The first year that I invested in a Dollywood season pass, my children were 4 and 2. Other young stay-at-home moms balked at the idea of taking their children to a theme park on a weekday morning, without dad’s help. But I went on solo trips to Dollywood with my children on a nearly weekly basis. My secret? We didn’t trek all over the park. My little guys found pretty much everything they wanted in Country Fair.
If you’re not super familiar with Dollywood, the Country Fair area of the park is reminiscent of just what it sounds like: a small-town county fair. You’ll find familiar rides, games with prizes and delicious snacks that all evoke a sense of nostalgia. There are bright, patriotic colors throughout Country Fair, and it is a favorite spot for little ones who aren’t interested in big roller coasters yet.
The first Dollywood ride that either of my boys ever tried was the Lucky Ducky. It is toddler friendly, goes at a slow speed and plays a tune that you’ll be humming for the rest of the day. It’s nestled in a quiet corner housing the Busy Bees and the Piggy Parade, which is super convenient for allowing your children to hop on and off of rides at their leisure as you keep watch nearby. We have honestly spent an hour just in that little alcove of the park, with my boys riding each ride as many times as they want.
Just a short walk away, you’ll find The Amazing Flying Elephants and the Lemon Twist, which my boys love because they get to control the movement of both rides, and also because I get to ride with them. My younger son loves pushing the button on The Amazing Flying Elephants to alternately soar and drop, while my older son loves spinning the wheel inside the teacup saucer super-fast both clockwise and counter-clockwise.
My kids have since outgrown some of those rides, but that only means they’ve grown into others. They are finally now enough to ride the bumper cars in the Demolition Derby, and they are brave enough to try The Waltzing Swinger and The Scrambler. There are other rides in Country Fair (like Dizzy Disk, Shooting Star and Sky Rider) that they still don’t feel ready for yet, so Country Fair just keeps growing right along with them. I love that it has had something to offer them at every stage!
Beyond the rides in Country Fair, the biggest attraction for my boys is probably the games. While standard carnival games tend to have a reputation for being challenging or hard to beat, you’ll quickly realize that Dollywood has games for a wide variety of skill levels, including games for little ones that promise a winner every single time. While my boys have always loved the Balloon Pop game because of its guarantee of a prize, they have also been successful with the more challenging games like the Goblet Toss and Toss Across. The bigger the challenge, the bigger the prize, and my boys have never left Country Fair empty-handed.
If you’re more interested in arcade games, Craftsman’s Valley is your best bet, but Country Fair does have a handful of games that my kids enjoy (including several claw machines, table hockey and a basketball shooting challenge).
Country Fair also has some great places to eat, and it boasts Midway Market which has a super convenient soda refill station if you’re carrying a souvenir cup. Dollywood is home to some incredible culinary delights, but despite that, all my children can be tempted with are chicken fingers. Wouldn’t you know it, the Grandstand Cafe in Country Fair is one of the best places to find chicken fingers in the entire park. You can also find Dippin’ Dots and Blue Ribbon Cones nearby if you’re in the mood for some ice cream.
With The Village located just up the hill (boasting the Village Carousel, the Heartsong Theater and of course, the Dollywood Express Train Depot), it’s easy to see that you could very well spend the day at Dollywood without ever venturing any further into the park! Especially if you have little ones in tow, Country Fair is an essential stop during your visit to Dollywood.