The Canyon Flyer at Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park

Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park is one of just a few family-held theme parks in the U.S.

Changing tastes in entertainment and strong competition from new diversions mean family-owned theme parks must find innovative ways to attract people to their playgrounds. While mega-parks like Disneyland and Cedar Point cater to corporate investors for more and more roller coasters, smaller parks like Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park carve our niche with unique locations – like a the top of a mountain or inside a cave  – responsive service and often a dose of the old days.

Dollywood is also one of a few family-owned theme parksFewer than half of the Top Ten parks recommended by are corporate-owned. Family-owned playgrounds on the list include Knoebels in Pennsylvania, Holiday World in Indiana (sometimes considered the oldest U.S. theme park), Adventureland in Iowa and Morgan’s Wonderland in Texas.

Our closest cousin in the family of family-owned theme parks is Herschend Family Entertainment that started with Silver Dollar City in Branson, Missouri, and now has 23 locations in six states, including Dollywood – known as Silver Dollar City Tennessee until Dolly Parton partnered.

Like Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park, Silver Dollar City in the Ozarks started with a cave originally explored in the 19th century that eventually became a tourist attraction. (It was originally called Marble Cave but changed to Marvel Cave when the smooth rock turned out to be limestone rather than marble.) They still give tours, and they’ve added thrill rides, restaurants and other amusements over the years.

Silver Doller City has a Giant Barn Swing designed, like our Giant Canyon Swing, by S&S Worldwide, which also has installations at Cedar Point and Dollywood as well as in Russia, Sweden, Japan and the United Kingdom. Silver Dollar City also has an eight-story drop tower, FireFall. Our Haunted Mine Drop that opened this summer descends more than 11 stories and goes underground.

We’re proud to be among the family-owned theme parks that are there for your family.

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Gene Stowe

Gene Stowe

Gene Stowe was a reporter for The Charlotte (N.C.) Observer for 13 years and head of the writing program at Trinity School at Greenlawn, a four-time U.S. Department of Education Blue Ribbon School in South Bend, Ind., for 10 years before he became a full-time freelance writer in 2008. His first book, Inherit the Land: Jim Crow Meets Miss Maggie’s Will, was published in 2006. He lives in Monroe, N.C.
Gene Stowe

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