Dollywood is famous for providing guests an immersive, quality experience that encapsulates the spirit of the Smoky Mountains. The waterpark, Dollywood’s Splash Country, is no exception.
It has even ranked among the top 10 in USA Today’s 10Best Readers’ Choice awards.
To celebrate its 20th season, here are five tips and tidbits you may not have known about Dollywood’s Splash Country:
1. The lifeguards at Splash Country are certified through Jeff Ellis & Associates
Jeff Ellis & Associates (E&A) is an international company that specializes in aquatic safety and risk management.
E&A teaches lifeguard skills and audits the lifeguards at their facilities through unannounced observations.
About three times a year, an auditor from E&A will make an appearance at the park – incognito style – and choose a lifeguard at random. Then, the auditor evaluates the lifeguard’s performance across nine different skillsets.
The lifeguards at Dollywood’s Splash Country very regularly receive EXCEEDS scores in their evaluations.
In fact, next time you visit the waterpark, keep an eye out for lifeguards with an “E&A” pin, which signifies that they have received an EXCEEDS score.
2. It’s easy to find shade at Splash Country
Because it’s nestled in the beautiful Smoky Mountains area, Splash Country has a plethora of trees and shady spots to help you stay cool in that Tennessee summer heat.
To claim one of the best spots in the park, arrive early and make a beeline toward Little Creek Falls. There, you will find huge, beautiful butterfly canopies to lounge under.
And, if you want a cool, shady (and perhaps private) spot guaranteed, you can always consider paying for it.
Luxury loungers and canopies provide shade over two chairs and range from $40-55 per day.
Retreats, which start at $190 for a regular retreat or $300 for a deluxe retreat, have 200 square feet of shaded space with an additional sunbathing deck.
Reservations for retreats can be made for up to eight people. Additional guests are $10 extra (each) for a max of ten people.
I know what you’re thinking – the retreat sounds expensive. But if you split it with 7 people, that’s less than $25 per person to have guaranteed shade, a ceiling fan, a private dining area and, most importantly, a direct line to food with ordering service.
Let me repeat: A direct line to food service. It’s a great deal when you do the math.
3. There are employees whose sole job is to monitor water quality
Rain water, sunscreen, makeup and sweat are just SOME of the things than can throw off the pH level of any pool.
That’s why employees at Dollywood’s Splash Country test each body of water every hour.
Once per hour, they physically retrieve a sample from each attraction to verify the pH and chlorine levels.
They also use a computer system that has pre-sets for water quality expectations. If the levels get too low or too high, an alarm goes off, and the staff is notified.
And if you’ve ever thought that the kids area’s water feels colder than the other attractions, you’re not wrong.
That’s because the water in the kids’ zones is turned over about every 30 minutes, compared to every two hours for other attractions, depending on the size of the body of water.
4. Food choices are easy at Splash Country
Theme park food is notorious for being slow, cheap and overpriced.
But at Splash Country, you can skip all the lines and hassle and order up a ready-to-go picnic.
Well, you do need a little preparation, because it needs to be ordered 24 hours in advance.
The meal includes sandwiches, chips, family-sized sides of macaroni and potato salads and fountain drinks, and it feeds a family of four.
If you forget to make a reservation, there are also grab-and-go items such as sandwiches, salads, fruit and vegetables. It’s a nice, light option so you don’t get too much of a heavy stomach. Which, let’s be honest, is ideal if you’re going to be in the sun all day.
If you’re staying at one of the retreats, the hospitality team will bring your reserved picnic to your retreat for you.
Splash Country also now offers a Dining Pass for passholders. The Dining Pass includes one meal and one snack each time you visit Splash Country. The Deluxe Dining Pass includes a free souvenir mug.
5. It’s best to skip the lockers at the front of the park
Last but not least, a lot of people walk into the park and grab the first locker they see.
This is all well and good, but there aren’t that many attractions at the entrance of the park. You don’t want to spend your valued theme park time walking back and forth between attractions and … your stuff.
A much better idea is to consider where you’ll be spending most of your time, and then rent a locker nearby.
Lockers are located near Campsite Grill, Little Creek Falls, Bear Mountain Fire Tower and The Cascades.
When in doubt, there are also lockers around the wave pool area, and these are centrally located.
Splash Country is located at 2700 Dollywood Parks Blvd, Pigeon Forge, TN and is open through Labor Day. Check the seasonal calendar for a complete listing of dates and hours.