Day Trip Eighteen

  • Dollywood or Splash Country

Dolly Parton bought  Silver Dollar City Amusement Park in Pigeon Forge, TN, in 1986, the same year we moved to Townsend.  She has done an incredible job, each year since, adding rides and attractions to the park renamed Dollywood, AND, has managed to make it a uniquely Smoky Mountain adventure highlighting the heritage of the area.

Dollywood is centrally located to Gatlinburg, Townsend, and Pigeon Forge and wouldn’t take much longer than 20 minutes to get to from any of the areas or our Townsend Bed and Breakfast.   Note the directions on the map below, bypass Pigeon Forge traffic and the traffic at the main entrance by taking a back route.  We can get you tickets that are “two days for the price of one.”

The rides run the whole gamut from an award winning wooden roller coaster to whole sections devoted to small kids.  A lot of the rides are water based, so wear comfortable clothing and plan on getting a little wet.

Dollywood has over a dozen venues for live music and you could spend the entire day going from one show to the next.  They specialize in bluegrass, country, mountain and gospel music, but one of my favorite shows is a 50’s revue.

There are ongoing crafts demonstrations featuring glass blowing, woodcarving and blacksmithing.  In October, the park fills with another 100 vendors selling their crafts and this is one of five festivals they have throughout the year.  Festivals of Nations is a spring event, March 26 to May 2, 2011, and there is nothing like it when they flip the switch at Christmas, and the lights are twinkling on all the trees in sight.  As a gardener, I have to say, my favorite thing at the park are the grounds.  The gardens are just perfect, every day they are open.

A few years ago, Dolly built Splash Country, a water theme park that you could spend the whole day at and not come close to experiencing the entire thing.  There are over a dozen different areas, some with names like Mountain Scream, Raging River Rapids, Slick Rock Racer and Big Bear Plunge.  The Cascades is an 8,000 sq foot lagoon style pool, featuring more than 25 interactive elements.  Mountain Waves is a 25,000 sq foot wave pool, if you want to experience the ocean and not leave the mountains!

Both attractions have plenty of places to eat and shops for souvenir hunters.  Check their schedules for days and hours open.