Dollywood has its beginnings as far back as 1961, when the Robin brothers opened a small theme park called Rebel Railroad, which offered a Civil War theme. Rebel Railroad was sold several times over the years and in 1976, it was acquired by Jack and Pete Herschend. The park was renamed Silver Dollar City Tennessee. Dolly Parton, who grew up in the area, purchased an interest in the theme park in 1986. It was renamed, Dollywood.
The theme park has become very successful, with more than 3 million visitors attending each year. The park has expanded slowly and today includes a water park, a resort hotel, along with a dinner and show Dixie themed restaurant. With more than 3,000 full time employees, the company is the largest employer in the area.
Dollywood has doubled in size since 1986. It offers 27 rides, 8 of which are roller coasters, and another 4 are water rides. Dolly Parton announced in 2010 that she would like to open a second location, but no details were given and no firm plans have been established.