reopen the park at all, with Bluegrass Boardwalk CEO Natalie Koch stating that "many layers of governmental regulations and stipulations ultimately caused them to withdraw."
Ed Hart's latest return (2012-Present)
On August 15, 2012, it was announced that Ed Hart and Themeparks LLC and the Kentucky Kingdom Redevelopment Company would be working to open the park by 2014. On October 22, 2012, Hart said the company planned to eventually invest $120 million by using $50 million to reopen the park and gradually investing another $70 million later over the term of the lease. He also said the company would not require startup funding from the state. Hart said that all rides but Greezed Lightnin' would be in operation and that his company would add a $15 million roller coaster plus three other new rides and would double the size of the "Hurricane Bay" water park. Hart said that his goal was to have Kentucky Kingdom open in 2014 and be Kentucky's number one paid tourist attraction and that that he hoped the reopened park would produce, on average, 2,150 full time jobs each year. In January 2013, The Kentucky Fair Board granted preliminary approval for a lease and the Kentucky Tourism Development Finance Authority gave preliminary approval for government incentives for a plan to reopen the park in May 2014 with Ed Hart and his investors running the park. However, the park's web site has stated that the financing package for the reopening plan has not yet been finalized. The park is to reopen (along with Hurricane Bay) on May 24, 2014. Since Six Flags has the rights to the name "Splashwater Kingdom", under current plans the water park will change its name back to "Hurricane Bay", like it was from 1992-2007. On March 25, 2013, Hart announced that it will take more money than he previously expected to repair the park, but said his goal is still to reopen the park in May 2014. He estimated that the park would employ about 50 full-time staff and up to 1,000 seasonal employees if operation resumes. The investment plan previously approved under the terms of the lease reportedly consisted of $20 million in partner equity and $25 million in borrowed money, and the city and its convention and visitors bureau would be expected to provide subsidies and tax incentives up to $200,000 per year for five years and $100,000 per year for another five years. While operating, proprietors would be under a contract obligation to invest at least $1 million per year on park upgrades. The investors are required to decide whether or not they will proceed with the lease arrangement by May 2013. On April 10, 2013, the Kentucky Tourism Development Finance Authority approved up to $10 Million dollars in sales tax rebates over the next 10 years for Kentucky Kingdom. The investment is to bring more than 400 permanent jobs and around $420 Million in tourism dollars to Kentucky. One Consultant thinks that Ed Hart's plan is much stronger than Holiday World's owners, The Kochs "Bluegrass Boardwalk" plan for the park.
Rides and attractions
All Roller Coasters have been SBNO since November 1, 2009.
|Thunder Run||1990||Dinn Corporation||A wooden roller coaster, designed by Curtis D. Summers and John Fetterman. Known as a classic wooden roller coaster made by the Dinn Corporation. SBNO|
|Roller Skater||1994||Vekoma||A junior roller coaster, with roller skate shaped cars. A Vekoma Roller Skater roller coaster. The other Vekoma roller coaster is T2 that was added a year later. SBNO|
|T²||1995||Vekoma||A Suspended Looping Coaster. It was the first installation of its kind in the United States and the second in the world. SBNO|
|Twisted Twins||1998||Custom Coasters International||A dueling wooden roller coaster. The ride was originally named Twisted Sisters with the two sides are named Lola & Stella. The ride name changed due to a legal dispute however the track names remained. SBNO since 2008.|
Rides and attractions
All rides have been SBNO since November 1, 2009.
|Breakdance||1990||A Huss Breakdance. Ride spins on a platform with a group of pods that spin in addition to the platform.|
|Bluebeard's Bounty||1990||Swinging pirate ship.|
|Tin Lizzies||1990||Antique cars that run along a track. The ride was remodeled due to the construction of the rollercoaster Greezed Lightning.|
|Bumper Cars||1990||Known as the Road Rage Cage in October for October fest.|
|Enterprise||1990||Ride starts out flat, has an enclosed carrier with little restraints, ride begins spinning and lifts up onto its side like a Ferris wheel and then back down.|
|Thrill Park Theater||1996||Motion picture simulator, Hydraulic pods/seats move in accordance with a movie.|
|Himalaya||1990||Hilmalaya was built by Reverchon of France.|
|The Giant Wheel||1992||150 ft (46 m) tall Vekoma Ferris wheel|
|The Penguin's Blizzard River||1999||A white water raft ride. Parts of the ride were moved from the closed Opryland theme park. First ride added by Six Flags.|
|Flying Dutchman||1991||Ride was previously located at Kings Island for the 1973-1990 seasons of the park. Opened at Kentucky Kingdom in 1991.|
|International Carousel||1996||The park's main Carousel.|
|Mile High Falls||1994||It was the first ride of its kind. Closed with Twisted Twins for the 2008 and 2009 seasons of Kentucky Kingdom due to money problems from Six Flags.|
|The Zeppelin||1991||Zeppelin themed spinning ride|
Looney Tunes Movie Town
Since the closure of Six Flags Kentucky Kingdom, all rides are standing but not operating since 11/1/09.
