|Dollywood is a theme park owned by country music singer Dolly Parton and Herschend Family Entertainment Corporation. It is located in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee, just off US 441 between Gatlinburg and Sevierville.|
The park first opened in 1961 as a small tourist attraction named "Rebel Railroad", featuring a steam train, general store, blacksmith shop, and saloon. In 1966, Rebel Railroad was renamed "Goldrush Junction" and in 1970, the Cleveland Browns football team purchased the attraction. In 1976, Jack and Pete Herschend bought Goldrush Junction, and in 1977, renamed it "Silver Dollar City Tennessee" as a sister park to their original Silver Dollar City near Branson, Missouri. In 1986, Dolly Parton became a co-owner, and the park was renamed "Dollywood".
In addition to standard amusement park thrill rides, Dollywood features traditional crafts and music of the Smoky Mountains area. Dollywood is affiliated with the adjacent water park, Dollywood's Splash Country, and the chain of Dixie Stampede dinner theaters. In addition, the park hosts a number of concerts and musical events each year, including concert appearances by Parton, as well as other national and local musical acts.
Dollywood hosts nearly 2.5 million visitors annually, many of them also visiting the nearby Great Smoky Mountains National Park. The theme park's operating season runs from early spring until around Christmas.
Dollywood is also the site of the Southern Gospel Museum and Hall of Fame, sponsored by the Southern Gospel Music Association, an independent non-profit corporation.