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Dolly Parton Shares with Jenna Bush about Her Family and Childhood Memories

Jaimie-lee Prince
May 17, 2019
02:46 P.M.
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Dolly Parton took Jenna Bush Hager around her new theme park and talked about her amazing childhood during which she grew up with bears in her backyard.


The legendary country singer just completed her $37 million theme park expansion and Bush Hager was invited to take a look around.

The "Today with Hoda & Jenna" host walked around Parton's "Dollywood" Wildwood Grove park that stood at the foot of the Great Smoky Mountains of Tennessee. A clip of the interview is found below.


According to Knoxville News Sentinel, the expansion covers six acres and includes 11 attractions, all inspired by the singer's childhood which took place in the same location.

"I grew up with bears in our backyard," Parton explained, as the camera showed a man and his little boy on a bear ride. Bush Hager got a chance to start the ride before the two sat down near an elevated flying ride.

All the rides had nature or animal themes such as frogs, birds, bees, and butterflies, which Parton said she always loved. The iconic singer saw the whole thing as a way to honor her parents.


Parton also touched on her sense of self-worth and confidence, saying:

"I take great pride in who I am and what I do. I can walk in a room and I know what I've got to sell. I know what my gifts are. I got my business sense from my father."

Parton revealed that she got her "spiritual sense and creativity" from her mom, whose family were all musical. "I love everybody and I try to find the god light in everybody."

When Bush Hager commended her for the park, Parton expressed that she was still hoping to do more. "What is better than the laughter of kids?" she asked.


The expansion will reportedly give Dollywood Park a 20 percent increase overall. In total, $300 million was invested into the park according to Craig Ross, the President.

The last time Parton was on "Today," some viewers were left with a bitter taste in their mouth, as opposed to the joyful feeling from seeing the park. At the time, hosts Tom Steinfort and Tony Jones interviewed the singer.


Based on viewers' response though, the two men did a poor job of it when they joked about Parton's cleavage displayed in her Grammy Awards outfit.


Instead of opening with Parton's achievements, Steinfort introduced their guest with the remark, "She is age-defying and gravity-defying." Reporter Brooke Boney was taken aback. "I beg your pardon!" she cried out.

Yet Steinfort continued:

“Seeing those two on stage, I thought, was fantastic… and Miley of course.”

He was referring to Parton's performance with goddaughter Miley Cyrus at the event where Parton was honored with the MusiCares Person of the Year Award.

The backlash came in via Twitter with one person commenting, "More publicity for the show. Sometimes bad viewing is viewing for ratings." Others saw it as just a joke and dismissed it without care.