|Looney Tunes Acme Fun Factory||1997||SCS Interactive kids foam ball play area.|
|Rio Grande||1998||Zamperla Rio Grande, kiddie train ride. Opened for one season, then closed, new location opened in 2001.|
|Speedway||1998||Kids spinning car ride.|
|Sylvester and Tweety's Pounce and Bounce||2000||Zamperla Jumpin' Star – Kids drop tower.|
|Frightfully Funny Free-Falling Fire Engine No. 9||Zamperla Crazy Bus.|
|Daffy's Star Parade||1990||Kids Ferris wheel.|
|Bugs Bunny's Big Band Carousel||1990||Kids Carousel.|
|A' Wound the World in 80 Seconds||1990||Zamperla Samba Balloons.|
|Bigfoot||1990||Kids battery powered jeeps. Formaly called Road Runner Express.|
|Taz's Filmworks||1990||Kids swing ride.|
|Yosemite Sam's Hollywood Flight School||1990||Kids biplane ride.|
Extra charge attractions
Since the closure of Six Flags Kentucky Kingdom, all rides are standing but not operating since 11/1/09.
|The Wall||1999||Climbable rock wall.|
|Top Eliminator Dragsters||1996||3/4 scale dragsters. SBNO since 2005.|
All water rides have been SBNO since 11/1/09.
|Big Surf Wave Pool||1992||Wave pool|
|Mt. Slide Hai||1993||4 slides named - Voodoo Express, Forbidden Passage, Conquistador Canyon and Vanishing Falls. Added in 1993 to the park with Castaway Creek, which is also in the water park with the slides.|
|Castaway Creek||1993||Name changed from Lazy River. Runs around Hurricane Bay and also aroun the park's roller coaster, Thunder Run and the water park's Tornado ride. Add in 1993 to the water park.|
|Hook's Lagoon||1998||SCS Interactive Discovery Treehouse for kids. Kids play area.|
|Tornado||2005||ProSlide Technology Inc. Tornado Rattler - funnel shaped tube slide that uses four person "cloverleaf" or two person "whirly wheel" tubes. Replaced "The Quake" at the park in 2005.|
|Buccaneer Beach||Remodeled 2007||Kids play area|
|Deluge||2007||ProSlide Technology Inc. HydroMagnetic Rocket slide. The ride itself, is a Water coaster with dips and curves like a Roller Coaster. The last "major" attracion when Six Flags owned the park.|
|Mega Wedgie||2008||ProSlide Technology Inc. Bullet Bowl. Last ride added by Six Flags.|
While the park is SBNO, these rides have been entirely removed from the park.
