When a nature-loving Chicago family leased a cave in the Ozarks, what they had in mind was a summer cave tour business. What they developed was a major theme park attracting over two million people each year and winning the theme park industry’s top award of excellence worldwide. Silver Dollar City, an 1880s-style theme park located near Branson, Missouri, presents six world-class festivals each year from April through December. The 55-acre park has twelve stage venues, 22 rides, twelve restaurants, 60 shops and over 1600 employees, including 100 resident craftsmen. But it began as an accessory to a hole in the ground.
Silver Dollar City is owned and operated by Herschend Family Entertainment (HFE). SG Integration (now Paragon 360) has been working with HFE since 1991 as their primary supplier of audio, video and lighting design and installation throughout its park property. In addition to the various theater venues, Paragon has provided sound reinforcement and audio special effects to 80% of the rides in the park and supplied audio throughout much of the park.
2008 marked the opening of a new section of the park, called the Grand Exposition, where Paragon installed park-wide audio and sound reinforcement throughout that entire section of the park and each ride. The theatre venues have all received new systems over the last several years including the 1,000 seat Opera House Theatre, the main flagship theatre on the property. Audio, video and lighting were designed and supplied to the Red & Gold theatrical space which seats over 1,700.
2010 was the year for a couple of additional projects including the big renovation of the largest venue at the park, the 4,500 seat Echo Hollow Amphitheatre. The audio system design took a lot of coordination considering the various styles of events hosted at the venue, which is not only musical concerts but also tournaments, log cutting shows, touring acts and corporate meetings. Events from this space have been broadcast on ESPN and other national networks. The audio system designed by Paragon 360 is a large-format EV system that is fully weatherized with custom rigging. Tom & Hucks River Blast was another recent project which featured a very elaborate sound system design that included ride-wide sound reinforcement and triggered audio response special effects throughout the ride. Silver Dollar City is the largest user of wireless microphones of any of our clients to date with over 70 separate wireless systems on the park property.
The relationship and customer service that kept Paragon 360 involved for all these years also led to other projects developed by HFE such as the 4,000 seat Grand Palace Theatre, Branson’s Showboat Branson Belle and the Dixie Stampede in Branson, as well as Dollywood in Pigeon Forge, TN.
In 2006 HFE opened their latest theme park on the Branson strip called Celebration City. This project featured full park-wide audio that operated on a complete fiber optic backbone with interior and exterior paging capabilities, multi-zone music and large format, bi-amped speaker systems along the walkways. The project also featured audio in a 500 seat theatre. In 2014, Paragon 360 took over lighting design and direction work for the Park’s biggest productions.
Herschend Family Entertainment Corporation owns, operates or partners in 22 properties in ten states. Properties include Branson, Missouri’s Silver Dollar City theme park, Showboat Branson Belle lake attraction, White Water water park, Talking Rocks Caverns 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, S.C.
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 owns and/or licenses Ride The Ducks amphibious tours in Branson, Philadelphia, Stone Mountain Park, Newport, KY (at Newport Aquarium), Seattle, and San Francisco; also in San Francisco, HFE operates Classic Cable Car Sightseeing, the oldest land-based sightseeing company in the Bay Area. HFE also owns and operates two aquariums; Newport Aquarium in Newport, Kentucky, across the river from downtown Cincinnati, and Adventure Aquarium in Camden, New Jersey, across the river from downtown Philadelphia.