5. Choose food wisely. Although Splash Country states that no food should be brought into the park, we have always brought in small quantities of snacks with no protest from employees. The park food is also decently palatable, and relatively reasonably priced. Check the prices before ordering, though. A large fruit cup for $5 seems reasonable; $2.50 for a snack bag of chips? Not so much.
So you are headed out of your Pigeon Forge rental cabin on the way to some serious water play at Dollywood’s Splash Country. Here are some ideas before you go to make your play day the best it can be. In addition, I have also included a packing list so that you will not overlook a vital item for your day’s enjoyment.
1. When to go: The park’s hours are 10 am to 7 pm up to school opening time in August, when closing begins to occur at 6 pm. Check the online calendar here for your planned trip.
There are two options in my opinion. Arrive early about 20 minutes before the park opens, and you will be able to park close to the entrance. Then head immediately to the back of the park to stash your stuff in a spot that will be shady most of the day, either in a quiet corner as a home base, or near the attraction that you believe you will use the most. Then take off to the most popular slide attractions before the park begins to fill with people. You have about an hour to 90 minutes before lines begin to lengthen. The other option is to arrive about 3:30 or so (arrive after 3 and next day free!). The first wave of morning people will be exiting, and the ride lines decrease along with the people volume as the day turns to evening. This is also a good plan if you just want to swim and relax after sweating all day at Dollywood. You then can attack the slides full force the following day after a solid night’s rest.
2. Buy some extra shade if it’s important to you. Canopies offer 65 feet of shade, 2 chairs, and a locker. Retreats feature 200 square feet of shade with drapes, a TV and locker, dining seating, 2 lounge chairs, and “room service” phone for snacks and drinks. Review these options online, decide if the cost is feasible for your family, and reserve a spot close to your favorite attraction within the park. We like the Cascades pool area since there are littles in our friends crowd, it is quieter, and tucked away in a corner.
3. Check for discounts. While online, check the Special Offers section. Usually $10 off each admission for a family of four is readily available, along with group (15+) discounts, combination deals, and 30% off for active and retired military. For the most playtime for your money, I’ve already mentioned the “come after 3, next day free” standing offer, which Dollywood theme park also promotes.
4. Safety first. The water park offers and strongly recommends free life vests for use by weak and non-swimmers. Water shoes are a good idea for traveling between attractions as the pavement can become burning hot. A buddy system for children to not be alone in any pool is a wise choice, and a check-in system (say, after every three rides) for older children is also a good practice. The first aid station is located near Big Bear Plunge, and always has medical personnel present when the park is open.
6. Rain checks are available. If your day is cut short by severe weather and closings at the park, just ask for a rain check, which will be granted. Rain checks are valid until the end of the summer season.
7. Buy more play time by skipping the line. On extremely busy days, you may consider the Time Saver Pass wristband. Consider what attractions are most appealing to your family, and whether paying extra to ride more quickly is the right option for your crowd.
8. Be secure and rent a locker. Unless you want to park someone with your stuff, you will need a secure place to keep a wallet, keys, and all those extra things that come into the park with you. To be honest, we have never had any issues with any of our bags chairside. But if you want to roam freely unencumbered, or would be concerned about your belongings while playing in the water, a locker rental offers peace of mind, both safe and dry. There are both normal and family-size units available.
9. Choose the right tube for floating fun. One of our mom friends says, “Choose fluffy over spongy” when grabbing the right inner tube from the stack available. An under inflated tube makes for a tougher ride, and is more easily flipped in the waves.
10. Know your fear factor before you go. No one has fun if a child becomes traumatized by his first large water ride of the day. Gauge what is appropriately thrilling, based on your children’s courage and swimming capabilities. When in doubt, opt out. Better to have a good time on fewer and milder rides than a bad memory (or even potential injury) from the one that was too much. Both courtesy clerks and life guard attendants can answer any questions you may have regarding ride requirements and experiences.
11. Though you won’t want to pack everything under the sun (pun intended), being prepared makes for a better, and usually less costly, day trip. Here is a list of items that you may consider taking for use while at Splash Country. A good attitude is the best thing to bring: hope you enjoy a truly great day together!
Tickets Adult ID/License Kid ID/picture Lanyards Cash or Credit Card Cell phone Waterproof Case Waterproof Watch Waterproof Camera
Ziploc bags for clothes Swimsuits Flip flops Water Shoes Water Toys Hats Sunglasses with Headstraps Goggles Earplugs Swim Diapers Dry Clothes/Underwear
Beach Bag Beach Towels Coverups Collapsible cooler Water bottle Snacks Books Sunscreen Sunscreen Lip Balm Insect Repellent Epipen Wet wipes
Hand sanitizer Bandaids Ibuprofen or Acetaminophen Kleenex Body wash/shampoo Hairbrush Wet items bag