For Gay Dads, Dollywood Sets The Standard For Family Trips

Screen Shot 2014-08-19 at 11.19.39 AMSure, we had heard of Dollywood, but our correspondent Haven Caylor recently turned us on to this park as a fun family event for gay dads and their kids. Check out what Haven has to say about Dolly Parton’s legendary park and why it should be at the top of your destination list:

There are dreams we hold inside ‘til the time is right. So keep the faith, you’ll have your time to shine.” –Dolly Parton from “Celebrate the Dreamer in You” 

I’ve never met a gay man who doesn’t like/adore Dolly Parton (isn’t she campy?!), and aren’t those words near to the heart of a gay man: equal humanitarian rights, marriage & family equality!

Actually, I’ve never met anyone gay or straight who doesn’t like at least one Dolly Parton song. Many people may not know that Dolly has her own theme park. It’s Dollywood in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee. She has invested and given back to the community where she grew up, and it is so beautiful and prosperous. The park is nestled in the Great Smoky Mountains of Southeast Tennessee, and it is an awesome park with thrilling rides, excellent shows, a steam locomotive that is over 70 years old, and a replica of Dolly’s Smoky Mountain home where she, her mother and father, and 11 siblings lived. The park is permeated with the sights and sounds of Dolly Parton.

Sean, Carter, Ammon, and I started with a Memorial Day trip that revolved around Dollywood. We stayed in Gatlinburg, Tennessee (just a few miles from Pigeon Forge) and spent time both there, Pigeon Forge, and Dollywood. Dolly’s Dixie Stampede is an excellent dinner theater where there is a 3 course meal (much like the meals at shows such as Medieval Times), and there is a show where the North vs. the South in different competitions. Ammon and Carter got to participate in the Great Chicken Race.

We have so much fun at Dollywood. The rides are top-rate and very thrilling. The only drawback is that Carter and Ammon are too short for some of the looping roller coasters. They are only 46 inches tall, and they need to be 48 inches tall. We will make it for next year. We were so smitten with the park that we bought season tickets. They paid for themselves when we returned for the Fourth of July week. Dollywood is only a two-hour drive from our house, so we decided we could spend several days a year there for weekend getaways. We also understand that Dollywood has a first-rate and entertaining Christmas theme all the month of December. We cannot wait to see it!

Check it out! You and yours won’t regret it.


Published by edsalvato

Educator, marketing, communications and travel safety expert; LGBTQ Pavilion at the New York Times Travel Show; public speaker; expert panel organizer and moderator

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