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Dollywood: Tennessee's Down-Home Theme Park

May 22, 2008
Dollywood is a 125-acre theme park owned by and named after entertainer Dolly Parton. Located in Pigeon Forge, Dollywood is the second top tourist attraction in Tennessee after the nearby Great Smoky Mountains National Park and is visited by thousands of people each day. It is one of the best kept secrets when it comes to theme parks and is staking its claim as being one of the top parks in the nation by expanding with bigger and bigger rides and adding the 30-acre Splash Country water park next door.

This Tennessee theme park is a more laid back style park and is a great place for the whole family. It hosts annual art and music festivals, offers daily live music shows and offers more than 40 rides and attractions, including roller coasters, water rides and numerous other family-oriented attractions. Guests can revisit the past and enjoy the famous craftsman demonstrations and shops in Craftsman's Valley as well as enjoy the Eagle Mountain Sanctuary, which houses the country's largest collection of non-releasable bald eagles.

The park is organized into eight themed areas:

1. "Showstreet" is the introductory area of the park that features several shops and eateries, including The Sweet Shoppe and the Liberty Gift Shop. Guests can also take in live shows at the Showstreet Palace and Dolly Parton Theatre or visit the Southern Gospel Museum and Hall of Fame.

2. "Timber Canyon" is a mine camp themed area of the park that features the "Mystery Mine" coaster and the award-winning 'Thunderhead" roller coaster. It also features the rotating, tilting tower ride, "Timber Tower", which is the only ride of its kind in the US. Other attractions include the "Lumberjack Lift" cable-pull ride and the new "River Battle" water ride that features onboard water soakers to shoot other passengers and nearby targets. "Timber Canyon" also includes "Lil' Loggers Landing" which features a multi-level play structure with climbing walls, slides and interactive features.

3. "Adventures in Imagination" features the "Smoky Mountain Wilderness Adventure Tour" indoor attraction and the Dolly Parton "Chasing Rainbows" museum.

4. "Jukebox Junction" is a realistic 50's area where guests can enjoy a show at the Pines Theatre or take an antique car ride at the "Rockin' Roadway".

5. "Rivertown Junction" features a replica of Dolly's childhood "Smoky Mountain Home" as well as a host of arts and craft stores. Guests can visit stores like "Mountain Slate Works" and "The Old Mill's Pigeon River Pottery" or watch hand-blown glass being made at the "Rainbow Glass Blowing Factory".

6. "Country Fair" area includes a variety of carnival rides, including the "Dizzy Disk","Scrambler" and the "Waltzing Swinger" swings. It also features "Dolly's Demolition Derby" bumper cars, "Shooting Star" tower drop and the "Wonder Wheel" Ferris wheel. "Country Fair" is home to several kiddie rides that include "Piggy Parade", "Busy Bees", "Lucky Ducky" and the "Amazing Flying Elephants". Other tame rides include the "Sky Rider" plane ride, "Lemon Twist" teacup ride and the "VeggieTales Sideshow Spin" kiddie coaster.

7. "The Village" is home to the Heartsong Theatre and the David Tallent Comedy Magic Show. Guests can also ride the "Village Carousel" or take a five-mile tour around the park on the "Dollywood Express" steam engine.

8. "Craftsman's Valley" is one of the oldest and largest areas of Dollywood and includes the "Tennessee Tornado" steel coaster and the "Blazing Fury" indoor coaster. It features over a dozen authentic crafters demonstrating and explaining their crafts, including soap making, blacksmiths, candle making and woodcarving. "Craftsman's Valley" also includes the Palace Theatre, the Robert F. Thomas Chapel and the Calico Falls Schoolhouse. The Eagle Mountain Sanctuary bald eagle aviary can also be found here.

Dollywood is open from March through December with varying operating hours. Crowds are largest during festivals with May through September being the busiest months and crowds also grow during December due to the parks Christmas celebration. It is usually not very busy during the last few hours before closing so if you've allotted one day to visit, you can also go the night before to enjoy the parks many attractions without the long lines.

Dollywood is a clean and entertaining park that offers great southern food along with excellent rides and entertainment. It also features wonderful and friendly employees who are genuinely interested in making sure that each guest feels welcome and has a great experience at the park. Be sure to make Dollywood a part of your next Tennessee vacation.
About the Author
Kelley Falgout is the publisher of www.FamilyThemeParkVacations.com, a vacation planning tool and continuously growing database of all theme parks, amusement parks and water parks located across the United States. Click here to get your free copy of the Orlando Theme Parks Vacation Guide and start planning your next Family Theme Park Vacation.
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