American Heartland announces $2 billion theme park, resort development in Northeast Oklahoma
The 1,000-acre resort destination expected
to attract more than 2 million guests per year
VINITA – Oklahoma state and local officials joined today with American Heartland leadership to announce American Heartland Theme Park and Resort, a more than $2 billion entertainment destination development in Northeast Oklahoma, just west of Grand Lake on Route 66.
The development will be built in phases starting with a large-scale RV park with cabins scheduled to open in spring 2025 and a world-class theme park and resort scheduled to open in 2026. The American Heartland Theme Park and Resort will offer a unique visitor experience rivaling the world’s top resort destinations.
“We are thrilled to make Oklahoma the home of American Heartland Theme Park and Resort,“ American Heartland CEO Larry Wilhite said. “At the crossroads of the heartland, Oklahoma is an attractive location for a family entertainment destination. The state’s business-friendly approach and innovative partnership efforts have helped make this possible. We look forward to bringing unforgettable generational experiences to Oklahoma.”
American Heartland will be a 1,000-acre development with a 125-acre theme park, which is comparable to the size of Magic Kingdom® Theme Park and Disneyland® Park. The park will feature an Americana-themed environment with a variety of entertaining rides, live shows, family attractions, and waterways, as well as restaurant-quality food and beverage offerings.
“We are excited about this project and are committed to assisting in any way we can,” Miami City Manager Bo Reese said. “It is clear that, once complete, American Heartland will not only quickly become the top destination in Oklahoma, but it will also become a destination for tourists from around the world.”
Conservative estimates indicate 2 million out-of-state visitors will attend the development per year. Combine those numbers with the large number of visitors the region receives each year to experience Route 66, Grand Lake, the Coleman Theatre and more, this project further enhances Northeast Oklahoma as a tourist destination.
“American Heartland will be an anchor tourist destination on Route 66,” said Kristy Adams, senior executive vice president of sales and marketing for Mansion Entertainment Group, American Heartland and Three Ponies. “The scale and quality of the development will be unlike anything else in the region, making Vinita, Oklahoma, a can’t-miss destination for families around the world.”
The adjacent 320-acre Three Ponies RV Park and Campground, designed by Oklahoma architects ADG Blatt, will be the largest campground in the central U.S. with 750 RV spaces and 300 cabins plus amenities.
American Heartland leadership has deep Oklahoma roots. American Heartland is an affiliate of Mansion Entertainment Group, LLC, Branson’s leading performing arts, animation, and studio brand.
Led by Executive Producer Steve Hedrick, the design team is made up of the world’s best theme park designers including 20-plus former Disney Parks builders and Walt Disney Imagineers. Design firms include THG, FORREC and Cuningham, whose portfolios feature the world’s foremost theme park brands including Six Flags, Disney Parks and Universal Studios.
American Heartland Theme Park and Resort is a family-friendly park promising timeless fun and boundless adventure. The 125-acre theme park will feature a collection of six distinctly American lands to welcome guests on a journey through the best of the American story.
Families will find thrilling rides and heartwarming shows as they discover the Great Plains, Bayou Bay, Big Timber Falls, Stony Point Harbor, Liberty Village and Electropolis.
“American Heartland will be a place families can come together to create lasting memories, experience joy, laughter, imagination and wonder,” American Heartland Founder and Chief Creative Officer Gene Bicknell said. “There is so much to celebrate about our country: its landscapes, its cultures and most importantly, its people. No matter where you’re from, you’ll feel right at home at American Heartland.”
The development will also include a top-tier 300-room hotel and modern indoor water park.
“There have been many inquiries about this project, and we understand there may have even been a little frustration in the lack of details provided,” Fairland Mayor Nick Bowers said. “All individuals and groups close to the project were bound by the details of a non-disclosure agreement. In economic development, confidentiality is crucial. Projects we work on today may not come to fruition for months or even years. It is a slow process, but when it pays off with development like American Heartland it is a worthwhile process.”
Commerce City Administrator Michael Hart said now that the project has been announced, it is time to celebrate its scoop and support the development.
“Now we can all celebrate together,” Hart said. “Rest assured that, as area community leaders evaluate the project, we are working to make sure our communities can handle what we believe will be a surge of investment in our communities.
“Do we have the infrastructure, utility needs, talent, and locations for development that will be required to foster growth? As we answer those questions, we are committed to making sure we take all necessary steps to embrace that growth but limit our risk at the same time.”
According to Miami Mayor Bless Parker, many residents have been vocal on the need for area communities to:
Create more jobs. “This project will not only provide jobs at the park, but the economic development it will spur in the area will create additional jobs,” Parker said.
Create more things to do. “A state-of-the-art, large-scale park like American Heartland will provide more than enough entertainment options to check that box. Add in increased entertainment options that will come to this area because of this project, and Northeast Oklahoma has the potential to become the new entertainment destination in the country,” Parker said.
Create more housing. “We already have a need for new housing in our communities. This project will only add to that need. Housing will quickly become a priority for all communities in the area as the increase in jobs and other opportunities brings more people to our area,” Parker said.
Bring in more restaurants/retail shopping. “We firmly believe in the adage that ‘if you build it, they will come.’ American Heartland has the potential to draw restaurants, retail outlets and other business to the area to capitalize on the high volume of traffic it will create,” Parker said.
Improve roads, schools, utilities, and fire and police protection. “New development means new sales tax revenue. New development means new property on tax roll. That all translates into an increase in revenue to address those crucial infrastructure and public safety issues each community has,” Parker said.
“It can be a bit overwhelming to believe that one project can have that big of an impact on our communities. But, that’s the power of a project of this magnitude,” said Shannon Duhon, President/CEO of the Miami Area Economic Development Service, Inc. “Sometimes all you need is a catalyst, a spark. That spark leads to a fire that leads to an inferno. With American Heartland, we are starting with a bonfire rather than a spark.”
Community leaders know there will be many questions moving forward regarding the project.
“We want you to know that we will be here every step of the way to answer those questions,” said Cindy Morris, President/CEO of the Miami Regional Chamber of Commerce. “This is a big project with an aggressive timeline. We have tremendous confidence in this project, but we also know this project could take a little longer than projected. That’s OK. It’s worth the wait!”
Area residents with questions about the project are asked to direct those queries to the following individuals:
Mayor of Miami
Miami City Manager
Commerce City Administrator
Mayor of Fairland
President/CEO of Miami Area Economic Development Service, Inc.
President/CEO of Miami Regional Chamber of Commerce