Things to do in Gatlinburg- For Kids!

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When vacationing in Gatlinburg, many visitors look for something fun to do with their kids. There are a range of activities to participate in from hiking in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park to riding bumper cars in downtown Gatlinburg. There are many cheap or free things to do in Gatlinburg also if you are on a budget. At the Nantahala Outdoor Center right before the National Park in downtown Gatlinburg, kids can climb the rock wall while you shop for new camping gear.Climbing_with_NOC_(001) The NOC is a great place for the whole family. There are several Ripley’s attractions throughout downtown Gatlinburg  including Ripley’s Aquarium in the Smokies with an interactive kids area, live mermaid diving shows and a specially designed kid friendly penguin exhibit, Davy penguinsCrockett mini golf, Ripley’s Haunted Adventure, Ripley’s Marvelous Mirror Maze and Candy store, Ripley’s Moving Theater, Ripley’s Fun Zone, and the famous Ripley’s Believe It Or Not Museum. Ober Gatlinburg also has a lot to offer not only in the winter months, but in the summer months as well. Ride the Aerial Tramway from downtown Gatlinburg up to Ober Gatlinburg and enjoy the best views of the Great Smoky Mountains. After you get to the top, visit the Wildlife Encounter where you can see Bears. While on your visit to Ober Gatlinburg spend a few hours Ice Skating, ride the Alpine Slide, the Scenic Chairlift, the Blue Cyclone Rapids water slide and Ober’s Lightin’ Raft Ride and alpine slideShoot-the-Chute. There is also a fun-filled Amaze’n Maze and a Kiddie Land and Rides for children.

Gatlinburg also offers Zip-lining, Whitewater Rafting, hiking, biking, horseback riding and fishing noc raftingspots. You may book zip-lining and white water rafting trips through the NOC in downtown Gatlinburg as well as rent bicycles for the day and get information about where to go fishing. The Sugarlands Visitors Center is also a great place to take your children for free where the whole family can learn about the history of the park and go through the wildlife museum inside the Visitors Center. Get information about the Junior Ranger program and the activities that your children may participate in for free. Cades Cove is also an excellent place to take your family in the park. Take a ranger led hayride through Cades Cove for $14.00 per person.

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Mynatt Park, one of Gatlinburg’s City parks, is near downtown Gatlinburg. Take the family to the park for a picnic lunch, to play in the river, play on the jungle gym, or even play a fun game of tennis or basketball. All kids live candy, so while downtown visit any of the local Candy stores where the candy is made on site. Watch Saltwater Taffy being made at Ole Smoky’s Candy Kitchen.

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Stay with ERA In The Smokies and easily access all that Gatlinburg has to offer for the entire family!

Ten Cheap or FREE things to do in Gatlinburg-2013

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1. Driving Trails- Enjoy nature and view wildlife on these driving trails: Trail of the Dragon, Balsam Mountain Road, Cades Cove Loop Road, Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail, Upper Tremont Road, Newfound Gap Road and the Cataloochee Valley.

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2. 8 mile driving loop around the Arts and Crafts Community- With more than 120 working artisans this loop is the nations largest organization of independent artisans.

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3. Historic Structures in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park– There are over 90 structures preserved or rehabilitated in the park. You can see them in Cades Cove, Cataloochee, Oconaluftee and the Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail.

4. Free Wine Tasting- Try locally made wines at these wineries: Smoky Mountain Winery, Sugar-lands Cellars, Ole Smoky Winery and Moonshine Distillery

5. Sugar-lands Visitor Center- Pick up maps and see exhibits of Mountain life and culture as well as all of the different species of animals that can be found here in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

6. Outdoor Activities- Bicycling, Camping, Fishing, Hiking and Picnicking. There are many places in the park to enjoy multiple activities such as the Chimmeys Picnic area, the Greenbrier Picnic area, the Metcalf Bottoms Picnic area and Cades Cove.biking

Seasonal Events:

7. Winterfest– This event brings the opportunity to meet new people, learn new skills, share ideas and compete against other posts and crews and have fun.

8.Smoky Mountain Harvest Festival– Beginning in September, the people of Gatlinburg celebrate the Autumn colors by decorating and entertaining guests and start out with the Fall Craftsman’s Fair.

