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Family Vacations: Pigeon Forge and Dollywood

Pigeon Forge is filled with the kind of flashy family fun that kids love. From miniature golf, go-carts, and bumper boats to waterslides, laser games, and an indoor skydiving flight simulator, the attractions can keep the family busy for days. But the biggest draws are Dollywood and its neighboring water park, Dollywood's Splash Country.

Graceland has Elvis, and Dollywood has Dolly Parton. As a result of its affiliation with this favorite celebrity from Tennessee, Dollywood has grown into one of the nation's most popular theme parks. It is packed with more than 30 rides and attractions, including wooden roller coasters and rides with names such as the Smoky Mountain River Rampage and the Tennessee Tornado. Master craftspeople demonstrate old-time crafts such as glassblowing and blacksmithing around the park each day.

Shows feature the best bluegrass, Southern gospel, country, and mountain music you'll find in the area. Families that visit in the summer will enjoy KidsFest, a summer-long celebration with special activities and entertainment just for children.

Dollywood's Splash Country is a 30-acre water park open in the summer. The fun includes the multilevel Bear Mountain Fire Tower, Big Bear Plunge (a white-water rafting ride), three play areas, a 25,000-square-foot wave pool, and 23 water slides.

Pigeon Forge and Dollywood Information

Address: 1020 Dollywood Ln., Pigeon Forge, TN

Phone: 800/251-9100

Hours of Operation: Dates and hours vary by season. Call ahead for more information.

Admission: $47.95 adults; $36.80 kids

To learn more about family vacation destinations, see:

  • Family Vacations: Learn about hundreds of family vacations in destinations all over North America.
  • Tennessee State Guide: Learn more about the many family-friendly activities in Tennessee.
  • Scenic Drives:For those who think that getting there is half the fun, we have compiled more than 100 of the most scenic drives throughout the country.


Laura Sutherland is a widely acknowledged authority on family travel and has published several books on the topic, including Best Family Ski Vacations In North America and Tropical Family Vacations.