Adventure Aquarium Announces Leadership Transition
Current Executive Director & Vice President, Vince Nicoletti, announced as Senior Vice President of Marketing for Herschend Enterprises
Herschend Enterprises, the parent company of Adventure Aquarium, announced today that Vince Nicoletti, the Aquarium’s current Executive Director, has been named Senior Vice President of Marketing for Herschend Enterprises in Peachtree Corners, GA, effective October 19, 2020. Herschend Enterprises is the nation’s largest family-owned themed attractions corporation. Herschend develops and operates entertainment, tourism and hospitality properties that currently span 23 locations in six states including Dollywood Parks & Resorts in Pigeon Forge, TN, Silver Dollar City in Branson, MO and the world-famous Harlem Globetrotters.
Nicoletti has served as the Aquarium’s executive leader since 2015. During his tenure, the Aquarium has realized record-setting attendance and has added more than $10 million of capital investment to modernize and improve the facility.
“We’ve seen a great deal of progress in such a short time at Adventure Aquarium. This isn’t the same Aquarium that many of us remember,” said Nicoletti. “In the last few years alone, we’ve invested millions of dollars in a completely new dining experience, opened the Camden Waterfront’s first beer garden, introduced a new colony of Little Blue Penguins, built the world’s longest V-shaped suspension bridge directly over our shark exhibit, and made countless other improvements to the guest experience. If you haven’t been to Adventure Aquarium recently, it’s virtually a new experience.”
Nicoletti will be succeeded by industry-veteran, Molly Deese, a 30-year attractions executive and operator currently serving as Vice President & General Manager for Herschend Enterprises’ Wild Adventures in Valdosta, Georgia, a 170-acre theme park, water park and animal park featuring one of the largest ride collections in the South.
“I have no doubt that the Aquarium and our team will continue to flourish under Molly’s leadership,” said Nicoletti. “She brings everything to the table that one needs to make a positive impact in this role.”
Deese has served as Wild Adventures’ General Manager & Vice President in Valdosta, GA since 2012. Her impressive career spans three decades with some of the industry’s most well-regarded and popular attractions including Carowinds Theme Park in Charlotte, NC, and Kings Dominion Theme Park in Richmond, VA. Throughout her career, she has worked in increasingly senior roles in food and beverage, retail, operations, and general management.
Prior to being named General Manager in 2012, Deese worked as Wild Adventures’ Operations Director, overseeing all of the park’s attractions and business operations.
Deese has a strong commitment and history of connecting attractions to their communities. Molly has served in numerous community leadership roles including President-Elect of the Rotary Club of Valdosta and Chairman of the Valdosta Lowndes County Conference Center and Tourism Authority Board of Directors.
“I’m thrilled and humbled to have the opportunity to lead this great Philadelphia and South Jersey institution into the next chapter,” said Deese. “The progress the Aquarium has made and the support from the community has been impressive, especially given the impact of the pandemic. I look forward to continuing to build this community icon well into the future.”
About Adventure Aquarium
Adventure Aquarium is just minutes from Center City Philadelphia on the Camden Waterfront and features one-of-a-kind exhibits with more than 15,000 aquatic species throughout two million gallons of water. In 2020, Adventure Aquarium was ranked among the top 10 best aquariums in North America by USA Today 10Best Readers’ Choice Awards and a Tripadvisor 2020 Travelers’ Choice Winner. Adventure Aquarium is an accredited member of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA), and is held to the absolute highest standards in animal care and exhibition. For more information, visit AdventureAquarium.com.