So, you have booked your Pigeon Forge, Tennessee cabin overlooking breathtaking Smoky Mountain views, packed with amenities, and boasting mountain-motif interiors to make you feel right at home in between all your exciting excursions. You may feel like you have done it all in the Smoky Mountains as a repeat visitor: you’ve taken on the whitewater class III and IV rapids of the Pigeon River by raft and kayak or explored the forests on thrilling ziplines, shopped and played for entire days in The Island, visited all the Parkway attractions, and ridden all the rides at Dollywood…until now!
Her glamorous career in country music, acting, and philanthropy may have all began in the 1960s, but Dolly Parton has seemingly yet to slow down. Debuting in 2019, just a little over 3 months away, Dolly has announced the largest addition to her incredibly popular theme park since its opening as Dollywood in 1986. A $37 million investment – Wildwood Grove – brings a slew of new characters, rides, restaurants, and attractions to Dollywood, set to be completed on 5 beautifully manicured acres, with over 400 trees and 1,000 lush plants, connected to the rest of the 150-acre theme park and resort.
Everything You Want to Know About Wildwood Grove
Like a magical scene from the film Ferngully, Dollywood guests enter this new area of the park through a large hollowed-out log and are greeted by a lovely canopy of trees shading the stone walkways and the towering center point of the fantastical land, the majestic Wildwood Tree. Its foliage is filled with brightly colored leaves and hypnotic butterflies as a testament to the inner “heart” of the Great Smoky Mountains and the South.
While the soul-stirring beauty of the tree is immediately visible during the day, guests will want to stick around until sundown to watch the mesmerizing lights of the Wildwood Tree come to life, shimmering in the evening for a show everyone in the family will love. The butterfly “ambassadors” to Wildwood Grove, Flit and Flutter, frequent the Wildwood Tree, telling stories and entertaining guests to their magical home. Guests can also meet other Wildwood natives, Benjamin Bear and Franklin Frog around the park!
Families are in for a rapturous day while flying through the air on giant dragonflies on The Dragon Flier, riding through the forest on the back of a black bear along Black Bear Trail, chasing one another in a game of Frogs and Fireflies, steering their very own flight on The Mad Mocking Bird, and overlooking the park from their seats inside giant acorns 40 feet in the air on Treetop Tower. Sway in the crisp mountain air on a giant “leaf boat” like a bug on a leaf fluttering to the ground on the Sycamore Swing. Each of these new attractions and more are exquisitely designed as a testament to the beauty of the Smoky Mountains and the inspiring adventures of exploring the great outdoors.
Rest for Parents, Fun for Kids
In addition to all the new rides and characters, families are treated to a couple relaxing areas where parents can lounge and kids can play in between all the excitement of The Dragon Flier and Frogs and Fireflies. Inside Hidden Hollow, mom and dad can rest while little ones can explore intricate climbing structures, glide down curvy slides, and challenge themselves at multiple games inside the 4,000-square-foot, climate-controlled indoor play space. Cool off by Wildwood Creek in the numerous splashing pools and serene atmosphere where the kids can find natural “instruments” to play and pop jets to jump around.
Time to Nosh
After an incredible day of rides and attractions, guests are invited to sit down to a delicious meal at the Till & Harvest with a southwest menu and big southern personality. Enjoy burritos, salads, coleslaw, and pulled pork with Southern-style and sweet treats to follow like churros, ice cream, and more!
Dollywood’s opening day is in March. So, while the exact day guests can enter Wildwood Grove through the giant hollow log is not set yet, many speculate the new area to be open in conjunction with Dollywood’s official opening day. Wildwood Grove is also the last big investment set by the park as a part of a 10-year multimillion dollar schedule, and it seems like they are really ending their investment plan with a bang!