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Oklahoma Proudly Welcomes the American Heartland
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Vinita, Okla., just west of the region’s Grand Lake, will soon be home to the massive, new American Heartland Theme Park and Resort.  With a price tag of over $2 billion, this destination is positioned in northeastern Oklahoma, right off Route 66, an historic attraction in and of itself.

The vast undertaking won’t open all at once: the project will be completed in stages. The first stage will open in the spring of 2025, featuring a large RV park and cabins. The 320-acre area will be called Three Ponies RV Park and Campground, and will be designed by Oklahoma architects ADG Blatt. It will comprise the largest such campground area in the central part of America. There will be 750 RV spaces and 300 cabins on the site. Then, coming in 2026, the theme park and resort itself will open.

According to Larry Wilhite, CEO of American Heartland, the company is “thrilled” to make the Sooner state it’s home. “…Oklahoma is an attractive location for a family entertainment destination.” The state also provided what he termed “innovative partnership efforts” with the 1,000-acre overall development that includes the 125-acre planned theme park. He notes that “We look forward to bringing unforgettable generational experiences to Oklahoma.”

Wilhite’s mission statement for the park states “With a commitment to producing high-quality, wholesome content that the entire family can enjoy, Mansion Entertainment Group has carved a niche for itself in the entertainment industry. Its impressive roster of talents, cutting-edge technology, and innovative storytelling techniques are a testament to its dedication to delivering exceptional entertainment experiences that leave a lasting impact on audiences…American Heartland is poised to become the go-to destination for families seeking engaging and meaningful entertainment that inspires, educates, and entertains.”

The size of the theme park itself can be compared to Disneyland in Anaheim, Calif. While there won’t be any Mickey or Minnie present, what the park will offer is an Americana theme, with a robust mix of rides, live entertainment, and water areas, as well as food and beverage choices that will feature restaurant-quality foods.

Oklahoma state representative Rusty Cornwell is enthusiastic, saying that “Oklahoma is excited to welcome American Heartland Theme Park and Resort.”

State senator Michael Bergstrom is equally committed to the project, reporting that “This $2 billion investment in our state will create more than 4,000 jobs,” as well as introducing a new entertainment destination in a region already known for the importance of tourism in its economic picture. He adds that “its long-term economic impact will be transformative…Since tourism is a doorway to economic development, American Heartland Theme Park and Resort will draw new businesses not only to the surrounding area but also throughout the region and state.”

The senior executive vice president of sales and marketing for Mansion Entertainment Group, American Heartland and Three Ponies, Kristy Adams, asserts that “American Heartland will be an anchor tourist destination on Route 66 set to attract more than two million out-of-state visitors to Oklahoma each year”.  “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.”

That impressive two million-visitor number may actually be a conservative one. An extensive number of visitors come to the region presently, to experience destinations such as the state’s iconic stretches of Route 66, vast Grand Lake, and entertainment at the Coleman Theatre, a historic venue for both films and live performances that is located near Vinita in Miami, Okla. In short, the area is already a destination for tourists; American Heartland will serve to accelerate visitation.

Miami, Okla. city manager Bo Reese expresses his support for the venue as well, saying “We are excited about this project and are committed to assisting in any way we can…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.”

Developer American Heartland is an affiliate of Mansion Entertainment Group, LLC, which is behind Branson, Missouri’s leading animation, performing arts, and studio offerings. The team behind the design of the new park will include Disney building veterans as well as former Disney Imagineers, along with other skilled firms experienced in theme park designs for parks such as Six Flags and Universal Studios, as well as Disney.
The theme park and resort will be designed as completely family friendly, divided into six different American-themed lands. The park will lead attendees through what it calls an American story, discovering different regions such as the Great Plains, Big Timber Falls, Bayou Bay, Stony Point Harbor, Electropolis, and Liberty Village.

Electropolis will focus on “the American age of innovation” as well as featuring thrill ride experiences; Big Timber Falls will include “white water flumes” and a wide variety of outdoors-oriented experiences; the Great Plains section will present attractions that range from a Charlotte’s Web barnyard adventure to early airplane barnstormers; Stony Point Harbor will present sea-faring excursions and treats like salt water taffy, while Bayou Bay will pay homage to everything from Everglades-like swamps to Louisiana Zydeco music. Liberty Village will serve as the gateway to the park, a “Home Town USA” not unlike the concept of Disneyland’s Main Street.

According to founder and CCO Gene Bicknell, “American Heartland will be a place families can come together to create lasting memories, experience joy, laughter, imagination and wonder.” He notes that ““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.”

Along with Three Ponies RV park and the theme park experience, the large-scale development will also feature a 300-room hotel and an indoor waterpark, which will be utilizing a Boardwalk theme.
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