A Day Without Rides

The very first time I went to Dollywood, it was the day after we’d found out we were expecting our second child. Having never been to Dollywood before, I was worried I’d be bored while all my loved ones rode the roller coasters I’d been looking forward to. Luckily for me, Dollywood is packed full of more activities than you can accomplish in a single visit. Despite not getting on any rides, I had a blast. So whether you’re expecting, prone to motion sickness, or just not a fan of big rides, don’t fear. There’s still plenty to do without stepping foot on a single ride.

Since our toddler was under the 36” ride mark, we spent his ride time at Country Fair. I loved watching his face light up while he experienced a ride for the first time. The plethora of play areas for small kids is enjoyable for all ages. We loved the giant blocks at the Firehouse Fun Yard. Since my little one was with me, I didn’t get a single weird look for playing with blocks!

If you don’t have a tiny human with you, there’s still plenty to keep you entertained. Dollywood’s shows are top-notch, and change frequently so there’s always something new and exciting to experience. With musical performances, theatrical shows, and festivals, there’s always something interesting to watch. Click here for show descriptions. I like to space my shows out throughout the day, so I get to sit and rest while enjoying world-class entertainment. Whether it’s hot or cold outside, the theaters offer a respite from the weather as well!

I could spend an entire day just exploring Craftsman’s Valley. Watching the artisans craft their wares is enchanting. With a blacksmith, custom blown glass, candle-making, leather working and woodcarvers, there are so many different crafts to explore and craftspeople to chat with.

If you stop by the Grist Mill, you can even watch them making the world-famous cinnamon bread right before your eyes! The demonstrations are fun for the whole family, and there are even activities to do together, such as dipping your own candles or panning for gold.

In addition to the shops in Craftsman’s Valley, other stores throughout the park offer a variety of wares worth exploring. If it’s the giant stuffed animals your fellow park goers carry around that catch your eye, you’ll have to head to the carnival games in Country Fair or the arcade near Tennessee Tornado and try to win your own!

Eagle Mountain Sanctuary offers valuable information on bald eagles while allowing you to view them. The sanctuary is home to non-releasable bald eagles. The Wings of America Show Birds is educational and give you the opportunity for an up-close look at some elegant avians.

The picturesque Robert F. Thomas Chapel provides a quiet place for reflection and offers Sunday services. With historical buildings like the Calico Schoolhouse and Dolly’s Tennessee Mountain Home, there’s plenty to learn, too. Chasing Rainbows Museum and Southern Gospel Museum and Hall of Fame offer a show business history lesson, while Dolly’s Home on Wheels offers a peek into her life on the road.

After walking around the park and exploring every nook and cranny, you’re sure to work up an appetite. If the variety of activities didn’t set Dollywood apart, the food would. With seasonally changing menus, buffets, sit-down restaurants, walk up restaurants and more, there’s something for everyone. Whether you’re craving a delicious burger and milkshake (Red’s Diner), a hearty meal (Aunt Granny’s), or a refined Southern experience (Front Porch Cafe), your taste buds will thank you.

Dollywood offers a huge variety of activities and delicious food. This combination means that rides or not, you’re going to enjoy your day.

By | 2020-09-24T15:19:44+00:00 April 4th, 2018|Trip Planning|0 Comments

About the Author:

Christine Derr (Dollywood Insider 2017-2019) has put down roots in East Tennessee after years of living adventurously in several different states, from Florida to Alaska. She loves exploring East Tennessee with her husband and two energetic boys, and always cheers for the Seminoles and the Vols. She writes about their adventures at Paw Prints in the Sink. Christine works as a freelance writer and loves reading, writing, baking, and playing outside with her family and dogs in her free time. She’s excited to continue to explore Dollywood and Dollywood’s Splash Country as an Insider and looks forward to sharing her knowledge with you!
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