Kentucky Kingdom reopens Saturday with new attractions, beefed u - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Kentucky Kingdom reopens Saturday with new attractions, beefed up water park

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- Kentucky Kingdom's long-awaited grand reopening is Saturday. WDRB's Rachel Collier explains what visitors can expect at the revamped park.

Saturday will be the first opportunity for the public to enjoy the park since 2009.

At least $43.5 million has been invested in the expanded park, which now boasts 20 new attractions, and a water park that's double the size of the old Hurricane Bay at Six Flags Kentucky Kingdom. It features three slide complexes, a wave lagoon, an Adventure River that's six time faster than the traditional lazy river.

And towering over it all is the Deep Water Dive. The 12-story plunge is the tallest water slide in North America and the third tallest in the world.

One of the new attractions is the park's first new steel roller coaster in 17 years -- Lightning Run.

Last weekend, roller coaster enthusiasts gave it a test run, and the feedback was unanimous: "awesome!"

Michael Chance, President of Chance Rides, Inc., gave a description of what riders can expect: "4 Gs on the pullout, 11 points on the track with airtime, so you're feeling negative Gs on the track. From the time you go off the top of the lift, from the time you come back, it's nonstop action."

The park has come a long way since 2013 when it was described as a jungle, with overgrown trees and shrubs, filthy restrooms and rides in poor condition.

"We're bringing a lot of family fun back to Louisville," said park developer Ed Hart. "And we really look forward to everybody coming out tomorrow and throughout the summer. I guarantee they're just going to have a wonderful, wonderful time."

Although Hart overcame many obstacles to get the park re-opened, he refused to take full credit for the park's incredible transformation.

"First of all, it's not me," Hart said. "I have a team of dedicated people. They did this, really, in less than a year. And really, frankly, you're right. A lot of people thought we couldn't do it. I knew we could, we've done it before. It's a passion for us. It's so gratifying for us to bring back so much family fun to Louisville."

Kentucky Kingdom has already filled all of its positions for this summer -- about a thousand in all.

As of last month, Hart says he was on track to sell 100,000 season passes this year.

The gates to Kentucky Kingdom open at 11 a.m. Saturday. It will remain open through Sept. 28.

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