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Susan Baylies recommends that you visit Dollywood some time while you are in the United States.
Why to Visit Dollywood
Dollywood train

           Dollywood is a wonderful place for a family vacation. It is a fun and educational theme park in Tennessee near western North Carolina. It costs much less than other parks and it takes less than 7 hours to drive there from Chapel Hill, NC.
Here are links to show you the rides for both young children and all ages, music shows, a show about live birds of prey, hand-made crafts with people making things out of glass, wood, and metal right as you watch, and fun shopping.
        All of the rides and shows are free after you have paid for your entrance ticket.
For $99.00 per person, you can buy a Season's Pass, good for the rest of the year in which you bought the ticket. Save that pass card and you can return as many days as you want with free entrance.
         Your children will learn about the simple, country people who live in the Smoky Mountains and their culture, music, and history. Two of my Korean students' families went to Dollywood with me in 2013 and they loved it.

Here are some more pictures of Dollywood:

         This place was made by Dolly Parton, who is a famous singer, songwriter and movie star. She also cares about doing good things in the world. She believes in education and so she started a reading program that gives books to poor families.      
         She cares about protecting nature and wild animals, so there is a live eagle preserve at Dollywood. Your children can see an eagle, owl and other birds up close.

     Throughout the year there are special events and festivals at Dollywood.
During Spring Break 2015 there will be special shows of entertainers from around the world called the
Festival of Nations March 21 - April 20, 2015
There will be acts from Ireland, Germany, Siberia, Argentina, Ecuador,  Quebec and more.

Acrobats from Quebec, Canada 

Dancers and Musicians from Ireland

Irish Dancers

Singers from Siberia

Siberian Singers

Dancers and Drummers from Argentina

Argentine Performers

Stilt-walkers from Germany ( who walk on high sticks)


Where Dolly was bornreplica Dolly home
        Dolly was born in the Smoky Mountains. Her father was a poor farmer and she had 10 brothers and sisters who all lived in the tiny house in the above left photo. There is a full size copy of that cabin in Dollywood. By making the Dollywood theme park, she has brought a lot of money and jobs into her homeland. In fact, some of her family works at Dollywood. You may hear them sing there.
Here is a video of Dolly and her Uncle Bill talking about her life as a child and now: Dolly Parton Revealed.

Dolly's Most Famous Songs

Dolly with boss in 1967
Dolly Parton singing with her boss, Porter Wagoner in 1967
           You have probably heard some of her songs, like “I Will Always Love You”. Whitney Houston was famous for singing it, but Dolly Parton wrote that song for her music partner and boss, Porter Wagoner, when she was ready to leave his TV show.
          Here is Dolly telling about why she wrote it, and then singing it.
“I Will Always Love You” by Dolly Parton
9 to 5 movie
Dolly Parton was one of the lead actresses in the 1980 movie called “9 to 5” and she wrote all the songs in that movie.
Here is Dolly singing “9 to 5”

Here is a video on youtube of Dolly Parton talking about her childhood, celebrating the 25th year of Dollywood, and
singing with Miley and Billy Ray Cyrus at Dollywood.

           Dollywood is in Pigeon Forge TN, only a 6.5 hour drive from Chapel Hill, and costs much, much less than other parks. For $99.00 per person, you can buy a Season's Pass, good for the rest of the year in which you bought the ticket. Save that pass card and you can return as many times as you want with free entrance.
           There are nice low cost hotels in Pigeon Forge very close to Dollywood ranging in price from $40 - $100 or more per night for a room with 2 queen beds. I have stayed at several of the lower priced hotels and they are fine, clean, with wifi, and some have a full free breakfast. Dolly is building a big, fancy 307 room hotel, but it is not finished yet.