Herschend Family Entertainment Names New General Manager for Elitch Gardens
January 25, 2011, Denver, CO & Norcross, GA — Herschend Family Entertainment (HFE), the nation’s largest family-owned theme park corporation, announced today Rod Rankin has been named general manager of Elitch Gardens. With more than 25 years in the theme park industry, both domestically and internationally, Rankin will utilize his extensive experience to lead Elitch Gardens into a new era in the park’s history.
Rankin began his career in the studio operations at Paramount Pictures and later migrated to management at Paramount Parks. He worked for Paramount for 22 years, leaving in 2007 as regional senior vice president and general manager for the western U.S. While at Paramount, Rod financially, operationally and creatively managed a variety of properties including Carowinds in Charlotte, North Carolina, TerraMitica Parque de Thematico in Spain, Great America in California and the Star Trek Experience in Las Vegas. Rankin is relocating from his home in Phoenix to Denver.
“I am thrilled to assume the general manager role at Elitch Gardens and make Denver my new home,” said Rankin. “Elitch Gardens has a strong, special history in Denver, and I look forward to building upon the park’s legacy while delivering exceptional family entertainment at a great value to the city’s residents and visitors.”
Earlier today, it was announced that HFE’s management company (HFE) assumed day-to-day management of Elitch Gardens. HFE will oversee all operations of Elitch Gardens including supervising more than 1,500 full-time and seasonal employees. CNL Lifestyle Properties, Inc. remains the owner of the park.
For more than 120 years, Elitch Gardens has been a gathering place for Colorado’s families and children and the entertainment hub of the community. It was home to the first zoo, first theater, first movie house, first symphony orchestra and continues to be the oldest continually operating theme park west of the Mississippi.
About Herschend Family Entertainment
Widely recognized as the premier privately held theme park operator in the U.S., HFE owns, operates or partners in 24 entertainment, tourism and hospitality properties in eight states. Celebrating its fiftieth anniversary in 2010, HFE’s original park is Branson, Missouri’s Silver Dollar City theme park. In Branson, the company also owns and operates Showboat Branson Belle lake attraction, White Water water park and The Wilderness at Silver Dollar City campground. HFE is an operating partner with Dolly Parton in the Dollywood Company, which owns the Dollywood theme park and Dollywood’s Splash Country water park, both in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee. The Dollywood Company is also the largest shareholder in the Dixie Stampede dinner attractions located in Branson, Pigeon Forge and Myrtle Beach. In Georgia, HFE operates Atlanta’s Stone Mountain Park in conjunction with the State of Georgia, and owns Wild Adventures Theme Park in Valdosta. HFE also owns Adventure Aquarium in Camden, New Jersey and the Newport Aquarium in Newport, Kentucky, as well as Ride The Ducks amphibious tours in Branson, Philadelphia and San Francisco. Ride The Ducks also operates at Newport Aquarium and Stone Mountain Park in Atlanta.