While you may be familiar with Dollywood, that may not be the case for the water park just across the way – Dollywood’s Splash Country.
I’m a pretty big water park fan and a Splash Country fan in particular. I think any visit to Dollywood in the summer should be accompanied by a visit to Dollywood’s Splash Country – even if you’re not a huge water park fan like myself.
Why? Because Splash Country is not your average water park.
While most water parks drop you directly into the action, Splash Country invites you on a leisurely stroll past waterfalls and flowers as you wind your way into the heart of the park. You might catch a glimpse of the park’s colorful Tailspin Racer slides, but the big reveal is still up ahead.
Turning the corner, you are greeted with a vista of park’s main entry area. It’s an exciting way to kick off the day as you make your way to lockers, changing rooms or your private rental. I would argue it’s one of the more impressive reveals that you’ll find at any water park in the country.
While most water parks consist of flat, concrete landscapes, that’s not the case here. You will certainly find hardscape throughout the park, but much of this is balanced with washes of colorful landscaping.
Speaking of landscape, it certainly plays an important role in creating the relaxing atmosphere prevalent throughout Splash Country. Similar to Dollywood, the natural beauty of area plays a key role in the visual make-up of the park. As you might expect with a park literally built into the foothills of a mountain, rockwork abounds, streams flow and trees dot the landscape in every direction.
This, combined with accents of Smoky Mountain theming throughout, results in a warmth and authenticity you don’t typically find at your average water park.
One of the more interesting aspects of Dollywood’s Splash Country is how the park’s slides are integrated into the natural landscape. Nearly all the slides on the eastern side of the park hug the terrain pretty closely.
Beyond being visually appealing, this means many of the walks up to slides are accessed by way of nature-esque paths. This is a nice break from the never-ending staircase climbs you encounter on slide towers at many water parks. It also means you’ll find more shade when walking the queues.
On a less landscape and more yummy front, another not-so-average find at a water park is Splash Country’s unique take on fried dough.
Originating in the 1970s in Canada, BeaverTails are a signature treat unique to a few locations in the U.S. Think of stretched, fried dough with dessert toppings and you’ll have the right idea.
You can find these treats conveniently located at BeaverTails near the wave pool.
Having been to many water parks, I consider myself pretty well-versed in wave pools. Some hit you with a constant barrage of undulating waves. Some barely ripple. Still others make you wait an eternity between the action. Rarely do you find one that gets it right.
Splash Country’s Mountain Waves gets it right.
Here, the waves are fun, but not over the top. The lengths between waves also leave just enough time for a breather before the next cycle. Beyond the waves, you’ll find an abundance of pavilions on the parameter. This make Splash Country’s wave pool a perfect, centralized home base for the day.
Oh, and one other thing: live music.
On Saturdays throughout the summer, the park’s Splash Bash Live event means you can enjoy the sounds of local music acts while you ride the waves.
There are even mid-week opportunities on various Tuesdays and Thursdays.
And the best part? It’s all included with your regular park admission.
While a lot of water parks lean heavy on thrills alone, you’ll find something for everyone at Splash Country.
From the newly opened Little Creek Falls splash pad to the park’s signature water coaster, everyone can find an attraction at Splash Country that’s suitable for them. I especially appreciate that the park has two thrilling raft rides that my family can enjoy together.
At the end of the day, all of the things you love about Dollywood are just as present at Splash Country – beautiful scenery, fun attractions, great food and friendly hosts – all under the umbrella of a safe, comfortable and relaxing environment.
In fact, I think it’s possible to spend an afternoon at Splash Country, never actually get wet, and still have a great time. Just this past weekend, my wife and I spent nearly an entire afternoon letting the kids play in the newly-added splash pad area while we relaxed under nearby shade simply soaking up the atmosphere.
You can experience the same, and I think it’ll only add to your love of Dollywood going forward