11 Surprising Things You Probably Never Knew About Dollywood

Dolly Parton has always been one of my personal heroes. Not only does she have talent for producing beautiful music and acting in delightful films, butshe’s also proven she has one of the kindest hearts of any celebrity in the world.

That was clear when the classic country songstress recentlydonated money from her own pocketto help families who were affected by the wildfires in her home state of Tennessee. Of course, her philanthropy is no surprise to those who know even a little about her especially when it comes to the folks from her neck of the woods.

For instance, heramusement park, Dollywood, might just seem like another extravagant aspect of her bigger than life personality, but there’s so much more to it than meets the eye.

Take a look below to discover what really makes her Smoky Mountain park so special and let us know in the comments if we missed your favorite thing about the iconic tourist spot.

And don’t forget toSHAREwith your friends and family!

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1. The Park Wasn’t Always Dolly’s

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Originally known as the Rebel Railroad from 1961-66, it was renamed Goldrush Junctionbefore being purchased by a former owner of the Cleveland Browns in 1970.

It then became a Tennessee branch of the Missouri-based amusement park Silver Dollar City in 1976, owned by the Herschend Brothers. Ten years later, they welcomed Dolly as a co-owner and rebranded with the now famous moniker.

2. Her Financial Team Thought It Was Too Risky

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But she was determined to bring lots of jobs (over 3,000!) to the county she was raised in.

As Dolly said in an interview, I always thought that if I made it big or got successful at what I had started out to do, that I wanted to come back to my part of the country and do something great, something that would bring a lot of jobs into this area.

3. Dolly Doesn’t Ride The Rides

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Though the park boasts more than 40 rides, the singer admitted to Knoxville News Sentinel that she never partakes as she suffers from motion sickness, something she inherited from her father.

4. She Used To Have A Secret Apartment In The Park

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Visitors are able to catcha glimpse ofthe singers early life with a replica of her childhood home, but Dolly also used to have her own secret living quarters right above Apple Jacks Sandwich Shop.

She left in 2011 andauctioned off all the items in it for charity.

5. The Park Boasts A Large Number Of Bald Eagles

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As home to the United States’ largest population of bald eaglesthat are deemed “non-releasable,” guests are welcome to observe bald eagles and other breeds of birds at theEagle Mountain Sanctuary.

6. Pups Can Stay At Doggywood

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Though only service animals are allowed inside the actual park, you don’t have to leave your pooches at home: Doggywood offers rustic boarding for pets while you’re out enjoyingyourself!

7. An Authentic 1880s Grist Mill Supplies Food

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Though technically built in 1982, the mill was meticulously built in exactly the same way it would have been 100 years before and grinds all of thecorn and wheat for the southern recipes at the park’s restaurants and food stands.

8. The Park Doubled In Size Since She Took Over

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With its success, it’s probably not surprising that the larger-than-life star’s park frequently expanded their original foundation, growing to its current 150-acrespan.

9. There’s A Church Service Every Sunday

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You can attendtheRobert F. Thomas Chapel, named after the local doctor who deliveredDolly and many other babiesfrom the area, in the morning during the regular season and in the evening during Smoky Mountain Christmas.

10. Dollywood Earned The Industry’s Most Prestigious Award

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Dollywood joined the ranks of other parks like Universal Studios and Disney World’s Magic Kingdom by winning the Applause Award in 2010. It’s essentially like winning an Academy Award for theme parks.

11. Dolly Has Plans For More

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While celebrating the park’s 25th anniversary in 2011, Dolly mentioned how she’d like to make similar parks across the country, each one paying homage to the history of the local culture just likethe Pigeon Forge location.

Did we miss your favorite fact behind the amusement park? Let us know below and be sure to SHARE with your friends!

Read more: http://www.littlethings.com/surprising-dollywood-facts/