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/Pigeon Forge ) - A new generation of roller coasters that give you a watery rush, a salute to the children who sailed on the Titanic and a giant Ferris wheel await visitors to Pigeon Forge
and the Great Smoky Mountains in 2013.
RiverRush at Dollywood's Splash Country
RiverRush, Tennessee's first water coaster, opens in May at Dollywood's Splash Country waterpark. It comes a year after Dollywood itself premiered Wild Eagle, the first wing-design roller coaster in the U.S.
RiverRush adds water to the climbs, drops, twists and turns of traditional terrestrial coasters. Four-person toboggan-style boats climb 237 feet up a conveyor as the 1,175-foot-long ride begins.
It's four stories tall, with hairpin turns and dark tunnels that create an unexpected waterpark experience.
Dollywood Extends Summer Hours
On June 22, Dollywood inaugurates the "Great American Summer," six weeks of extended operation. A live performance of "The Star Spangled Banner" starts each day at 10 a.m., and a music-synchronized fireworks display called "Dolly's Nights of Many Colors" caps the day off at 10 p.m.
Dollywood won five Golden Ticket Awards in 2012, the industry's top awards. Among them were awards for the best live entertainment and for being the friendliest park anywhere.
The Year of Children at the Titanic
The Titanic Museum Attraction is honoring the 133 children who traveled on the Titanic in 1912. "Discover the Children of Titanic" is the theme of special exhibits and events about the luxurious ship's youngest passengers.
"The children's stories are no less important or dramatic than those of the ship's elite passengers," said John Joslyn, leader of the first private exploration dive to the shipwreck.
High Above It All
You can get a high-flying bird's-eye view of Pigeon Forge and Great Smoky Mountains National Park at the Great Smoky Mountain Wheel -- a towering Ferris wheel lifting you 200 feet in the air.
The attraction opens in spring as an early component of The Island in Pigeon Forge, a retail-entertainment-dining-lodging complex.
Find information about all aspects of Pigeon Forge at MyPigeonForge.com, or call 800-251-9100.