New $37 million, 11-attraction section opens at Dollywood

J. H. Osborne • May 11, 2019 at 11:20 AM

PIGEON FORGE — Dolly Parton officially opened Wildwood Grove, the largest expansion in Dollywood’s history, on Friday. Parton shared with reporters the inspiration and dreams that led to the creation of Wildwood Grove, calling the area the new standard for Dollywood.

“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 into the woods or how fun it would be to hitch a ride with the butterflies and dragonflies,” Parton said. “All us kids would splash and play in the creeks and ponds around home and have these daydreams about the world around us. ... 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.”

Some key points

• The Wildwood Tree will come to life each evening during a unique nighttime experience beginning June 15. The Wildwood Tree features nearly 650 lighted butterflies (orange, blue, yellow, pink and multicolored) and almost 9,000 leaves.

• Dragonflier — This suspended roller coaster, 1,486 feet in length, 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. (Metallbau Emmeln Pony Trek)

• Great Tree Swing — Guests aboard this thrilling “leaf boat” swing back and forth just like a leaf falling from a giant sycamore.

• Treetop Tower — This family-friendly 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 experience by moving a sail as the birds rush above the ground.

• Frogs & Fireflies — Adventurous guests can hop aboard one of these friendly frogs as they chase each other in a spirited race around the lily pad.

• Hidden Hollow — This 4,000-square-foot, climate-controlled area allows families to explore and play in an indoor environment.

• Wildwood Creek features pop jets, splashing pools and more wet play activities, while the dry play area at Wildwood Creek features “music instruments” for guests to enjoy.

• Three new costume characters call Wildwood Grove home. Flit and Flutter serve as Wildwood Grove’s ambassadors and Benjamin Bear loves to make new friends. Characters will have scheduled opportunities to meet guests each day.

• The menu at Till & Harvest, expected to open near Memorial Day, “provides the perfect blend of Smoky Mountain flavors and fresh Mexican cuisine.” It features build-your-own style entrees such as burritos, bowls, salads and nachos all filled with wood-fired meats, fresh vegetables and flavorful sauces. Till & Harvest also provides a spacious open-air patio for families to enjoy the sights and sounds of Wildwood Grove while they enjoy their meal.