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Dollywood officially opens $37m Wildwood Grove expansion

wildwood grove

Dollywood has officially opened the $37 million Wildwood Grove, the largest expansion in the park’s history.

Dolly Parton opened the new land, with 11 thrilling new experiences, calling it “the new standard for Dollywood”.

At $37m, Wildwood Grove is Dollywood’s largest capital investment ever and is the first new area added to the attraction since Wilderness Pass in 2008.

Wildwood Grove features new rides, including a suspended roller coaster, a ‘leaf boat’ swing, a ‘Black Bear Trail’ and ‘Treetop Tower’, and the breathtaking Wildwood Tree.

“When I was a little girl growing up in the hills of the Smoky Mountains, I’d often let my imagination just run away – something I still do now – dreaming these big dreams about what it’d be like to venture off with a family of bears in to the woods or how fun it would be to hitch a ride with the butterflies and dragonflies,” Parton said.

dollywood wildwood grove

“All us kids would splash and play in the creeks and ponds around home and have these daydreams about the world around us, and that’s what’s so special about Wildwood Grove. We’ve been able to create a new area to allow families to experience some of those exact dreams we all had when we were little.

“Wildwood Grove is so special to me because so many of the same daydreams and imaginations from my childhood have now found a perfect place at my Dollywood. I hope families will enjoy laughing, playing and exploring together in this great new place that truly does feel like home for me.”

dollywood wildwood grove

Everything you need to know about Wildwood Grove

  • The Wildwood Tree, with nearly 650 lighted butterflies and nearly 9000 leaves, comes to life every evening during a nighttime experience, starting June 15.
  • Dragonflier: This thrilling suspended roller coaster lets guests soar with a dragonfly as it dips and darts along the gushing geysers and lush landscape of Wildwood Grove.
  • Black Bear Trail: Riders hop on the back of friendly bears for a trek through their natural habitat.
  • Great Tree Swing: Guests aboard this ‘leaf boat’ swing back and forth, like a leaf falling from a giant sycamore tree.
  • Treetop Tower: This family tower gives guests a sky-high view of Wildwood Grove as they soar nearly 40 feet in the air. Riders, seated inside giant acorns, spin around the top of a tall oak tree before drifting to the ground.
  • The Mad Mockingbird: Tennessee’s state bird, the mockingbird-themed ride gives visitors a lift as it flies in a high-speed circle around a tall tree. Riders control their ride experience by moving a sail as the birds rush above the ground.
  • Frogs & Fireflies: Adventurous guests can ride one of these friendly frogs as they chase each other in a race around the lily pad.
  • Hidden Hollow: A climate-controlled indoor area for families to explore and play.
  • Wildwood Creek features pop jets, splashing pools and more wet play activities, while the dry play area includes ‘music instruments’ for guests to enjoy.
  • Three new costume characters call Wildwood Grove home – Benjamin Bear, and Flit and Flutter.

dollywood wildwood grove



Wildwood Grove’s new merchandise and F&B

Till & Harvest, which is expected to open around Memorial Day, blends Smoky Mountain flavours with fresh Mexican cuisine. Mountain Grove Merchants is the one-stop-shop for gifts or souvenirs.

“Without doubt, this is one of the most exciting days in the history of our company,” Dollywood Company President, Craig Ross, explained.

“It is rare in our industry that a park adds a completely new land in its entirety, and as we continue to grow and set attendance records, we needed to add more area to give guests more room to spread out and explore,” he continued.

dollywood wildwood grove

“Additionally, we were able to take many of Dolly’s childhood dreams and create experiences that are uniquely Smoky Mountain-themed and really help tell the story of this beautiful area.

“I know our guests will be thrilled with the great diversity of attractions they will be able to enjoy when they visit Wildwood Grove. We’re extremely proud of the fact that there are experiences here that every member of the family will love and enjoy.”

Images: Dollywood

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Bea Mitchell

Bea is a journalist specialising in entertainment, attractions and tech with 10 years' experience. She has written and edited for publications including CNET, BuzzFeed, Digital Spy, Evening Standard and BBC. Bea graduated from King's College London and has an MA in journalism.

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