A new massive, $2 billion “American Heartland theme park” is coming to Oklahoma in 2026.
The American Heartland theme park is thousands of miles away from the typical theme park hubs and is posed to be a 1,000-acre resort destination that is expected to draw in approximately 5 million guests per year. In a press release shared by the park last Wednesday, it was disclosed that the project’s design team is made up of over 20 former Disney Parks builders and Walt Disney Imagineers.
Just like Disney and the other theme parks, American Heartland is going to be divided into various sections for people to explore such as Great Plains, Bayou Bay, Big Timber Falls, Stony Point Harbor, Liberty Village, and Electropolis.
Other interesting plans for the park include classic amusement park rides, family attractions, live shows, restaurants, and waterways that will effectively create an “Americana-themed environment.”
The American Heartland is located on the historic Route 66 outside Vinita and will feature a large-scale RV park, a world-class theme park, and a modern indoor water park. Visitors will also have the option of staying in a 300-room hotel during their stay.
The state of Oklahoma was chosen as the best location for the project due to its “innovative partnership effort and business-friendly approach,” according to the CEO of American Heartland, Larry Wilhite.
The company has announced that a $2 billion investment and development project is in the works. This project is estimated to generate about 4,000 job opportunities and is expected to have a significant impact on tourism in Oklahoma. The American Heartland predicts that the park and resort will attract over five million visitors annually to the state.
Wilhite said in the announcement, “We are excited to make Oklahoma the home of American Heartland Theme Park and Resort. Oklahoma is an attractive location for a family entertainment destination. The state’s business-friendly approach and innovative partnership efforts have contributed to making this possible. We look forward to bringing unforgettable generational experiences to Oklahoma.”
Opposite the theme park is the 320-acre Three Ponies RV Park and Campground, which is anticipated to be the largest campground in the Central United States. The RV resort will feature 750 RV spaces, 300 cottages, and on-site amenities.
Oklahoma State Sen. Micheal Bergstrom said in the press release, “There’s no better place to represent the heart of America than northeast Oklahoma,”. “This $2 billion investment in our state will create more than 4,000 jobs opportunities and birth a new category of entertainment to the region. Its long-term economic impact will also be transformative.”
Industry Experts Doubt Oklahoma Theme Park
Oklahomans have been warned to put a brake on their excitement for the newly announced theme park the size of Disneyland saying that the 4.9 million visitors per year that American Heartland is projecting is not as realistic as it seems.
Dennis Speigel, who was a consultant and former president of the largest international amusement park trade group, said that there just aren't enough people in northeast Oklahoma to justify this size of the project. He explained that too much competition and market saturation will limit the American Heartland Theme Park's potential.