American Heartland Theme Park Groundbreaking Begins With RV Park

Officials in Craig County broke ground Monday on the first phase of a billion-dollar theme park.

Monday, October 30th 2023, 5:56 pm



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Officials in Craig County broke ground Monday on the first phase of the "American Heartland" theme park development, starting with a 350-space RV park and campground.

The "Three Ponies" RV Park and Campground will have 750 spaces, and 300 cabins, on a 320-acre parcel just east of Vinita. The overall theme park development will continue in phases, with the grand opening expected in October 2026, according to project Executive Producer Steve Hedrick.

"We're pushing dirt today and we hope to push dirt over there, soon," he said referencing the property where American Heartland is planned.

Land sales have surged in the area, with speculators and business developers eagerly contacting the City, according to Vinita Mayor Josh Lee.

"We've had a tremendous outpouring already, but I suspect after today, our phones will be ringing off the hook," he said.

He said the City would extend utilities, along with fire and police services to the site, which is now part of the City of Vinita, even though it is miles from town and largely pasture.

The developer, Mansion Entertainment, describes Three Ponies as a luxury RV park that will have a rec center and general store on site.

It's projected to cost $100 million dollars and take two years to build. The plan is to break ground on the theme park next spring or summer, according to Hedrick.

Founder Gene Bicknell spoke of his concerns about the direction of the country, without specifics, while talking about his hope visitors to the theme park would be inspired with patriotism.

"And we think that through our maker, our god, we hope he'll give us the wisdom, the hope and ability, and charisma to tell the world we're still America, and we're going to be America, and they're not going to take it away from us," said Bicknell. "Our hope and desire is that we bring hope and faith and joy to the people not only of this state but the entire country."

Shelley Zumwalt, the Director of Oklahoma Tourism, praised the kickoff of the project, and said the state was still in talks about incentives for the development.

"There are a lot of different conversations that are happening, but the state wants to be supportive," she said.

Hedrick said the state was planning to expand highway access to the property, which is four miles east of Vinita, and the Will Rogers Turnpike. The site is along Route 66, which adds to its appeal for the state, according to Zumwalt.

"We’ll get to show people from all over the world how special Oklahoma is" she said.

The RV Park alone is expected to employ 300 people when it opens in two years.

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