$20 Million In Dollywood Projects Adds To Pigeon Forge Tourism Growth

Thursday, August 17, 2006 - by Tom Adkinson

Pigeon Forge tourism leaders cheer a new $17.5 million roller coaster, called Mystery Mine, as well as a $2.75 million expansion at Dollywood's Splash Country water park, according to entertainer Dolly Parton and officials of the family theme park.

The elaborate roller coaster, the largest capital investment in the park's history, will be in the Timber Canyon area. The area opened in 2004 with Thunderhead, which coaster enthusiasts have voted the world's number one wooden coaster, and expanded this year with a ride called Timber Tower.

The addition to Dollywood's Splash Country is The Cascades, a 7,500-square-foot leisure pool with a beach-style entry. Its centerpiece is a waterfall that spills from a giant rock grotto. As with Mystery Mine, The Cascades is the largest capital investment in the water park, which opened in 2001.

"The more than $20 million represented by Mystery Mine and The Cascades demonstrate that Dollywood's management understands the value of keeping attractions fresh, exciting and inviting," said Leon Downey, executive director of the Pigeon Forge Tourism Department.

"We see that same spirit with tourism investments and additions all over
town," he continued.

Mr. Downey noted that developments throughout Pigeon Forge continue to provide visitors new reasons to visit.

Among them:
* WonderWorks, a $9 million attraction that combines science with
entertainment and described as an amusement park for the mind, which opened this summer.
* Helicopter Headquarters, an $8 million attraction devoted to the history and development of helicopter flight.
* "The Miracle," a multi-million dollar, multi-media production in a
1,700-seat theater that chronicles the life of Jesus.
* Expansion of the $15 million Walden's Landing development, which has added new restaurant and retail space.
* Zorb, an innovative ride invented in New Zealand that features inflatable plastic spheres big enough to hold human passengers for rides that careen down a hillside. This is a $1.2 million project.

In addition, two multi-faceted resort developments continue to take shape, both featuring retail space, restaurants, lodging and attractions:
* Pigeon Falls and Main Street Marketplace, which developers label a $500 million project.
* Belle Island Village, which developers value at $60 million.

"Pigeon Forge is a vibrant destination that attracts extraordinarily good tourism investments. That's why our visitors are so loyal. They enjoy what's here, and they always have new reasons to visit us again," Mr. Downey said.

Pigeon Forge, which has approximately 5,400 permanent residents, attracts approximately 11 million visitors each year. It is adjacent to Great Smoky Mountains National Park, the most visited national park in the U.S.

Visitors information is available online at www.MyPigeonForge.com or
toll-free at 800-251-9100.


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