Location: Pigeon Forge, TN
Are you looking for a down home, backwoods thrill of a lifetime, but aren’t sure where to look? We have the answer for you and it very well could be one of the most beautiful and friendly parks that you will ever go to. We are of course talking about Dollywood in the Great Smoky Mountain in Tennessee. Dollywood is a true theme park as extreme thrill rides and attraction are not all the park has to offer. The park is full of live entertainment, outstanding food, and shops that will keep you busy for a week. The history of the park and where it started may be a shock to you, but where the park is at now is nothing but a stroke of genius.
The park first opened in 1961 as a small tourist attraction that was inspired by the Civil War. The Robin brothers from North Carolina wanted to take advantage of the vacation destination in the Great Smoky Mountains and decided to put a railroad attraction called Rebel Railroad in the area. The park consisted of a steam engine train, blacksmith, shops, and a saloon which were all themed after a Confederate town during the Civil War. In 1970 the park was purchased by Cleveland Browns owner Art Modell. He changed the name of the park to Goldrush Junction. The park operated for 6 more years until Jack and Peter Herschend purchased the park in 1976 and began to turn the park into a larger attraction. They renamed the park Goldrush, but decided they wanted to make the park like their Silver Dollar City park in Branson, Missouri. In 1977 the park was renamed Silver Dollar City Tennessee and different themed areas began springing up. Each area of the park had different attractions that corresponded with the theme and the attendance was continuing to grow each and every year.
In 1986, famous Country Music artist Dolly Parton became co-owner of the park and the park was renamed Dollywood in her honor.
Attractions, shops, and cabins were added to the park almost every. During Parton’s ownership, the park doubled in size to 150 acres and has seen the introduction to many thrilling rides. One ride that is probably the icon of the park now is the Wild Eagle winged roller coaster. This was one of the first winged coasters and gives a smooth ride to guests in a great scenic atmosphere. The park also includes Mystery Mine and Thunderhead. These are two great coasters that many believe are some of the best of their kind.
Next time you are in the Smoky Mountains and need a day to just relax and get away from life, head into Dollywood where you will be treated like family. You may even forget that you are living in the new millennium.
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