Dollywood

Dollywood is a theme park owned by entertainer Dolly Parton and Herschend Family Entertainment. It is located in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee. Dollywood has 3,000 people on its payroll, making it the largest employer in that community.

In addition to standard amusement park thrill rides, Dollywood features traditional crafts and music of the Smoky Mountains area. Dollywood also owns the adjacent Dollywood's Splash Country, and the chain of Dixie Stampede dinner theaters. The park hosts a number of concerts and musical events each year, including appearances by Parton and her family, as well as other national and local musical acts.

Dollywood hosts 2.5 million guests in a typical season, as of 2009, up from 1.3 million visitors in 1986, when the park opened on the site of Silver Dollar City theme park. As of 2010, the park was the biggest "ticketed" tourist attraction in Tennessee each year for more than a decade. Parton attributes much of the success of the park to its location close to Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Since (as of 2010) 88 percent of tourists in Tennessee drive rather than fly, the economic impact of a large tourist attraction like Dollywood helps the economy in that region of the state, according to Susan Whitaker, the state tourism development commissioner. The theme park's operating season runs from early spring until around Christmas.

Dollywood is also the site of the Southern Gospel Museum and Hall of Fame, sponsored by the Southern Gospel Music Association, an independent non-profit corporation.

Parton said in 2010 that she would like to open more Dollywood parks in the future. "We definitely want to expand with new things every year, eventually with a resort," she said. "We may eventually have Dollywoods in other parts of the country, where we can kind of be true to whatever's going on in that part of the world."

Read more about DollywoodHistory, Areas of The Park, Festivals, Timeline

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