So, we did a thing here at Dollywood today, or rather Dolly did. She opened a little land called Wildwood Grove. Have you heard of it? And really, as I’m sure many of you know, it’s not a little land at all. Years of planning, months of hard work and $37 million later, Dolly and our Dollywood family finally got to welcome our guests to the grove!
The Wildwood Tree is the centerpiece of the grove, and your eyes are drawn to it the moment you step out of the fallen log. Hundreds of colorful, lighted butterflies (this is Dollywood of course), play in the tree’s 9,000 leaves. Starting in June, the tree will come to life each and every night with a spectacular nighttime experience—so you’ll have to come back in June, too!
Now, what would a new land at Dollywood be without new rides? Well, we have six family-focused rides for you in Wildwood Grove. Dragonflier is Dollywood’s ninth coaster and is what’s known as a suspended family coaster. This means you are in a vehicle that hangs below the track. Now, don’t let the word ‘family’ make you think that this isn’t an exciting coaster for all ages. Even the most experienced thrill seekers will find themselves gripping the handlebars and maybe even letting out a scream as Dragonflier dips and darts along the gushing geysers toward the lush landscape of the grove. (And speaking of landscape, Wildwood Grove has more than 400 trees and 2,300 shrubs creating a beautiful, but natural atmosphere to enjoy. As the landscaping continues to mature and grow, the visual appeal of the area will only increase.)
Now, for you parents out there who have been asking for a climate-controlled space to take a breather, Hidden Hollow just might be your new favorite place. This indoor play area is air conditioned in the summer and heated in the winter, providing the perfect retreat. Once inside, the kids can explore the play structure, complete with slides and plenty of spaces to explore, all while you take a moment (or several) to relax on one of the couches. There are also several shade structures throughout Wildwood Grove to enjoy when you’re looking to escape the sun outside.
Other rides and experiences include:
- Black Bear Trail— Riders hop on the back of these friendly bears for a spirited trek through their natural habitat.
- Great Tree 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 & Fireflies— Adventurous guests can hop aboard one of these friendly frogs as they chase each other in a spirited race around the lily pad.
- 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.
At some point during the day the kids, or the adults, are going to get hungry. Wildwood Grove’s new restaurant is called Till & Harvest. The new eatery won’t open until later this summer (just another reason to come back), but it will be well worth the wait. The menu is a build-your-own entrée concept featuring burritos, bowls, salads and nachos all filled with wood-fired meats, fresh vegetables and flavorful sauces. But, until Till & Harvest opens, you can enjoy a variety of concessions throughout the land.
And if souvenirs are your thing (because who doesn’t love an awesome coffee mug or shirt) Mountain Grove Merchants is your one-stop-shop for the perfect gift or souvenir to celebrate your adventure in Wildwood Grove.
Wildwood Grove is a spectacular addition to our beloved Dollywood, and we are so incredibly excited that we can now share it with all of you. So, let imagination guide you and come explore, play and create new memories here in the grove.