9. New Year’s Eve Ball Drop– Celebrate the New Year at Gatlinburg’s 26th annual Ball Drop and Fireworks Show around the intersection of the Parkway in downtown Gatlinburg and the Historic Nature Trail at the Base of the Space Needle late Tuesday night, December 31, 2013.

10. Gatlinburg Festival of Lights Christmas Parade- Celebrate the Christmas season at Gatlinburg’s 38th annual Fantasy of Lights Christmas Parade at 7:30 p.m. on Friday December 7, 2013. There will be over 100 parade entries, helium balloons and marching bands from Tennessee, North Carolina, Virginia, Georgia and Alabama. gatlinburgchristmasparade

Gatlinburg Adventures Zip, Zorb & More!

Subscribe to A Day In The SmokiesSummer is a great time to enjoy all the adventure the Smokies has to offer!

Go Ziplining!Ziplines
Just imagine… gliding through the shady emerald tree tops, the cool wind brushing across your face, and of course, luscious, verdant views all around! Ziplining has become quite a big deal around here. There are places, right off the main Parkway, where you can enjoy easy access, and still experience the thrill off the wind whipping across your face. If you want to enjoy ziplining in the lush green forest canopy, there are places that offer this as well! Check out our related post Zipline Fever.

Enjoy the Thrill of Rafting!Rafting and Tubing
As an East Tennessee kid, rafting and tubing were an integral part of my childhood! A week of summer camp wasn’t complete without at least one or the other, if not both! If you love thrill and adventure, look no further than a day of white water rafting! You will be an irreplaceable member of your rafting team, as you learn to paddle together according to your guide’s instructions! Experience the thrill of making it through those roaring rapids, and in the intensity, don’t forget to look at the gorgeous creation around you! If you are more interested in viewing the creation and less interested in thrill and adventure, perhaps tubing is for you! Enjoy a lovely afternoon floating down a calmer section of a creek or small river as you gaze at the beautiful surroundings! Either way, don’t forget the sunscreen! There are tons of places around here that can provide these aquatic adventures for you! See our related posts for more info Let’s Get Wet.

Try Indoor SkydivingIndoor Skydiving
This vertical wind tunnel that allows you to experience the freedom of human flight and is located at traffic light #5 in Pigeon Forge. As a flyer, participants attend a 20-minute training class, receive a suit, helmet & other safety equipment. Following a short review of the basics, a group of 5 flyers enters the wind tunnel with their instructor. Almost anyone can fly as long as you weigh at least 40 lbs. Watch this video for a preview of kids in flight. Link to pricing & coupons.

Bungee Jumping!Bungee Jumping
I remember when I was on vacation with my family in Pigeon Forge as a kid, sitting at an ice cream shop, eating our ice cream, and watching people bungee jumping down the road. It certainly is a thrill! And it’s an institution of Pigeon Forge. You can enjoy both bungee jumping and the SkyFlyer, meant to give the sensation of sky diving, at The Track. While you’re there, the slightly less adventurous members of your group can enjoy mini golf, bumper boats, and of course, the Wild Woody Go Kart Track, as well as a few others!

Rock Wall ClimbingRopes Courses and Climbing
If you are looking for challenging, professional level rock climbing, especially on real rocks, we may have to plan a day trip. But if you are fairly new to climbing, or perhaps would enjoy an easy day, just for the fun of it, we have several options to choose from! The closest place to climb some real rocks is near Townsend, a place called Look Rock. It is said to provide some great views from an observation tower that is also there. There are two rock walls that I’ve heard about. WonderWorks in Pigeon Forge has one that’s fun for adults and children alike, not too difficult. The Nantahala Outdoor Center in Gatlinburg also has one that boasts different routes for all ages and skill levels! WonderWorks also has an indoor ropes course, and Dollywood has an outdoor one. The elements in each are fairly similar to each other, but I would say Dollywood’s course has a little more variety. Also, Dollywood’s course, Adventure Mountain, has 3 distinct “trails” (and a 4th trail for the little bitties!) which you go through, and each “trail” has 3 different tracks you can choose from and switch between at each element. The WonderWorks course is a web of varying elements which you travel through in any order you choose. Both are quite enjoyable and come with general admission to the larger attraction they are in- great deal!

