Kennywood Park sold to Spanish firm
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Kennywood Park is being sold.
The families that own the park have agreed to sell the West Mifflin amusement park, nearby Sandcastle water park, Idlewild & SoakZone in Ligonier and other holdings to the Spanish-based company Parques Reunidos.
The company owns amusement parks throughout Europe and entered the U.S. market this year by purchasing water parks.
Employees of the company were told this morning at a meeting at the Bradley House of Catering in Baldwin Borough, according to a company spokeswoman.
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The companies expect to close on the deal in March.
Included in the deal are Lake Compounce Theme Park in Bristol, Conn., and Story Land in Glen, N.H.
The purchase price is not being disclosed, according to a news release.
Kennywood Entertainment has been a closely held family business since F.W. Henninger and Andrew McSwigan purchased Kennywood Park from the Monongahela Railway Co. in 1906. The Henninger and McSwigan families, now in fourth and fifth generation, have remained owners.
Parques Reunidos, based in Madrid, is an international operator that manages 61 amusement, animal and water parks in the U.S. and Europe, with total annual visitors exceeding 22 million and revenues exceeding $570 million.
Parques Reunidos approached Kennywood with an offer as part of their plan to consolidate family entertainment venues around the globe.
"The Kennywood experience -- as visitors have come to love and expect -- will continue. Nothing will seem different, even to the folks working at the parks. Existing management and staff will remain in place," Harry Henninger, chairman of Kennywood Entertainment, said in the news release.
"In recent years, we've had talks with other operators wishing to acquire us, but Parques Reunidos is the first one to share our vision and philosophy."
Mr. Henninger added, "This has been a very difficult decision for members of the founding families, now numbering over 100 and residing all over the country."
Actually, visitors to Kennywood will see at least one change next year.
It will open a new dark ride, the $2 million "Ghostwood Estate."
The ride will replace the Gold Rusher, a haunted mine ride that closed last year.
The new ride is an eight-room haunted house.
More details in tomorrow's Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.
First Published December 11, 2007 10:35 am