|Ranger||1990||1994||Huss Ranger – replaced by Rainbow|
|Round Up||1987||1995||Hrubetz Round Up|
|Starchaser||1987||1995||An enclosed Anton Schwarzkopf Jet Star roller coaster. It was removed in 1995 due to a pending lawsuit from guests who were injured on the ride in 1994. The ride was originally located in Beech Bend Park before being moved to Kentucky Kingdom. It was then moved to Darien Lake in 1996 before moving to its final location at Great Escape, where it was called Nightmare at Crack Axle Canyon. The ride is now defunct.|
|Smash-Crash-Bash'em||1987||1988||Kentucky Kingdom's first Bumper Cars ride. Closed in 1987 with the park. While the ride is gone, the building still stands as a arcade in the park. A new Bumper Cars ride opened in 1990 in the park.|
|Kentucky Whirl||1987||1988||A Zierer Wave Swinger ride in the park. Closed in 1987 and removed and replaced by Bumper Cars in 1990.|
|Whirlaway||1987||1988||A Chance Trabant Ride. Closed in 1987 and removed from the park in 1990.|
|The Squid||1990||1997||4 wet/dry water slides, Located where Road Runner express is.|
|The Vampire||1990||1999||A Vekoma Boomerang roller coaster. It was removed in 1999 because of multiple breakdowns. It was moved to Six Flags New England where it is now known as Flashback.|
|Ohio River Adventure||1987||1988||A Log Flume ride in the park. Opened and Closed with the park in 1987 but was on the site untill 1990 when it was taken out and replaced with "The Vampire" and other rides.|
|Jester's June Bugs||1990||2001||Moved to Six Flags Worlds of Adventure (Geauga Lake). All Geauga Lake rides could be at Cedar Point|
|Starcastle Voyage||1997||2001||Kids Carousel – moved to Six Flags Worlds of Adventure (Geauga Lake)|
|Mini Tea Cups||1998||2001||Tea cup ride – moved to Six Flags Worlds of Adventure (Geauga Lake)|
|Thriller Bees||1998||2001||Huss swing ride – moved to Six Flags Worlds of Adventure (Geauga Lake)|
|The Quake||1992||2004||Vekoma Waikiki Wave – ride was replaced by Tornado water slide|
|Slingshot||2002||2004||Extra charge Funtime Sling Shot – portable – moved to Six Flags Elitch Gardens.|
|Tornado||1987||1988||Not the Tornado water slide, a flat ride that only operated during the 1987 season. It was removed from the park in 1990 when the park reopened and to make room for new rides at the park.|
|Chaos||1998||2005||Chance Chaos – replaced by a smoking area in 2006, replaced by Deluge in 2007|
|The Great Race||1998||2006||Spinning kids ride – Replaced by Deluge in 2007 (The ride is however still in storage somewhere at the park and may reopen in 2014)|
|Superman: Tower of Power||1995||2007||Intamin 177 ft (54 m) giant drop – Closed due to serious accident that resulted in a 13-year-old girl losing her feet; was located just inside the entrance to the park; originally named Hellevator (1995–2006).|
|Rainbow||1995||2008||Removed following a serious malfunction of the Rainbow at Liseberg in Gothenburg, Sweden. Many Huss Rainbow rides were dismantled following the 2008 incident at Liseberg.|
|Turbo Bungy||2000||2008||Extra-Charge attraction|
|Chang||1997||2009||A Bolliger & Mabillard stand-up roller coaster. It opened in 1997 as the tallest, fastest and longest stand-up coaster in the world but has since been bumped down to second. It was one of Kentucky Kingdom's main attractions. Chang has been relocated to Six Flags Great Adventure and will begin to operate as the Green Lantern replacing Great American Scream Machine for their 2011 season.|
|Skycoaster||2001||2010||A skycoaster up-charge attraction stood at 180 ft (55 m) tall. It was the tallest attraction in the park.|
|Road Runner Express||2000||2010||A Maurer Söhne wild mouse roller coaster retained by Six Flags as part of the settlement. It was relocated to Six Flags New England for the 2011 season and re-themed into their 10th roller coaster.It is called Gotham City Gauntlet: Escape from Arkham Asylum.|
|Greezed Lightnin'||2003||2010||An Anton Schwarzkopf Shuttle Loop roller coaster. On the site of Kentucky Kingdom from 2003-2010 and SBNO from 2010-2013.|
|Wikinews has related news: Superman: Tower of Power incident|
Two major incidents occurred at the park that both resulted in serious injury. The rides involved in the incidents were Starchaser (in 1994) and Superman: Tower of Power (in 2007). Both incidents resulted in the rides being closed and removed from the park.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to: Kentucky Kingdom|
- Shafer, Sheldon (January 29, 2013). "Ed Hart to check out Kentucky Kingdom". Retrieved January 29, 2013.
- Cowan, Chris (May 13, 2006). "Six Flags Kentucky Kingdom". Theme Park Timelines. Retrieved November 15, 2010.
- "Splashwater Kingdom at Kentucky Kingdom". Six Flags. Archived from the original on May 2, 2008. Retrieved November 15, 2010.
- Kleber, John E. (2000). The Encyclopedia of Louisville. University Press of Kentucky. p. 32. ISBN 0-8131-2100-0.
- Marden, Duane. "Kentucky Kingdom". Roller Coaster DataBase. Retrieved November 15, 2010.
- "Chang Comes Down At Kentucky Kingdom; Ride Removed As Part Of Water Park Expansion". WLKY. September 21, 2009. Retrieved February 5, 2010.
