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Amusement Park Spotlight: Dollywood in Tennessee

In Tennessee, country music star Dolly Partonís theme park, Dollywood, is the most popular amusement park in the state. The park has rides, shopping, dining, and crafts. I like that families can expose their children to some of the traditional crafts in the South that they might not see every day. The park has wagon makers, glass blowers, woodcarvers, and leatherworkers. Take your children to the park and give them the opportunity to see goods as they are being made. Encourage your children to ask questions, and you can plan ahead by reading about the craftsmen on the Dollywood site before you go.

The park also has a thrilling rides, including water coasters, rides for the entire family, and rides that are designed for younger children. Thrill-seekers might want to try the park's Thunderhead rollercoaster. It features a 100-foot fall and reaches speeds of up to 55 mph.

Call me a scary cat, but Iíve never been too keen on high rides. I love to watch a good show, though! If you are like me, maybe your family would be interested in watching a musical show, Dreamland Drive-In, which tells the story of a romance in a drive-in diner. The accompanying music is from the 1950ís and 1960ís. Dollywood has several other musical shows, including a Dolly Parton tribute show.

Hungry? If you and your family like Southern food, you'll probably find dishes that you'll crave at Dollywood. There's an all you can eat buffet and plenty of other restaurant and fast food choices for your group.

Does your family enjoy water rides? You are in luck. Dollywood has a few water rides to cool you off during hot weather. You'll find Daredevil Falls, Mountain Slidewinder, Smoky Mountain Rampage and River Battle.

Interested in taking your family to Dollywood? Hereís how you get there. Dollywood is about 35 miles southeast of Knoxville. If you are driving in the area, you can take I-40, and take exit 407 toward Pigeon Forge. Next, take highway 66 south, which turns into U.S. 441. When you arrive in Pigeon Forge, make a left at the eighth traffic light. Have your children or friends count them down! Follow the signs to 1020 Dollywood Lane. The closest airport is probably the Knoxville McGhee Tyson Airport, a small airport about 24 miles away. The closest major airport is the Charlotte Douglas Airport in North Carolina.

The park is open from March thru December. There are actually a few festivals held in December, which could be a fun winter trip for the family. Check the calendar on the site for opening and closing times.

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