Themeparks LLC

Themeparks LLC (also referred to as Kentucky Kingdom LLLP) is an American company that operates Kentucky Kingdom. The company was originally formed as "227 Plus One" in the late 1980s by Ed Hart and is based in Louisville, Kentucky. Themeparks' first park was Kentucky Kingdom, which it bought in 1988 and sold to Premier Parks (now Six Flags) in 1997.[1] Themeparks subsequently operated Magic Springs Theme Park in Hot Springs, Arkansas from 2000 to 2008 before selling it to PARC Management. Themeparks LLC repurchased Kentucky Kingdom in 2013 and has been operating the theme park since May 2014.

Themeparks LLC
IndustryAmusement park owner and operator
FounderEd Hart
1401 Bardstown Road,
Louisville, Kentucky
Number of locations
Area served
United States
Key people
Ed Hart Chairman & CEO


The first decade (1989–2008)Edit

In early April 1989, businessman Ed Hart bought the then-bankrupt Kentucky Kingdom amusement park's operating rights in a contract with the Kentucky State Fair Board.[2] Hart then turned the park around and reopened it for the 1989 season. During this time, Hart founded Themeparks LLC specifically for the project.

On September 26, 1997, Themeparks LLC announced that Kentucky Kingdom would be sold to Premier Parks for $64 million, the deal was finalized on November 7.[3] In 1998, Premier Parks purchased Six Flags Theme Parks from Time Warner, Kentucky Kingdom became Six Flags Kentucky Kingdom on June 21, 1998.[4]

In the late 1990s, Hart was approached by Fitraco, a Belgian company, to reopen Magic Springs amusement park in Arkansas. Hart then reassembled and restarted Themeparks LLC, only one year after it dissolved after the sale of Kentucky Kingdom to Premier Parks (now Six Flags). Hart and Themeparks LLC then reopened the park on May 27, 2000, after five years being closed.[5][6] During Themeparks LLC's operations at Magic Springs, attendance grew to new highs, after the additions of Crystal Falls Water Park and the Timberwood Amphitheater.

In October 2002, the company made a bid for VisionLand, a theme park in Bessemer, Alabama, but the price was too high.[7]

Themeparks LLC sold Magic Springs and Crystal Falls to PARC Management in June 2008.[8] Themeparks LLC then dissolved for a second time afterwards.

Return to Kentucky Kingdom (2010–present)Edit

In 2010, Themeparks LLC temporarily renamed itself to KK Redevelopment LLC to buy back Kentucky Kingdom from the state of Kentucky. In late 2011, The Kentucky State Fair Board ended their plans with KK Redevelopment LLC to reopen Kentucky Kingdom, after they failed to reach a lease agreement by a September 30th deadline.[9] On October 19, 2012, KK Redvelopment LLC submitted a new proposal to reopen the park, the proposal included $50 million in startup funding and $70 million over the term of a lease with the state.[10]

On January 24, 2013, The Fair Board approved the proposal from KK Redevelopment LLC and Ed Hart to reopen Kentucky Kingdom.[11] The park (along with Hurricane Bay) was set to reopen on May 24, 2014 with new thrill rides and a bigger water park. Kentucky Kingdom and Hurricane Bay is now open with Themeparks LLC as the new operators. They spent over 50 million dollars to bring back Kentucky Kingdom and during the first year of operation. Theme Park LLC added a $7 million roller coaster named Lightning Run and doubled the size of the water park.[12] Though Themeparks LLC does operate Kentucky Kingdom, the company is commonly referred to as Kentucky Kingdom LLLP when relating to Kentucky Kingdom.

Proposed Amusement ParksEdit

After selling Kentucky Kingdom to Premier Parks in 1997, Hart began planning to build a brand new amusement park near Seattle, Washington, which was to be called "The Great Northwest Theme Park".[13] The park was to be 100 acres and be located in the town of Lakewood. It was planned to open in the Spring of 2002. However, the project was scrapped for unknown reasons.

In the early 2000s, Hart and Themeparks LLC began developing a new theme and water park, which was to be called Thrillopolis, and to be located in Nashville, Tennessee. Nashville's only amusement park, Opryland USA, had previously closed permanently several years prior in 1997 and was replaced by a shopping mall in 2000. The closest amusement park to Nashville at this time was Dollywood in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee. On June 17, 2002, Hart announced that Thrillopolis would not be built in Nashville, due to funding issues with the local government.[14] In late 2002, Themeparks LLC did try to find property for Thrillopolis in Wilson County, Tennessee, even signing an exclusivity agreement with Wilson County on October 15, 2002.[15] However, by the mid-2000s, plans to open Thrillopolis had been canceled.

Theme parks ownedEdit


  1. ^ Kleber, John E. (2000). The Encyclopedia of Louisville. University Press of Kentucky. p. 32. ISBN 0-8131-2100-0.
  2. ^ Shafer, Sheldon (April 14, 1989). "Amusement park's rides destined for auction block". The Courier-Journal. Retrieved May 26, 2020.
  3. ^ "Whew! What a wild ride for Kentucky Kingdom". Louisville Business Journal. November 24, 1997. Retrieved April 21, 2020.
  4. ^ "The New Monster Of The Midway; Premier Parks Thrives by Not Being Disney". The New York Times. June 21, 1998. Retrieved April 21, 2020.
  5. ^ "Magic Springs celebrates 40th anniversary with new ride". Arkansas Democrat Gazette. Retrieved April 21, 2020.
  6. ^ "Hot Springs, Arkansas' Attractions". Retrieved April 21, 2020.
  7. ^ "Themeparks LLC signs exclusive with Wilson County". October 15, 2002. Retrieved April 4, 2020.
  8. ^ "Thrills 'n' spills in the hills". Arkansas Democrat Gazette. Retrieved April 21, 2020.
  9. ^ "Kentucky Kingdom reopening a distant dream as State Fair Board ends talks". Theme Park Tourist. October 4, 2011. Retrieved April 21, 2020.
  10. ^ "Hart pledges $120M investment to reopen Kentucky Kingdom". Louisville Business First. October 22, 2012. Retrieved April 21, 2020.
  11. ^ "Kentucky Kingdom To Re-Open In 2014 With New Attractions!". Behind The Thrills. Retrieved February 10, 2019.
  12. ^ "The New Kentucky Kingdom Announces Lightning Run". ThrillGeek. Retrieved April 21, 2020.
  13. ^ "Lakewood's coaster ride". Puget Sound Business Journal. November 28, 1999. Retrieved April 21, 2020.
  14. ^ "Steiner Liff site for theme park scrapped". June 17, 2002. Retrieved April 4, 2020.
  15. ^ "Themeparks LLC signs exclusive with Wilson County". October 15, 2002. Retrieved April 4, 2020.