These days, celebrities have attached their names to everything from popcorn to perfume, but country music legend Dolly Parton is the only one involved in the waterpark business. She is part-owner of Dollywood’s Splash Country Water Adventure Park in Pigeon Forge, Tenn. Like the star herself, the 35-acre waterpark is a unique blend of warm country charm and big city pizzazz. Its theme reflects the local Smoky Mountain country roots for which Parton is known, while many of its nearly 25 slides and thrill attractions evoke a much more cosmopolitan energy.
The waterpark opened in 2001, and new for 2008 is the $1 million SwiftWater Run bowl slide. This double- or single-passenger tube ride is located amid a water-slide complex that includes the Mountain Scream and Mountain Twist slides. “SwiftWater Run is a first of its kind for Dollywood’s Splash Country,” says Gene Scherrer, vice president and general manager.
Other attractions include the 70-foot-tall Fire Tower Falls slide tower; the Bear Mountain Fire Tower family play structure; Little Creek Falls children’s pool; and The Cascades (shown), an appproximately 8,000-square-foot, mountain lagoon-themed leisure pool with more than 25 interactive play elements.
Parton’s waterpark is involved in a range of philanthropic efforts, not unlike the singer herself. This summer’s events include the sixth annual Lazy River Float-a-Thon, held May 31 to benefit the Knoxville Ronald McDonald House, and a Water Safety Day.
OWNER: Partnership between Dolly Parton and Herschend Family Entertainment Co. (HFEC)
YEAR OPENED: 2001
SIZE: 85 acres
SIGNATURE ATTRACTIONS: The Cascades
FUN FACT:Splash Country guests consume more than 70,000 pizzas per season.
NO. OF LIFEGUARDS:175 to 200 total; 78 on any given day