While in Pigeon Forge, we HAD to check out Dollywood. In addition to a standard amusement park, Dollywood also features traditional crafts and music of the Smoky Mountain area, the park hosts numerous concerts every year, some of which feature Dolly herself. Dollywood is also the home of the American Eagle Foundation, which is a full-service rehabilitation program specializing in Bald Eagles but also houses and rehabilitates other birds of prey.
Dollywood is adorable! There are several different areas of the park and each area has a different look and feel. Some of the areas are Showstreet, Rivertown Junction, Craftsman's Valley, Timber Canyon and Wilderness pass. We didn't have enough time to see the entire park, and we didn't even ride any of the rides. We spent the entire day going to shows, shopping the craftsman shops and going through Chasing Rainbows, a museum all about Dolly.
I had heard about this potato candy several times during my many trips to the south and I hadn't ever had the chance to try some until today. I didn't love it ....
Most of the shows we went to were country music shows with the exception of Wings of America, a birds of prey show featuring the Bald Eagle. As mentioned above, Dollywood is the headquarters for the American Eagle Foundation which specializes in the rehabilitation of birds of prey.
At the end of the show, they had a little bird named Tuck available to take tips. Tuck would take the bill out of your hand and place it in the box he was standing on, it was a smart way to get tips because everyone wanted the opportunity to interact with Tuck!
After the show we wandered into the gift shop were we discovered they had a live camera feed of the brand new baby eagles and their mama. There was a volunteer by the screen who was answering questions about the babies, he told us this eagle was a first time mama and she was doing such a great job at mothering her babies. Apparently, not all eagle mamas figure out how to be good parents right away, but this mama did.
After our time at the American Eagle Sanctuary, we spent a long time strolling down Craftsman's Valley, wandering in and out of all the shops and watching several of the artists work at their craft.
The candle shop was my favorite.
I watched this woman work on this candle from start to finish, it was mesmerizing watching her cut and twist the different layers of the wax into a gorgeous, intricate design.
Tennessee is so lush and green! There are several gardens and water features throughout that park that add so much to the ambiance.
We were told we had to try the fresh cinnamon bread from Grist Meal while visiting Dollywood, we had no problem making that happen.
It was hard not ordering one of each of their ginormous, delicious looking baked goods! Just take a look at those whoopee pies!
We got a side of apple butter to go along with our buttery cinnamon bread and it was divine.
The Chasing Rainbows Museum was fascinating, it is full of Dolly memorabilia from her time as a little girl to her rise in fame. Dolly is one inspiring lady.
My favorite photo of the entire museum.
I LOVED getting up close looks at several of Dolly's glittery dresses.
The exhibits ended with Dolly's family tree, it was so sweet.