You’re headed to Dollywood! This entertainment destination highlights the history of legendary singer Dolly Parton and her legacy. A beautiful, 150-acre amusement park immersed in the natural beauty of Pigeon Forge, Tennessee. Here are some interesting facts about Dollywood that you may not be aware of.
It Wasn’t Always Called Dollywood
When the theme park opened in 1961, the current Dollywood was owned by the Robbins Brothers and was called Rebel Railroad. It operated as such until 1970, when it was bought and renamed Goldrush Junction. Visitors continued to flock to the destination, fascinated by the Smoky Mountain way of life. In 1977, it was purchased by Jack and Pete Herschend and was again renamed, this time to Silver Dollar City.
It wasn’t until 1986 that Dolly and the Herschend brothers joined forces. With her entertainment expertise and world-wide fame, and their consistent growth and experience with the theme park business, Dollywood was born and became the sensational vacation destination it is today. In Dollywood’s first year, they experienced a 75% increase in visitors, and continue to attract families from all over the country to experience this gem in the Smoky Mountains.
You Won’t Catch Dolly On Any Rides
Enjoy all the thrill rides you’d like, but don’t expect to see Dolly onboard. She has publicly stated that she doesn’t enjoy the rush of the roller coasters because she suffers from motion sickness, as her father did. She says, “I am the same way. I have motion sickness. I could never ride some of these rides. I used to get sick on the school bus.”
The Coal Engines in Dollywood Were Used in World War II
Klondike Katie and Cinderella, two coal-powered steam engines that rumble through Dollywood were once used to transport troops and lumber in Alaska during World War II. Now you can enjoy a five-mile ride around the park in the steam engines, and see everything Dollywood has to offer. Only one steam engine runs at a time, so depending on when you visit, you’ll either ride the Cinderella or Klondike Katie!
Dolly’s Feathered Friends
There are a number of feathered friends that call Dollywood home, including several bald eagles, a raven, and an owl. The Eagle Mountain Sanctuary is an incredible up close and personal experience with America’s National bird, all for a wonderful cause. Due to their ailments that threaten the natural abilities that help them survive, they are medically unreleasable back into the wild. These smart birds can be seen playing with their toys and showing off for visitors within their enclosure, as they are cared for by members of the American Eagle Foundation.
The Park Holds Church Service on Sundays
Talk about having everything you need in one place. The Robert F. Thomas Chapel—named after the doctor who delivered Dolly—is a quaint one-room country church that fills with families every Sunday for worship service during the regular park season. Immerse yourself spiritually in the environment where it all started for Dolly, singing in the church choir.
Join us for Dollywood’s opening day on March 16th, 2019 and experience the Festival of Nations. This annual event is a month-long celebration of the most exciting entertainment and delicious food from around the world. Explore the brand new Wildwood Grove, an enchanting expansion of the park inspired by nature and the Great Smoky Mountains – opening this season! We can’t wait to see you there!
For the next time you and the family visit Dollywood, check out our list of 5 things you might have missed on your last visit!
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