Self care means doing things to take care of yourself. That includes taking time to have fun! One of my favorite places to have fun is Dollywood Theme Park. Located in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee, Dollywood offers fun for the whole family. And though it is a popular destination for fun and excitement, today I’m sharing the best things to do at Dollywood for self care.
I bet you’re wondering what roller coasters, country music, and funnel cakes have to do with self care? Well, hear me out. I’m going to share how you can have a great time and take care of yourself at this top attraction in the Gatlinburg area.
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How can you practice self care at a theme park?
Self care is the process of taking care of yourself. It’s engaging in activities that promote health and well-being. When we think of self care, we usually think of food choices, exercise, mental health, and other things that help us to be our best selves.
Having fun is self care, right? We need to take time to do things that make us happy. It’s nice to take a break from our booked and busy schedules to indulge in some activities that make us smile.
Close your eyes and picture a theme park. What do you see and hear? You likely see smiling faces and hear laughs and happy chatter. If you are intentional, you can certainly use your time at a theme park as self care.
Are theme parks good for your health?
When you plan your family vacation, you probably choose relaxing locations. But you should consider a theme park for your next trip. The Health Site cites visiting theme parks as enhancing mood and strengthening family bonds. Here are some other benefits of visiting theme parks:
- You’ll burn lots of calories.
- You tend to be less stressed.
- You’re likely to be in a good mood.
I may be partial, but you can’t just settle for any old theme park. Named after the iconic Dolly Parton, Dollywood is one of the top theme parks in the United States. So, make sure you plan to visit a park with some of the best rides, great foods, and top-notch live entertainment so the entire family has a great time.
What can you do for self care at Dollywood?
You probably don’t think of self care when you think of Dollywood, but there are so many ways that you can relax, slow down, and find joy at this beautiful theme park. You can treat yourself with Dollywood’s food and enjoy lots of good times on some fun rides.
Ride a thrill ride.
According to Coaster 101, roller coasters are good for stress relief and can even help clear your sinuses. Additionally, if you have a fear of coasters, riding a coaster may help you conquer your phobia. Even if you don’t like to ride thrill rides, sitting nearby and listening to the exciting screams and sounds of fun may help you have a good time.
Some popular thrill rides at Dollywood are Lightning Rod, Wild Eagle, Mystery Mine and Tennessee Tornado. My favorite rides at Dollywood are Thunderhead and Firechaser Express. I recently rode both of these coasters with my daughter and we had such a great time. You might have a new favorite ride at the end of your day at Dollywood.
Pro Tip: Be sure to dress comfortably to enjoy your day of fun!
Sit in front of Robert F. Thomas Chapel.
The Robert F. Thomas Chapel is named in honor of the doctor who delivered Dolly Parton. This building, located near the entrance of Dollywood, is a notable fixture enjoyed by many parkgoers. You will often find singers on the chapel’s front porch and there are even weekly church services held inside the chapel every Sunday.
You can have the best time enjoying some fun music at the Robert F. Thomas Chapel.
Ride the Dollywood Express.
The Dollywood Express is a coal-fired steam engine that takes you on a relaxing ride through the foothills of the Great Smoky Mountains. In addition to a great view of people having a great time inside the park, you’ll also get to see some beautiful mountain views.
This five-mile ride will give you a chance to slow down and enjoy the beauty of Dollywood and witness the excitement of the other passengers on the 20-minute train ride. This relaxing activity will put you in a good mood and possibly decrease any anxieties you may have been feeling.
Visit Dollywood during a festival.
Dollywood is known for hosting award-winning festivals and events throughout the year. These events are perfect for you to have a great time and escape some of the chaos of everyday life. Whether you choose the Harvest Festival, Flower & Food Festival, Smoky Mountain Summer Celebration, Smoky Mountain Christmas or any other special events hosted throughout the year, you’re sure to find one that will put a big smile on your face.
Each of these Dollywood special events offers unique decorations, delicious treats, and some of the best shows that you’ll ever experience. Improve your mood, have a great time and make some wonderful memories at a Dollywood festival or special event.
Browse the Eagle Mountain Sanctuary.
