We recently got the amazing opportunity to go to Dollywood in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee! My husband and I had been as kids, but this was the first time we were able to take our children! They of course had no idea what to expect, considering they had never been anywhere like this before!
When we walked through the gates I could see their eyes light up! My son said, "this place is huge!"
There's so much to do and there's something for everyone! We of course focused on the 5-7 age range for things to do! But, there's so much more!!
First stop, the 50's themed "Retro Village." It was like taking a step back through time!
They had diners, old gas stations and our kids favorite thing....driving the "mini" old cars!
Next stop (and probably one of the highlights of our trip), the Dollywood Express! This steam locomotive left nothing to the imagination. We toured through Dollywood passing the towering roller-coasters and the beautiful wooded scenery.
*These aren't the best pictures, but I took them as we were riding!
About the train
It runs along a 2.5 mile loop-to-loop track from the Village to the top of the mountain Dollywood borders to the north. It is pulled by two ex-White Pass & Yukon Route2-8-2 mikado steam locomotives, each burning five tons of coal each day. It is the oldest attraction in Dollywood, opening at the theme park "Rebel Railroad" in 1961. It is also one of the signature attractions at Dollywood, appearing in almost all advertising.
The lights during Christmas are out of this world! I can't even begin to describe how many lights were displayed all around the park. They were seriously everywhere! This one was taking as we were crossing the bridge just before dark!
Here's another one to give you an idea of how the trees and buildings were lit up. The pictures do not do them justice!
Before we closed out the night, we got to explore "Chasing Rainbows." A museum of Dolly Pardon's awards, dresses and many highlights of her career. If you're a Dolly fan, this is a must! I'm amazed at all that she has accomplished and achieved in her career.
For the grand finale, the "Parade of Lights" parade! We sipped hot chocolate and ate sweet treats as we watched the parade stroll by!! Featuring Christmas floats with brightly colored lights and fun Holiday characters (including Rudolph) and of course Santa brought up the rear! This of course was another amazing highlight for our kids!! But, who doesn't love a parade? All ages can enjoy this nightly parade held during the Holiday season!
We also got to meet Rudolph and his friends at Rudolph's Holly Jolly Junction! The kids even got to have their picture made with them!! We even saw a few "Big Kids" (adults) joining in the reindeer fun!!
If you have the time, plan to take an entire day at the least, but definitely 2 days to get everything in! The park is huge and we definitely didn't get to cover everything! But, we can't wait to go back to explore more!
To read more about Dollywood and visiting during the Holiday season view my previous post here.