The latest word in Tennessee's tourist circles is that Dolly Parton's gone wild. Well, wild as in Wildwood Grove, the latest expansion to Dolly Parton's amusement park Dollywood. Slated to open in 2019, with a price tag of roughly $37 million with a million of that dedicated strictly to landscaping, Wildwood Grove will be among the more organic attractions once completed. The new section will boast more than 1,400 trees and shrubs for starters.
The centerpiece of the forthcoming grove will be a 55-foot high Wildwood tree, decked out in kaleidoscopic finery with multi-colored leaves and butterflies that light up in the evening. Not only is it the expansion area's star attraction, the tree is reportedly designed to reflect and symbolize Parton's heartfelt and idyllic vision of the Great Smoky Mountains nearby and the picturesque splendor of the surrounding forests.
An Appalachian vibe is supposed to permeate throughout the new area, starting with a giant hollow log that serves as a portal connecting Wildwood Grove to the rest of Dollywood. Wildwood Grove will feature a variety of unique rides that are in line with Parton's vision.
Tennessee's state feathered friend will be symbolized in the Mad Mocking Bird ride, which is supposed to aeronautically circle a tree at speeds that riders can control. The Treetop Tower has visitors boarding giant acorns that elevate to an oak treetop, enabling them to get a full view of the park from high up.
Ground-level rides consist of the Black Bear Trail, where patrons can view the forest on the back of an artificial bear, and the Sycamore Swing, a boat ride on a leaf-shaped vessel. Frogs and Fireflies, a ride where guest can chase each other on the backs of frogs; and The Dragon Flier, in which the colorful insect becomes the premise for the expansion site's new rollercoaster ride.
Additional amusements include a Hidden Hollow playground complete with slides and the splash park dubbed Wildwood Creek. Even though construction is still going on, the park is already taking limited time advance ticket orders, with presale incentives including discounts and payment plans for as low as $14 a month.