Did you know that Dollywood is home to the largest exhibit of non-releasable Bald Eagles in the United States? You can watch the eagles and other beautiful birds in this beautiful area unique to the Dollywood Theme Park. You can spend time enjoying owls, hawks, falcons, vultures, and eagles. Check the schedule to see when you can catch the Wings of America Birds of Prey show and be prepared for a fascinating presentation.
This is definitely an opportunity for you to slow down, relax, and enjoy some peaceful moments learning some interesting facts or enjoying something that you may already have knowledge about. Eagle Mountain Sanctuary is a great place for some self care.
Sit a spell and people-watch.
One of my favorite things to do at Dollywood is to take time to sit and people-watch. There are so many beautiful spots to sit and rest and watch parkgoers as they pass by. You will often spot a bench or sitting area near coasters which is a great place to hang out and catch the excitement on people’s faces as they board or finish a fun ride. Of course, it’s even more fun to sit and enjoy the surroundings with a tasty Dollywood treat in your hand!
Tour Craftsman’s Valley.
If you love arts and crafts, you’ll like spending time in Craftsman’s Valley. Here, you can get a custom leather belt made, see beautiful wooden crafts, find unique kitchen pottery or even make your own candles. There’s always something fun to see in Craftsman’s Valley.
Just a few steps away in Rivertown Junction, you’ll find Mountain Blown Glass where you’ll see beautiful glass ornaments being made. Healthline.com suggests that crafting decreases anxiety and improves mood. So head on over to Craftsman’s Valley to get a big dose of self care!
Catch one of the incredible shows at Dollywood.
Unlike many other theme parks, Dollywood is knowns for its shows. In fact There’s a new show available every 15-20 minutes inside the park, with most lasting anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour. You could make a day out of attending shows if that’s your thing.
The price of the shows is included with the price of admission so you can enjoy as many shows as you’d like.
Relax at the Dollywood DreamMore Resort & Spa
The Dollywood DreamMore Resort & Spa is located just outside of Dollywood Theme Park. It is the perfect setting for self care. With comfortable guest rooms, delicious restaurants, a relaxing pool, and so many more amenities, you will certainly find exactly what you need for rest and relaxation here.
And if those amenities are not enough to get you excited, let me tell you about the spa! Book yourself an appointment for a massage, body treatment, facial, manicure or waxing at The Spa at Dollywood’s DreamMore Resort & Spa. You will emerge from your self-care treatments rejuvenated, refreshed and ready to enjoy another day at Dollywood!
Head to the Grist Mill for some cinnamon bread.
Every now and then, you have to treat yourself! There are all kinds of delicious treats at Dollywood, but perhaps the most notable is the world-famous cinnamon bread. Head over to the Grist Mill to grab a loaf (or two) of cinnamon bread and indulge in this tasty treat.
Don’t worry if you’re on a diet. You’ll have plenty of opportunities to burn some extra calories walking around or screaming and moving while you’re on a ride or dancing to the sounds of live music throughout the park.
Play some games in the Country Fair.
Carnival games, rides, food and fun come to mind when I think of the Country Fair at Dollywood. Younger kids are not the only ones who can have a great time in this nostalgic area. You can play games that remind you of your childhood and enjoy the sounds of young children having a great time on the fun rides in this area of the theme park.
Laughter is good for the soul and you’re sure to get in a few laughs while you’re in the Country Fair.
More self-care activities at Dollywood Theme Park
- Enjoy some water rides and slides at Dollywood Splash Country.
- Take the bumper cars for a spin in Demolition Derby.
- Get an adrenaline rush on Lightning Rod-the fastest wooden coaster at Dollywood.
- Catch a live show (there are so many great ones to choose from).
What can you do to make your day at Dollywood less stressful?
Here are some things you can do to take the stress out of planning your day at Dollywood Theme Park:
- Plan in advance.
- Review the park map before heading inside the park.
- Take frequent breaks throughout the day.
- Be flexible with your planning.
- Download the Dollywood app to your smartphone.
- Stay hydrated.
- Be flexible.
- Be patient.
- Plan for multiple days if you can. (That way you will not feel pressured to get everything done in one day.)
Dollywood Theme Park is a great place to slow down, have fun and enjoy yourself for the day. Your day at a theme park does not have to be stressful and strenuous. If you’re intentional with your planning, you can have a relaxing day while you’re at the park. Some intentional planning can make all the difference in how your day goes. Make your next day at Dollywood a day of self care.