Ready for a perfect day trip or summer vacation? Dollywood is a popular place to visit for Greenville families as it’s tons of fun and only three hours away. While you’re there, you can beat the heat by spending some time at Dollywood’s Splash Country. Kidding Around’s Kristina visited this water park with her kids and gathered up all the insider information plus tips and tricks so our readers will know exactly what to expect when they plan their own trip!
Media tickets were provided for this review.
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I had never been to a giant water park before packing up the kids and heading to Dollywood’s Splash Country, a mere three hours from Greenville. I had no idea what to expect. Water slides? Pools? Some splash pads? Upon entering Splash Country though, I was more than surprised that the waterpark had all of those plus tons more. I shouldn’t have been surprised though – the water park and Dollywood is ranked by USA Today as one of the very best in the country.
So if you haven’t been to Splash Country, I’ve got all you need to know here. And if you have been but need a little more incentive to go back, I’ll tell you all about what we did and tell you about some of their new rides. The 2022 season opens Saturday, May 14, 2022. See their calendar for operating hours when you want to go.
About Splash Country
The waterpark opened in 2001 on 25 acres next to the Dollywood theme park in Pigeon Forge. It’s under the same brand as Dollywood, of course, which means it’s held to high standards of hospitality, cleanliness, and family fun. It didn’t disappoint on any of these factors.
When it opened, it had a 25,000-square-foot wave pool, a lazy river, a children’s interactive area, tube rides, and two extreme body slide rides, plus a restaurant. Since 2001, the park has added a whitewater rafting tube ride, the Bear Mountain Fire Tower™ attraction with smaller water slides and a huge climbing structure, a 70-foot high water slide, a huge area with a grotto, waterfalls, slides, a leisure pool, and splash pad for kids, a multi-lane mat slide ride, a water coaster (the first one in Tennessee), and lastly, the TailSpin Racer was added in 2017. The park has added food stands, water retreat cabanas, and shaded areas as well.
Clean & Safe
Two things immediately stood out to me about the waterpark: the cleanliness of the entire park and the staff’s attentiveness. No trash was lying around, the pools were all clean, and the rides were spotless.
And the staff were incredibly attentive and kind and helpful. The lifeguards had their eyes glued to the pools at all times, and the larger attractions like the wave pool were well-staffed, where I counted at least 10 lifeguards stationed around the huge pool. The staff and lifeguards at all the rides were well-trained on safety protocol and gave riders precise instructions on safely enjoying the water activities.
Life jackets are available for free all over the park, from little kids to adults. Just pick one up. The park discourages guests from bringing their own life jackets or puddle jumpers, but I saw plenty of them while there. And don’t bring pool toys as they are not allowed.
Tips & Tricks for Dollywood Splash Country
- Splash Country allows guests to bring a backpack – it will be inspected upon entrance – and offers lockers all around the park. Prices range from $10-$20 depending upon size. I got the medium one for $15 and it easily held my small backpack, change of clothes, towels, and water bottles. You can rent the lockers for the entire day. I’d suggest getting one right near the wave pool since it’s in the middle of the park and close to everything.
- You can bring your own towels or buy them at the park. We brought ours and laid them out on lawn chairs near the wave pool to save our seats when we wanted to take a break – which was never. But you can put them in your lockers if you like.
- While outside food and beverages are prohibited at the park, you are allowed to bring in an unopened water bottle per person. Additionally, ice water is available for free at all concession stands. Please take advantage of this because it’s hot, even when you’re in the water.
- Family restrooms are available throughout the park, and there is a nursing area for moms near the wave pool.
- Dollywood is family-friendly, and its clothing guidelines reflect that policy. They ask that guests don’t wear thongs or cheeky bathing suits. I’d suggest wearing bathing suits that won’t accidentally slip off either during one of the rides.
- Most of the rides have some height restrictions, so get your kids measured when you get into the park. The child will then get a wristband to indicate which rides they are allowed to go on and saves time from standing in line for a ride they can’t go on. There are several rides open for kids if an adult is with them.
- It’s brutally hot in the summer, so wear your shoes everywhere. My kids and I wore water shoes, which we had to take off for some of the rides but worked very well for our day there. The pavement is scorching, and you don’t want to burn your feet, so keep those shoes on while walking around.
- Get there right when they open. If you are in line about 30 minutes before the park opens, you’ll get a great parking spot (parking is $20 – book online for a couple dollars off) and you’ll have very little wait time for the more popular rides and shorter lines to get into the park.
- Splash Country offers canopies and retreats of all sizes to rent for the day. See the desk to the right when you walk into the park. They looked pretty awesome, with lounge chairs and plenty of shade. They are priced from $45-$300 per day.
Feed Me! Where to eat at Splash Country
Splash Country has several food options inside the park, nachos, tacos, hamburgers, hot dogs, and plenty of desserts like Dippin’ Dots and ice cream. Expect to pay at least $10-15/person for whatever you choose to eat.
Dollywood thankfully understands that families may want to save money on dining and bring their own food. Even though they don’t allow food or drink inside the park, you can leave the park and come back in to get your hand stamped. We packed a cooler for lunch, left the park, ate our cheap lunch, and headed back inside for more fun. There are picnic benches with umbrellas for shade at the park entrance if you’d like to eat your lunch there.
Timesaver H2O pass
Passes to reserve your spot in line and cut down on wait time are available, which could come in useful on busy days. The TimeSaver H2O costs between $55-$70 per person and allows guests to enjoy other attractions while virtually waiting in line for popular rides.
We went during the beginning of the week of July 4th and it was crowded. While we didn’t have to wait too long for any ride, maybe 25 minutes tops, I was certainly a little envious of the people who had the TimeSaver pass since they zipped past us in their own lane. Even shorter wait times can be trying on a tired kid so getting the TimeSaver H2O pass may be worth it.
Water Rides & Play Areas
My favorite areas of the park were the giant wave pool Mountain Waves, the roller coaster raft ride, the Big Bear tube ride, and the Bear Mountain Fire Tower™ with all its water slides. Oh, and the multi-lane mat slides – my oldest daughter and I raced down a couple of times. It was a blast. We spent all day there and my kids were not happy to leave.
Other popular attractions at Dollywood Splash Country are:
- Slick Rock Racer
- Fire Tower Falls
- Raging River Rapids
You can see a list of all the rides and height requirements for Splash Country Online.
Little Creek Falls is an attraction that has no standing water. It’s the perfect place for babies, toddlers and little ones to play and stay cool.
What to Bring
Here’s a list of things you’ll want to bring to Dollywood’s Splash Country:
- Water shoes (some rides you can’t wear flip flops and others you just have to hold whatever shoes you’re wearing) – but it’s hot and the pavement can be uncomfortable on bare feet so wear shoes
- A water bottle
- A waterproof case for your phone. You can buy one at the park or just bring your own.
If you plan on going to Dollywood more than twice a year, a season pass is a good investment for both the theme park and Splash Country. If you stay at Dollywood’s DreamMore Resort, which you can literally see from the park, there is a free shuttle also that will take you to the park from the resort.
For the occasional promotion of tickets and sales, follow Dollywood on Facebook or sign up for their email newsletter. If making fun memories with your family is on your list this summer, make a trip over the mountains to Dollywood’s Splash Country!
Have you been to Dollywood’s Splash Country before?