Are you planning a visit to Dollywood soon? The 2021 season starts on March 13th. Dollywood, the premier theme park attraction located in Eastern Tennessee, added a new attraction to the park in 2019 called Wildwood Grove; we got to check it out firsthand and be immersed in all the magic and wonder inherent in any Dollywood experience.
When you go to Dollywood, head right for Wildwood Grove because there is so much to see and do for your whole family!
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Wildwood Grove is all about Exploration
Wildwood Grove is based upon adventure, curiosity, and a little fairy dust. It beckons guests to use their imagination to explore a world with exciting possibilities around every corner. You enter Wildwood Grove through what looks to be an old tree and wind your way past the Treetop Tower and Giant Tree Swing, back towards the indoor playground at Hidden Hollow and splash pad at Wildwood Creek.
I took my two kids, ages 8 and nearly 5, who loved every minute we spent here because they not only got to experience age-appropriate adrenaline rushes in the rides but really did feel like they got to explore a world that was uniquely set up to trigger their imaginations. For both kids and adults, we mostly live a life of structure, and it’s good to get out of that box and have fun together and try new things, which is exactly what is encouraged at Wildwood Grove.
Plan to spend at least a couple of hours at Wildwood Grove throughout your time at Dollywood. We started the day there, and before we knew it, it was time for lunch. We headed back at the end of the day to go back on our favorite rides and see if the Dragonflier line was shorter (it wasn’t – the ride is crazy popular).
Let’s Eat & Meet
You can’t go anywhere in Dollywood without smelling the delicious food offered throughout the park, and Wildwood Grove is no different. Till & Harvest is the anchor restaurant at Wildwood Grove. They serve Smoky Mountain Mexican cuisine like burrito bowls, with grilled meat and vegetables. A sweet shop is located next door, and there are popcorn stands and ice cream carts throughout the area.
Don’t forget that free ice water is offered at most concession stands and all restaurants. This was a lifesaver for my kids and me throughout our time at Dollywood.
There are also Meet & Greets with characters at Wildwood Grove, which we totally missed because I forgot to set the reminder on the Dollywood app, which you should absolutely download for your trip there. So if you’d like to meet some cute bears and fairies, set that reminder on your app.
New Rides at Wildwood Grove
What new addition to Dollywood would be complete without awesome new rides? We tried out all the rides at Wildwood Grove except Dragonflier, the roller-coaster where you hang feet-first and go on a wild ride. My youngest was scared the first time we waited in line and the wait was too long when we went back at the end of the day after she decided she wanted to do it. This just means we have to go back.
Here are all the rides offered at Wildwood Grove:
Frogs & Fireflies
A super cute ride for little kids where they get in a frog or firefly car and bounce around in circles in a motorized ride.
Giant Tree Swing
An old school favorite updated to be in Wildwood Grove’s theme, the Giant Tree Swing is a big boat-like swing that goes back and forth, getting higher and higher each time. We did this a couple times as it was a favorite of my kids.
This is the most genius activity in Wildwood Grove, so props to Dollywood for thinking of it. Hidden Hollow is a black-lit indoor playground for kids that also has comfy seats for parents. There are slides, sensory objects, climbing apparatuses, and a section for kids under three years of age. Again, this is indoors – which means a nice, cool, respite from the summer heat. And it’s located right next to the restrooms.
This roller-coaster is crazy popular and looks like quite the thrill ride for people of any age, yet even my almost 5-year-old was big enough to ride. But she chickened out, so we have to back. If you decide to go on this ride, go first when you get there or get the TimeSaver pass and use it to skip the line here. Guests need to be at least 39”.
Another genius creation in Wildwood Grove is the creek, which is basically a splash pad, which feels divine in 90+ degree heat.
A non-scary ride for any age that goes up and spins around a couple of times before being lowered to the ground. Guests need to be at least 36”.
I could have gone on this ride all day long. It’s a swinging ride from the carnival days of my youth but way better. Guests sit in a swing that looks like a mockingbird and are spun around in the air to the point where it feels like you’re flying. There’s a handle where you can move the bird’s wings to make the swing change position in the air. Guests need to be at least 36”.
Black Bear Trail
Guests ride around on a motorized bear through some bushes and trees. It’s cute and great for kids, although I saw plenty of adults riding around on the bears, which was hilarious. Guests need to be at least 36”.
Ready to Visit Wildwood Grove?
Wildwood Grove is open on the same dates and hours as Dollywood. Be sure to check the calendar because operating hours and days change with the seasons. When you enter the park, head left and keep going up the hill, and Wildwood Grove is located directly across from the Mystery Mine roller-coaster.
Dollywood is an easy three-hour drive from Greenville so if you’re feeling adventurous, you can certainly do it as a day trip. If not, there are tons of hotels, AirBnBs, cabins, and campgrounds right near Dollywood.
For tips on visiting Dollywood, see our Review of Dollywood Theme Park.
Have you visited Wildwood Grove at Dollywood yet? What is your favorite thing?