- "Kentucky Kingdom Rejects Lease Park to Close". RCDB. February 4, 2010. Retrieved November 15, 2010.
- "Kentucky Kingdom will not re-open until 2012". WDRB. October 28, 2010. Retrieved November 4, 2010.
- "Kentucky Kingdom gets a new boss". Fox 41. May 28, 2010. Retrieved November 15, 2010.
- "New Owner Approved For Kentucky Kingdom". News Channel 5. Associated Press. May 28, 2010. Retrieved November 15, 2010.
- Karman, John R. (July 26, 2010). "Fair board strikes deal for Kentucky Kingdom property". Business First. Retrieved November 15, 2010.
- Shafer, Sheldon S. (July 25, 2010). "Kentucky fair board OKs deal to get Six Flags land, rides". Courier Journal. Retrieved November 15, 2010.
- Shafer, Sheldon (August 24, 2011). "Kentucky Kingdom gets boost". Courier-Journal. Retrieved September 1, 2011.
- Hart, Edward (October 5, 2011). "Collapse of Kentucky Kingdom Discussions". Kentucky-Kingdom. Retrieved October 5, 2011.
- Karman, John (November 4, 2011). "Company sues state to recoup Kentucky Kingdom investment". Business First. Retrieved November 4, 2011.
- Gazaway, Charles (January 16, 2012). "Holiday World owners involved in Kentucky Kingdom talks". Wave 3 News. Retrieved January 16, 2012.
- Smith, Heather (February 7, 2012). "Holiday World family forms new company to explore Kentucky Kingdom options". Wave 3 News. Retrieved February 7, 2012.
- Brown, Joey (February 23, 2012). "Kentucky Kingdom reopening as Bluegrass Boardwalk in May 2013". Wave 3 News. Retrieved February 23, 2012.
- Gazaway, Charles. "Tentative opening date for Bluegrass Boardwalk - wave3.com-Louisville News, Weather & Sports". Wave3.com. Retrieved 2012-10-29.
- [dead link]
- Marcus Green (June 15, 2012). "Bluegrass Boardwalk drops plan to reopen Kentucky Kingdom". www.courier-journal.com. Gannett Company. Retrieved June 15, 2012.
- Karman III, John R. (October 22, 2012). "Hart pledges $120M investment to reopen Kentucky Kingdom". Business First. Retrieved October 29, 2012.
- "Kentucky Kingdom Group Gets Preliminary Approval of Tourism Incentives", Courier-Journal, January 31, 2013.
- Kentucky Kingdom Redevelopment Company official web site (accessed Feb. 17, 2013)
- Sheldon S. Shafer, Kentucky Kingdom rehab will cost more than first thought, Louisville Courier-Journal, March 25, 2013.
- Marden, Duane. "Starchaser (Kentucky Kingdom)". Roller Coaster DataBase. Retrieved November 15, 2010.
- Wall, Barbara (November 29, 2007). "Kentucky Supreme Court Reinstates $3 Million Defamation Verdict". Gannett. Retrieved November 15, 2010.
- Marden, Duane. "Starchaser (Beech Bend)". Roller Coaster DataBase. Retrieved November 15, 2010.
- Marden, Duane. "Nightmare at Phantom Cave (Darien Lake)". Roller Coaster DataBase. Retrieved November 15, 2010.
- Marden, Duane. "Nightmare at Crack Axle Canyon (Great Escape & Splashwater Kingdom)". Roller Coaster DataBase. Retrieved November 15, 2010.
- Marden, Duane. "The Vampire (Bluegrass Boardwalk)". Roller Coaster DataBase. Retrieved November 15, 2010.
- Marden, Duane. "Flashback (Six Flags New England)". Roller Coaster DataBase. Retrieved November 16, 2010.
- Marden, Duane. "Chang (Kentucky Kingdom)". Roller Coaster DataBase. Retrieved November 16, 2010.
- Marden, Duane. "Green Lantern (Six Flags Great Adventure)". Roller Coaster DataBase. Retrieved November 16, 2010.
- Marden, Duane. "Road Runner Express (Kentucky Kingdom)". Roller Coaster DataBase. Retrieved November 16, 2010.
- Marden, Duane. "Gotham City Gauntlet (Six Flags New England)". Roller Coaster DataBase. Retrieved November 16, 2010.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to: Kentucky Kingdom|