Kyle Allison

Jan 27, 2016, 11:32 AM

Jodi Helmer

Kyle AllisonWhen it comes to running Andy Alligator’s Fun Park and Water Park, it’s not an exaggeration to say Kyle Allison is the consummate jack-of-all-trades.

As the owner of the Norman, Oklahoma, family entertainment center, Allison pitches in with all aspects of park operations from cleaning the rides and taking orders during the lunch rush to managing the financials and planning pending expansions.

“As a family business, my job is to do whatever it takes make sure the park is running 100 percent and delivering an incredible guest experience,” Allison says. “My days are never boring or repetitive.”

Allison joined the family business in 2008 after stints in special event sales and production.

Although he’s always worked in the hospitality industry, Allison made the decision to trade a corporate career planning 300-plus special events at Pepsi Center in Denver, Colorado, for a role in the FEC after seeing how much fun his parents were having growing the business – and watching the reactions of guests who were benefiting from their efforts.

“Seeing a guest having fun in our park is extremely rewarding,” he says. “I tell all of my sales team when they are hired [that] we are in the business of selling fun and we need to have fun while we’re doing it.”

Over the past eight years, Allison has focused on managing and growing the FEC. Membership in IAAPA has been integral in helping Allison choose attractions and experiences that draw guests to Andy Alligator’s Fun Park and Water Park and keep them coming back.

“When our park was under construction we looked to IAAPA for educational opportunities to help us develop the park,” he recalls. “[Now] we attend the IAAPA Attractions Expo every year to find products and services to help grow our park.”

While Allison enjoys choosing rides and attractions for the park, he admits that running an FEC is not without its challenges. Being part of a small, family-owned business requires him to wear many hats, which can be difficult when things get busy.

“We don’t have a large corporate structure to help execute the many tasks of running the business,” he explains.

IAAPA has helped with that, too.

“The continuing education is phenomenal and I never leave a session, webinar or conference without a list of learning points,” Allison says.

“IAAPA has also stepped forward in supporting and protecting the safety and political interests of the attraction industry,” he adds. “No other organization does that for me and I value the advocacy IAAPA has for our industry.”

To support IAAPA, Allison serves on the board of directors and chairs the FEC committee. But his biggest – and most cherished – role is at Andy Alligator’s.

The best part of the job? “Helping to shape and create the environments that our park offers and then seeing the faces of our guests light up when they visit the park,” he says.