Herschend Family Entertainment has bought Wild Adventures, Valdosta, Georgia, for $34.5 million. The park was one of two properties sold at auction on September 25 on behalf of Kent Buescher’s Adventure Parks Group. The other, Cypress Gardens in Winter Haven, Florida, was sold to Land South Holdings of Mulberry, Florida, for $16.8 million and Buescher (pictured) will stay on as CEO of this park.
The auction, in Macon, Georgia, was held to satisfy the requirements of Adventure Parks Group’s 2006 Chapter 11 bankruptcy filing. The company was about $135 million in debt as the result of three consecutive hurricanes that hit Cypress Gardens in 2004. They were the catalysts that started the company down the bankruptcy path, and the insurance claim remains unresolved and is still in litigation.
“We have worked with various parties since March to create the best outcome for the estate and balance the needs of the people we serve,” says Buescher, adding that the parks will not close for a single day and all employees and guests will be taken care of.
Based in Norcross, Georgia, Herschend Family Entertainment owns, operates, or partners in 17 properties in 7 US states, including Silver Dollar City and Celebration City in Branson, Missouri and Dollywood in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee. Land South Holdings is new to the amusement industry.