Dollywood — Safety issue- Snakes in park, by children feeding ducks and inside water rides
I am a single mom with a moderate functioning son with autism. We came for three days and stayed at the Resort and got three day passes- for $1, 395. Crossing the walking bridge, my Son wanted to watch the ducks swimming- the bridge is right between the Hot Rod/ 1960's area and the River Ride. Bridge is maybe four feet off ground, water was barely 8 inches deep. In the water swimming was a copperhead snake. A man confirmed this and said it was "like the alligator problem at Disney". Another patron had a double stroller- and toddler trying to feed ducks.
I am not a snake expert- and appreciate some are venomous but not poisonous, but the snake was too close and was obviously headed somewhere- unfortunately to a water ride. I was told that there are confirmed copperheads (and that theirs do get in the water), water moccasins/ cottonmouths, and a water type version of a garter snake. Unfortunately, you have to look at specific features to ascertain the type of snake. My Son saw the snake and was literally terrified. We went on the adjacent water ride- I was the only adult in a tube with three other children and my Son. Another snake- I honestly did not know what to do if they were injured. I could not calm them down. And then- in the dark area we did the water mine car ride. Another snake. We purchased the 2019 photo package for $87 to get pictures because we were told it is easier, we will not get phones wet or lost on rides, etc. We went mainly on water rides- and so we had 4 photos for the day. I asked why the photos were not taken during the water rides--- was told that a few rides had been removed for shake issues and that "since we are in the wilderness" that pictures of some water rides would document "wildlife"---/ i.e Snakes. I was told we would only likely to be with copperheads or the water garter- but again you have to look at a specific feature to determine which type the snake is.
So, basically I feel so stupid. I have a photo pass but had zero idea it might "document" snakes. I honestly did not think there would be a "snake problem" at a theme park, especially after Disney's incident, and definitely not in rides. Unfortunately, I was told the copperheads are territorial so when a ride is removed, they remain in the relatively same location.
But, there is no sign. I had zero clue. I feel so stupid. My Son was so upset with his autism, we didn't get there until 7pm today- solely to see the Halloween lights.
There clearly is a known problem- under pedestrian bridges where ducks are fed by children. And inside some water rides which is extremely upsetting to mr and my child. Just a sign or gate would have been nice to have- any type of notification to be on the lookout. I cannot I identify the snake, am definitely not going to lift on to look at it's designated features, and would mot know how to suck venom if require d.
I only told two employees there today because we were only there from 7-close at 9. - they confirmed "we have a a lot of wildlife' if I has known that, and was had three snakes, bear, bobcats, mountain lions, raccoon, skunks . There needs to be a warning in places where snakes are. They should not be in the ride waters. And my som and even I was terrified. Please address this. I don't want anyone hurt
. We lost 2 days of the park for it, and paid $1400. Wednesday night when this happened our room was under $400. The Halloween designs are beautiful! Ans nearly everyone is delightful and treated my autistic son with dignity and understanding. But, snakes are snakes We had not had a vacation in three years- my Son is an angel, but $1400 is a lot for the after we had ni sleep and a meltdown
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