ZORBZorb– The only ZORB™ location in the United States is located in the Smoky Mountain area. ZORB™ is the sport of rolling down a hill inside a giant inflatable ball and according to their website, “where New Zealand, once again leads the world in stupid things to do while you’re on a vacation.” See the video(follow the link if your browser does not display) below:

YES, that’s a person in the middle of this big ZORB™ ball! The ZORB™ ride is just a totally bizarre and fun adventure experience where you’d be protected by a massive cushion of air whilst sphering down a hill.

Throw in a bucket of water, hop inside the inflated ZORB™ ball, run, tumble, flip or slide inside it, doesn’t sound fun enough yet? Take up to 2 of your mates with you inside the ZORB™!

Visit Forbidden Caverns!Explore the Caves Under the Smokies
Why not go spelunking?! (I just like to use that word!) Or at least take a guided tour of the caves under the Smokies. “Tennessee is home to the most caves in the United States, with over 8,350 caves registered to date. Forbidden Caverns, located in Sevierville, Tennessee is one of America’s most spectacular caverns. Visitors are provided with an entertaining and educational tour past sparkling formations, towering natural chimneys, numerous grottos and a crystal clear stream. Special lighting effects, a stereophonic sound presentation and well-trained tour guides combine to make this a most enjoyable experience. The trails are well-lighted, with handrails at all necessary points.”
“Carved over tens of thousands of years in one of the earth’s oldest mountain chains, Tuckaleechee Caverns at Townsend, Tenn., are known as the ‘Greatest Site Under the Smokies’. Estimated to be between 20 and 30 million years old, the Caverns are rich in history and lore in recent years as well.”

Try Riding ATVs!ATV (and other off-road) Adventures
If you want to stay closer to the Smokies and/or don’t have your own ATV to ride, check out the ATV rides available with Bluff Mountain Adventures! They provide the ATV, safety equipment, and a guided tour. Ride types range from introductory to challenging, from 5 to 20 miles, and from $37.95 to $177.95 (plus tax and insurance). They have great reviews, so check them out! If you have your own ATV, dirt bike, Jeep, etc., and would like to enjoy a great OHV area, try Coal Creek, about 1.5 hours away from here. It would be a great day trip! “The Coal Creek OHV Area is 72,000 acres of off-road fun, located in Oliver Springs, Tennessee. Hundreds of off-roaders can be found every weekend enjoying our trails. The trails are open to everyone and just about any type of vehicle. ATV’s, motorcycles, mountain bikes, Jeeps, buggies, trucks all enjoy some of the best off-roading in the country.”

Enjoy a Haunted Tour of Gatlinburg!Haunted Tours
There are a few haunted houses in Gatlinburg. “Ripley’s Haunted Adventure is a multi-million dollar haunted house featuring live actors, animatronics and bone chilling special effects.” “Experience the terror and horror of a classic, turn of the century, truly haunted house at Mysterious Mansion. Walk into a chilling haunted house with secret passageways, a damp, dark dungeon, spooks, creaks, creeps and plenty of things that go bump in the night. There’s an army of ghosts, and grisly creatures awaiting your arrival, all designed with fright in mind. Ghastly. Grisly. Grim. They can not describe the horror that awaits you at the ultimate scare in town – Mysterious Mansion. Don’t dare miss it! And, what ever you do, don’t go there alone!” For something a little more serious try the Haunted Ghost Tour of Gatlinburg. While haunted houses may be frightful, the ghost stories you’ll hear on this tour have a much larger measure of truth in them. Hear the actual ghost stories of the Smokies as you walk around town and view the places where the stories are said to have taken place. Learn a little about the history of Gatlinburg as well. And take your camera! Your guide will instruct you to take pictures at certain key locations, and you may be surprised by what you find when you look back at your pictures afterward!

After an exhausting day of grand adventures snuggle down in your own cabin to rest up for another exciting day in the Smokies!

ERA In The Smokies Realty and RentalsThis blog is sponsored by ERA In The Smokies Realty and Rentals located at 207 Parkway in Gatlinburg. For more info. on a Gatlinburg Cabin for your Smoky Mountain Vacation or all the reasons to move to the Smokies, call 1-800-309-0277. ERA In The Smokies is a leader in chalet and Log Cabin Rentals and Real Estate Sales in the Gatlinburg area.