A favorite festival and a new thrill ride are in store when Dollywood opens Saturday in Pigeon Forge, Tenn.
The new ride, Barnstormer, re-creates the sort of breathtaking moments that daredevil stunt pilots of the 1920s might have experienced as they zoomed over the fields of nearby farms.
The $5.5 million ride features two pendulum arms with seating for 32 riders, according to park officials. Seated back to back, riders travel progressively higher on each swing, reaching a maximum speed of 45 mph and 230 degrees of rotation. At its peak, Barnstormer reaches 81 feet in the air.
The adjacent "barnyard" includes a 22-foot by 16-foot biplane play area as well as a pig-pen water play area for children.
As is tradition, the Festival of Nations opens the season at Dollywood. This monthlong celebration (through May 2) offers music, dance, food and art from around the world.
Headlining this year is Samaia: Legend of the Caucasus. The production features 40 singers and dancers from the Georgian Caucasus who will entertain with sword battles and ballet, as well as traditional dance, drumming, songs and chant.
One-day tickets to Dollywood are $57 for ages 12-59, $53.65 for seniors 60 and older, $45.80 for children 4-11.
The park will be open every day except Tuesdays and Easter Sunday through most of May, then daily starting May 25. The partial schedule begins again in August. Dec. 30 is the final day of the 2011 season.
For more information, call 1-800-365-5996 or visit www.dollywood.com.
LAKE WINNIE POINT AND CLICK
Planning a visit to Lake Winnepesaukah Amusement Park this season? Through Thursday, preseason discounts are offered at www.lakewinnie.com. The online ticketing system lets guests purchase and print passes for gate admission and unlimited rides at home. For a savings of $4 per person, enter the promo code "EARLYBIRD." The print-at-home passes are a way to avoid lines at the ticket booths when the park opens April 8. For information, call 1-877-LAKEWIN.