Dollywood Announces $37 Million Expansion Called 'Wildwood Grove'

'Wildwood Tree' Will Feature Glowing Butterflies

PIGEON FORGE, Tenn. - A large expansion with new rides and attractions has been announced at Dollywood.

The announcement Friday came from Dolly Parton and park officials. The new section of the park, named Wildwood Grove, is the largest capital investment in the park’s 32-year history.

According to park officials, Wildwood Grove has been planned to provide “an adventurous journey for guests to explore, imagine, and play together as a family.”

The expansion will include 11 new experiences from rides to a 55-foot tall Wildwood Tree. There will be a suspended family roller coaster called “The Dragonflier,” various play areas, and a new restaurant.

The Dollywood Company committed to investing $300 million over a ten-year period, and with the $37 million cost of the Wildwood Grove project, they met that commitment four years ahead of schedule.

“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,” Parton said. “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!”

Wildwood Grove will be a place for families to explore and imagine together.

Guests will enter Wildwood Grove through the massive hollow trunk of a fallen tree. Then, spotting the Wildwood Tree, families will see a tree unlike any other, according to park officials.

The tree will serve as the centerpiece, offering a platform for performances and a nighttime light show. The tree will be adorned with thousands of butterflies that glow.

“I think our guests are going to be excited about the diverse combination of attractions they will find in Wildwood Grove,” Dollywood Company President Craig Ross said. “It continues our commitment to provide guests a variety of unique experiences and attractions that every visitor to the park can enjoy. We’ve also incorporated many of their requests for certain amenities that help make their visit more enjoyable. In Wildwood Grove, you’ll find more charging stations, a climate-controlled indoor space for play, larger respite locations, additional play areas which are more inclusive for everyone, and more entertainment opportunities for every member of the family."

The following new rides will be found in Wildwood Grove (descriptions provided by park officials):

  • The 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 these friendly bears for a spirited trek through their natural habitat. Families will enjoy meandering through the woods of this unique Smoky Mountain experience.
  • Sycamore Swing— Guests aboard this thrilling “leaf boat” swing back and forth just 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 gently drifting back to the grove floor.
  • The Mad Mockingbird— Tennessee’s state bird—the mockingbird—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 and Fireflies—These friendly frogs hop up and down as they chase each other around the lily pad trying to catch the flickering fireflies fluttering from the tall reeds and grasses. Adventurous guests can hop aboard for this riveting race.

Wildwood Grove has been slated to open in 2019. Learn more by visiting Dollywood online.

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