As a child of the 80s, there exists within my mind a series of pop culture triggers ranging from well-known and popular to obscure.
Seemingly normal, average, everyday words, sounds, thoughts or visuals can trigger a Pavlovian response from deep within my cerebral cortex.
It can be something as simple as seeing a picture of two girls innocently hanging out with a guy. In the time it takes for the light to process through my eyes to form the images in my head, a musical cue has already begun, the opening strands of the “Three’s Company” theme song are playing in my head.
“Come and knock on our door.”
I haven’t watched that show or even really thought about it in more than 30 years, but I can hear the tone of the male singer’s voice perfectly.
I never know where the triggers are hidden, so each time is a little surprise. It’s a blast from the past that can amuse, divert or, in the case of “Three’s Company” annoy the heck out of me as those opening lines get stuck in my head for the next couple of hours.
While thinking about the joy of waterparks, I found another one today.
Napoleon Bonaparte, with a thick slab of sunscreen running down his nose, going ham in a California waterpark, breaking free of the pre-teen in charge of wrangling him and pushing children out of the way for a chance to hit another waterslide.
Why hello “Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure,” I didn’t realize you were in there.
Why are we wired this way? What was it about that scene or that idea that stowed away taking up prominent space in my brain when last week it took me a good five minutes to remember the name of an acquaintance I’ve known for 15 years?
Ultimately, I think it’s that connection of joy, of freedom, an expression of our purest id.
What that funny and incredibly stupid movie captured was the way a waterpark is the purest distillation of all the things that are great about summer.
In a way, at a great waterpark, we long to unleash our inner Napoleon and be wild and free in the heavily chlorinated water and sun.
This is why, we should head to Dollywood’s waterpark, Splash Country, and enjoy summer as Napoleon would want. Just try not to run anyone over in the process.
Here are some answers to frequently asked questions, and pro-tips from a local, that will have you conquering Splash Country like Napoleon.
1. Can you go back and forth between Dollywood and Splash Country? Should you?
No, Dollywood and Splash Country are not physically connected. Though the distance between the theme park and the waterpark isn’t much.
Splash Country is located between DreamMore Resort and the theme park.
In fact, DreamMore often runs specials that include discounted or even free admission to the waterpark with your stay.
But can you go back and forth between the two parks in a single day? Sure. The waterpark is just a $10 add-on (at the time of this writing) to the regular price of a theme park ticket.
Should you? That’s another matter entirely.
I presume, if you’re splitting your day, you’d hit the waterpark early and then transition over to the theme park in the evening. But it just seems exhausting to me.
All-day in the sun and water will wear you and your family out. I think you’re asking for misery trying to do both in a single day.
My recommendation? Go two days. One day at the waterpark and a day at the theme park.
You can save a little on this plan by getting the two-day theme park tickets with the $10 add-on for $109. If you bought a single-day ticket for the theme park and another for the waterpark, it would be about $130.
2. When can you go to Splash Country?
The powers that be at Splash Country cling to an outdated model of Tennessee summer, if you want my opinion.
Yes, the park opens before Memorial Day, usually sometime in mid-May when local schools begin dismissing.
But the park always begins taking some weekdays off in late August and shuts down for good on Labor Day.
I suppose it’s because kids go back to school so much earlier now that they can’t support the weekday business.
But, frankly, the last few Septembers have been plenty warm enough to keep the park open on the weekends. I think Dollywood could squeeze a few more summer weekends into the fall if they wanted.
3. What rides are at Dollywood’s Splash Country?
Well, it’s a waterpark, they’re not out here reinventing the waterwheel.
There is a large array of water slides, some of which require a boat, tube or mat and some that do not.
Splash Country rides and slides include:
- Mountain Scream: Featuring racing body slides with your choice of corkscrew tunnels or quadruple drops.
- Raging River Rapids: A waterslide that acomodates 5-person rafts.
- RiverRush: Tennessee’s first-ever watercoaster.
- Slick Rock Racer: A multi-lane, belly-down mat race.
- SwiftWater Run: A corkscrew/chute combo slide that can accomodate your either single floats or double floats.
- Tailspin Racer: With 6-lanes of high-speed aqua tubes.
- Fire Tower Falls: A 70-foot high, twin free-fall slide that propels riders on 280-foot track.
- Wild River Falls: A series of four twisting covered slides that tubers can race along to the waiting water below.
- Mountain Twist: 42 feet of twisting slides with three options for single-person mat riders.
- Big Bear Plunge: An extreme white water rafting adventure.
- The Butterfly: A body plunge dow two 55-foot long slides ending in a butterfly shaped pool.
Splash Country also has a relaxing lazy river (Downbound Float Trip), a wave pool (Mountain Waves) and specially designated water play areas for smaller kids (The Cascades and Bear Mountain Fire Tower).
4. Can you bring food into Dollywood’s Splash Country?
There’s no question a day at the waterpark is hungry work.
You can’t bring snacks or food. You are allowed one unopened water bottle per person.
All food outlets at the park also offer complimentary cups of water. There are several dining options in the park including Dogs N Taters and the Nashville Hot Chicken sliders at the Food Truck.
5. What happens at Dollywood’s waterpark if it rains?
Rain checks are available if park operations are interrupted because of severe weather.
This doesn’t mean you want to leave early because it’s raining.
This is for storms or other severe weather when park officials deem that rides and other operations must cease.
All attractions will close when the park radar indicates cloud-to-ground or cloud-to-cloud lightning within a 10-mile radius. Attractions re-open when lightning clears a 10-mile radius for 15 minutes.
6. What should I wear to Splash Country? What’s their dress code policy?
Here’s the bad news, if you’ve got a tattoo of a scantily-clad sailor and a love of mankinis, you’ll need to keep your eccentric tastes toned own inside the park.
Dollywood has a set of guidelines governing swimwear that essentially boils down to keeping your naughty bits well and properly covered and none of this see-through business.
Also, distracting tattoos must be covered while park management decides what is or is not distracting. The same basic rule applies to clothing.
Have you ever tried going to both parks in a single day? What tips would you offer about Splash Country? Let us know in the comments below.