Dollywood theme park was opened in 1986 in Pigeon Forge, TN by Dolly Parton. Dolly famous as an entertainer in the music and film industry was originally from the Sevier County, TN area and her love of the area is represented through the history of Dollywood. The land that Dollywood is located on had already been long known and enjoyed as a theme park formerly known as Silver Dollar City.
As of 2011 Dollywood hosts over 3 million guests continually increasing from 2.5 million guests in a typical season, as of 2009, up from 1.3 million visitors in 1986. It is an amusement park that entertains guest of all ages from toddlers, teens to grandparents and is definitely a family friendly experience with a true Smoky Mountain Heritage experience. If you are looking for thrill rides there is a great selection of roller coasters that will impress those with a love for excitement and speed. And the smaller thrill seekers will be just as happy with all the park has to keep them busy with the Country Fair area having most rides with the minimum height requirement.
With Dolly’s talent in music it is a natural fit that she made music a large part of entertainment in Dollywood as well. With many styles of musical shows as entertainment in the park it is Southern Gospel that is the primary focus. Not only is Dollywood know for the great Southern Gospel shows that you will find it is also the site to the Southern Gospel Museum and Hall of Fame, sponsored by the Southern Gospel Music Association. With several theaters throughout the park ranging from intimate
The Smoky Mountains is also known for the art and crafts created and this is a prime spot to see it in action, and to shop for a piece of the art to take with you. In Craftsman Valley and you will find items often made on-site where you can catch a glimpse of the artist in action if your timing is good. With many of the crafts being made while on-site lets you not only watch some being made but also gives you an opportunity to have items customized or let you be hands on yourself. With a wide assortment from candles, jewelry, blown-glass, carved wood, leather and iron crafts the Smoky Mountain Heritage of arts and crafts is widely represented at Dollywood.
Dollywood is open from mid-March through January first annually. The hours and days of operation vary with the season. Each season at Dollywood has become known for each of the festivals held: The Festival of Nations in the Spring; Kids Fest in the Summer; Barbeque & Bluegrass and then National Southern Gospel & Harvest Celebration in the Fall; and Smoky Mountain Christmas in late November through January. When planning your Smoky Mountain vacation you can view hours of operation and special events by going to the Dollywood website.