Tackling anything with toddlers in tow can prove to be a monumental task. If you’re anything like me, then you probably try to avoid undertaking big things without a few sets of extra hand and visiting a water park isn’t anywhere near the top of your to-do list. Well, I’m here to tell you, don’t be like me.
Dollywood’s Splash Country is incredibly baby and toddler friendly!
Don’t miss out on all the water park has to offer in the heat of summer. Pack your bags and make the trip! I wish I wouldn’t have waited so long to take my littles.
Check out 15 tips below that will ease your mind about a Splash Country adventure with littles in tow:
1. Arrive Early
I know park hours start at 10 a.m., but arriving early has multiple perks. You can park close to the gates and there is less chaos as you unload to make your way to the front. The best part is that you can enter the park before 10 a.m., you just can’t get into the water. I’d recommend arriving around 9:30 a.m. so you can use the extra time to get your locker, decide your plans for the day and snag a good chair.
2. Bring Your Stroller
I usually try to avoid taking my giant double stroller places unless it’s absolutely necessary, but at Dollywood’s Splash Country, your stroller is your friend! It’s the easiest way to tote all the things (and all the kids) from point A to point B, and it’s especially nice to have when your youngest ones need naps! Plus, it’s the easiest way to lug them out of the park once they (and you!) are exhausted from a long day filled with fun.
3. Have Your Bag Organized
With safety being a high priority for Dollywood Parks & Resorts, you will have to go through a security check on your way to the gate. If you have your things organized, then it will make going through the entry quick and simple.
Not only that, but if you put small things like goggles, hats or snacks in Ziploc bags it makes finding them easier throughout the day.
4. Don’t Forget Those Water Shoes!
The concrete gets hot quickly on sunny days, so make sure you bring water shoes for those tiny toes. I’ve found that it also helps my toddlers when they’re walking around in the shallow water areas, too.
5. Make Your First Stop the Centralized Measuring Station
Before you stake your claim to some chairs in the shade, make sure you visit a Centralized Measuring Station as soon as you enter the park. Your kids will get measured (without shoes because they will be riding without shoes) and given a color-coded wristband that coordinates with what rides they are tall enough to ride. Just check out a park map and match the color of the wristband to the ride. It makes finding the fun easy!
6. Purchase a Waterproof Phone Lanyard
I didn’t do this and I wish I would have! Numerous times I have needed my phone to snap a picture of my kids or to check in with others we were at the park with. I won’t leave home without a waterproof lanyard to carry my phone and debit card next time!
7. Set Up Camp Near a Restroom
Doing this makes the whole day a breeze. It makes it much simpler to change diapers and take quick potty breaks. For those freshly-trained toddlers, time is of the essence!
8. The Lazy River is Always a Good Idea
One of the handful of attractions without a height requirement, the lazy river is always a fun way to take a dip yourself and entertain the kids simultaneously. The bonus is that it requires minimal effort on the parent’s part! Something to note: if your child is wearing a life jacket or puddle jumper and they want to float in a tube, they must be in a tube with an adult.
9. Visit Big River Pavilion
Previously only available for Dining Passholders and hidden away in the shade at the entrance of the park, here’s where you can find some of the best food in the park. Since not too many people know about this hidden eatery, there is rarely a line at Big River Pavilion!
10. Free Cups of Water
Instead of lugging a sippy cup around to all the rides throughout the day, when you have a whiny toddler in need of a drink, just pop by a concession stand and get a complimentary cup of water.
11. My Favorite Hidden Gem: The Cascades
A truly wonderful spot to take young kids! It’s hidden at the back of the park behind the wave pool and many people don’t realize it’s there. Slides, shallow water and so many toddler- friendly things are stowed away back there.
12. Life Jackets Galore!
If you know your hands are going to be full during the day, then leave your flotation devices at home. Throughout the park you will find stations where you can grab a life jacket to strap on your little ones – for free!
13. Check Out Little Creek Falls
In my opinion one of the best places to make “base” for the day is the new splash pad attraction Little Creek Falls! It’s a zero-depth entry, handicap accessible, shaded, baby and toddler friendly area. It’s right by a restroom, food and lockers, too. Can’t beat that!
14. Bring a Few Snacks
Anyone with young kids knows how difficult it can be to get them to eat when you need them to. If you’ve got picky little ones, feel free to bring a few snacks that you know they can munch on if they get hungry.
15.Save Those Tickets!
Don’t lose your ticket after entering the gates. On your way out of the park you can use it to get a discount off a Season Pass to return to Dollywood and Dollywood’s Splash Country! Be sure to do this before you leave, though.
If you have been on the fence about visiting Dollywood’s Splash Country with your small children, I hope these tips help you take the plunge and visit!