Dollywood, Tennessee, is expanding with Wildwood Grove – the largest capital investment in Dollywood’s 32-year history, slated to open in 2019.
The new land features 11 experiences for guests, including six new rides. There will be a suspended family roller coaster called The Dragonflier, the 55 foot tall Wildwood Tree, live entertainment, various indoor and outdoor play areas for families, a new restaurant, and more. The total cost for the project is $37m, meeting The Dollywood Company’s 2013 commitment of $300 million in investments over a 10 year period four years ahead of schedule.
The adventure begins as guests enter Wildwood Grove through the massive hollow trunk of a fallen tree serving as the centerpiece of the area. It grows from a cluster of natural rock and boulders, and offers a natural platform for performances throughout the day and night. The leafy canopy is adorned with thousands of butterflies, and as the sun sinks in the sky, Wildwood Grove will glow as lanterns and lights glimmer like fireflies.
Six new attractions include the Dragonflier, a 453m long Vekoma suspended roller coaster that lets guests dip and dart like a dragonfly along the geysers and lush landscape. On Black Bear Trail, a Metallbau Emmeln Pony Trek, riders hop on the back of bears for a trek through their natural habitat. Guests aboard Sycamore Swing, a Galleon by Zamperla, will swing back and forth from a giant sycamore tree. A Zamperla Samba Tower, Treetop Tower, gives guests a sky-high view of Wildwood Grove as they soar nearly 12m in the air. The Mad Mockingbird is a Flying Scooter from Larson International that gives visitors a lift as it flies in a high circle around a tall tree, allowing riders to control their ride experience by moving a sail. On Frogs and Fireflies, a Zamperla Jump Around, the frogs hop up and down and chase each other around the lily pad, trying to catch the flickering fireflies.
Play options abound inside Wildwood Grove, with Hidden Hollow, a 372sqm indoor play space that provides a climate-controlled area for families looking to recharge before their next big adventure. With climbing structures, slides and multiple games, playtime here is full of exploration. Additionally, Wildwood Creek hosts numerous pop jets, splashing pools and more. There, guests also can discover their musical side thanks to the various instruments available to play.
“I’ve told you before about how I’d let my imagination roam free when I’d be out exploring in the hills around our home in the Smoky Mountains. I’d pretend that the frogs and butterflies were my friends. I’d imagine about what it’d be like to fly with a dragonfly or to follow a bear family through the woods. Now all these things are coming true for our guests to experience in Wildwood Grove.
It may be my new favorite part of Dollywood. This area is going to give families a place to explore, play and imagine together, but more importantly, it’s a place where they can spend more time together. I believe everyone has a song in their heart that needs to be set free. Wildwood Grove will be a place where families can learn together about what their heart song truly is.”
– Dolly Parton