Smokies Attractions: Country-Style Theme Parks and More
A stay in the Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge area is your access to a fun-filled vacation your family will prize for years to come. These small resort towns, long-time favorites of generations of vacationers, are well known for their amazing attractions, spectacular scenery, and down-home country feel. They’re also known as a gateway to the most visited national park in the country—The Great Smoky Mountains National Park.
While there’s lots of natural beauty to explore on your visit to East Tennessee, you won’t want to miss out on the area’s rousing entertainment and exciting attractions, from Dollywood® to country comedy dinner theater. And when you’re ready for a bit more activity, you’ll find plenty to see and do, like aquariums and zoos, and lots in of unique stops in between.
Here’s our list of attractions won’t want to miss when visiting Gatlinburg, Pigeon Forge and the Smoky Mountains.
And for a comfortable and affordable stay, take a look at Bluegreen’s discounted Smokies getaways!
While the Smoky Mountains has quite a reputation when it comes to finding trout, did you know that this is a great place to come face to fin with hundreds of exotic underwater creatures? Ripley’s® Aquarium of The SmokiesTM offers an impressive fish tank that allows you to walk under ferocious shark, sea turtles and shockingly cool eels without finding yourself in danger of even getting wet! Check out the tropical rainforest with a native inhabitant called the Amazon arapaima. This fish can make an exhaling sound that can be heard 100 feet away—believe it or not.
If you’re traveling with young kids, be sure to spend some time at Touch a Ray Bay. Here, they can reach out into a shallow lagoon and touch these smooth creatures. One of the best things about this exhibit is that educators are on hand to teach the kids—and parents.
This destination is a must for any vacation in the Smokies.
Love puzzles and tricks? Optical illusions? You’re sure to love Ripley’s Mirror Maze. Full of bright neon colors and lots of mirrors, it’s a visual must see. The maze, made up of thousands of mirrors and neon lights, plays many fun tricks on the eye. As you walk through, the stunning optical illusions make it hard to tell whether you’re walking down a hallway, or into a dead end. You can visit more than once, since tickets for the Mirror Maze are good for the entire day, and guests may re-enter as many times as they please.
What family vacation would be complete without America’s best-loved classic amusements? A must-see among the many Gatlinburg attractions is the Fun Mountain Amusement Park. It’s an attraction loved by visiting families with children of all ages, and features a wide variety of rides and activities, like bumper cars, a Ferris wheel, miniature golf, the largest arcade in the area, and a variety of midway games.
Brace yourself for a live-action subway ride through a simulated earthquake. During this hair-raising adventure, you’ll experience swaying sidewalks, collapsing ceilings, tracks caving into the ground and wailing sirens—plus a slew of gut-wrenching sights associated with destruction.
Did you know that there’s an island in the middle of the Smoky Mountains? It may not be surrounded by water but The Island in Pigeon Forge is a “beachy” entertainment oasis that’s fun for the whole family. The shopping area of this complex offers more than 60 shops, lots of restaurants and food carts, and entertaining rides and games. There’s even a dancing fountain complete with colored lights and over 90 water spouts, one of which shoots water 60 feet in the air.
At the foot of Great Smoky Mountains National Park sits one of the tallest attractions in the Southeast: The Great Smoky Mountain Wheel. This 200-foot-tall rotating behemoth is found inside The Island in Pigeon Forge, where it spins riders around in glass gondolas that provide comfort and unmatched views of the beautiful Smokies.
The Main Attraction
Whichever of these attractions you choose in the Smokies, you can stay at MountainLoft™ for an affordable and relaxing getaway from the hustle and bustle.
Sunset on the Island by Jim Grey CC-BY-NC-ND-2.0