Dolly Parton welcomes guests during opening weekend

10 News has a sneak peek of its new land

By Rachel Lucas - Weekend Anchor / Reporter

PIGEON FORGE, Tenn. -

With spring just around the corner some may already be thinking about vacation. It's opening weekend for one of southwest Virginia's favorite destinations that’s only a four-hour drive away.

Dollywood opens Saturday. Friday, 10 News was there as Dolly Parton herself kicked off the season with a major announcement. She announced that the park's new land, Wildwood Grove, will officially open May 10.

The $37 million project will offer six new themed rides including the Dragonfly, and an after-dark experience, a nighttime show with a wildwood tree. 

"That wildwood tree at night is just absolutely unbelievable,” Parton said.

Construction is still underway, but 10 News got a sneak peek inside the park. While Parton said she is excited about the new nature-themed parked geared toward families, she joked that she wouldn’t be seen on her namesake's new roller coasters.

“It's not safe for me with all the garb I wear to get on the ride….to lose my hair or anything else,” Parton said jokingly.

10 News got the opportunity to ask Parton about her inspiration for Wildwood Grove. She said the magical nature theme is nostalgic of her childhood memories.

“We wanted to have another Smoky Mountain memory, something we remember as kids. Using the animals as rides and the birds and the bees like I grew up here in the Smoky Mountains, so it just seemed to be fitting that we would have all of the dragonflies, the frogs and the bears all the things like that," Parton said. 

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