Editor’s Note: Information updated 5/24/22
I think many parents will agree with me—you gotta do what you gotta do to keep your sanity when you have a baby in the house. In my case that means getting out of the house frequently, and my 3-year-old is grateful that we still enjoy outings! From experience, I can tell you that visiting Dollywood IS possible with a baby in tow. Does the thought of taking on a theme park with a wee one make you nervous? Here’s what I can share with you about our park:
Babies require no admission. You don’t need to purchase a ticket until your child is 4 years old. (And, at that point you should check out the Pre-K Imagination Pass!) This is a great phase to take it slow and get the lay of the land. Enjoy Dollywood’s atmosphere and some of the things you may miss when you’re running to and from rides and shows.
Yes, there is a security screening area as you enter the park. And, yes, outside food is not allowed—BUT, babies are different. Take heart, mama. You may bring what you need for your babes: puffs, milk, formula, baby food, etc. Dollywood understands that tiny humans have specific needs. Have no fear.
While Dollywood does offer stroller rentals, I would suggest you bring your own if you have a baby with you. The strollers you can rent are designed for older children. You can choose either a single or double stroller.
But, my 8-month-old looks pretty comfortable in his own wheels, doesn’t he? I look forward to when he’s bigger, we can rent the double and tote the boys together.
What can babies “do” at Dollywood? Because my little boy is able to sit up independently, he can ride Piggy Parade, Busy Bees and Lucky Ducky. I strapped him in next to his big brother with instructions for big brother to take good care of his bro. But, in case you’re on the fence, I’ve seen parents climb into these rides just to be sure all is well.
Rockin’ Roadway is another Dollywood classic. If your baby can sit up, the hosts will provide a cushion for your child to sit on and he/she can drive you around the loop! My boys LOVE it. They enjoy the steering wheel—good thing there’s a track that keeps the car on the path (haha)—and the horn, and cruising with the breeze in your face.
Frogs & Fireflies is a do-not-miss in Wildwood Grove. It doesn’t have a minimum height requirement, and I’ll admit I even enjoy riding it. Plus, as your children grow, Wildwood Grove has several other rides that are for children 36 inches tall.
If you have a baby who isn’t able to sit up yet, you can ride with them on the Dollywood Express and Village Carousel. On the train you will hold your baby as you enjoy the ride, and on the carousel, I recommend you look for bench seats (called chariots) so you can do the same thing. My kiddo was fascinated with the movement of his horse.
When your wee one needs to get some wiggles out, Dollywood has room for them to run and play. Look for Granny’s Garden, Lil’ Pilots Playground, Firehouse Fun Yard, Wildwood Creek and (our favorite) Hidden Hollow, which is an indoor playground.
In this season, I know that my children are loud. (I hope it’s a season and not their personalities, but who knows!) So my strategy for seeing shows is to grab a seat near the exit when I want to see a show inside a theater. But, what works better for us right now is to enjoy the outdoor shows where we can dance around and be silly in the back.
Taking Care of Business
When I need to nurse or change a diaper, I love the Baby Care Centers. You can escape the elements and sit down for a few minutes. I’ve both pumped and nursed in these rooms and the setup is what you need to get the job done.
I understand how hard it can be to get everyone out the door and loaded in the car when you have a young family, but once you get to Dollywood I believe you’ll agree it’s worth the trip!