Stay Warm – Come On In!

Planning your vacation this Winter? Look no further than the Great Smoky Mountains! There are a slew of indoor activities in the area. Whether you’re here with family or on a couples retreat, we have something for you!

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As you drive into Sevier County, you’ll see the crazy large upside-down house known as Wonderworks! This 35,000 square ft. house is jam packed with FUN for the whole family! Inside you’ll find over a hundred hands on exhibits for all ages, with six different “Wonder Zones” to explore. They mix education with entertainment for an experience you’re family won’t forget. Don’t miss the glow in the dark indoor ropes course, sure to bring out the child side in you. If you want to get your adrenaline going, try out the Rock Climbing wall or the Xtreme 360 Bicycle attraction. They even have a bubble lab- where you can blow bubbles bigger than a person! After touring the museum, head over to The Wonders of Magic Show with Terry Evanswood.

The Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies is a true favorite with two levels of sea-sational entertainment. The Penguin Playhouse lets you view the wonderful life of a penguin. They even have a crawl through tunnel for the kids to get an up close and personal look! You can touch a jellyfish or a horseshoe crab in the Discovery Zone. If you would rather stay at bay, take a ride on the 340 ft. glidepath through the tunnel for an experience that is one of a kind. You truly feel like you’re a part of the ocean surrounded by sharks, sea turtles, stingrays and more!

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Lose yourself in a world beyond at MagiquestMaqiquest.jpgThis role-playing game lets you interact with other players as you work your way through quests and other adventures. Use real magic wands to battle your way through and solve the game’s mysteries. Once you complete all three Rune Quests, you can then become a Master Magi.

The Hollywood Wax Museum is located in Pigeon Forge and is the only one in the country that is entirely devoted to celebrity figures. This picture perfect attraction allows you to immerse yourself into Hollywood with lifelike statues of the most famous people of show-biz. Photo-ops are sure to impress your friends with amazing folks such as Charlie Chaplain, Marilyn Monroe, Brad Pitt and more. Check out the other attractions they offer with an all access pass – Hannah’s Maze of Mirrors, Castle of Chaos and Outbreak Dread the Undead.

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We want to welcome Alcatraz East Crime Museum as the newest addition alcatraz-banner-cropto attractions in the Smokies. This  unique museum has artifacts straight from Alcatraz itself, but that’s not all! It’s divided into five different categories: History of Crime, Crime Scene Investigation, The Consequence of Crime, Crime Fighting and Pop Culture. They boast over 500 artifacts and 28 different areas with interactive exhibits.

 

LOGO with textThis 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, Pigeon Forge, and Smoky Mountain areas.

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Perfect Predators: Sharks!

Perfect Predators: SharksRipley’s Aquarium of the Smokies has a new exhibit, Perfect Predators: Sharks, for a limited time! This wonderful exhibit includes over 30 hands-on interactive displays. In honor of their new exhibit, extreme underwater cameraman Mark Rackley from the Discovery Channel’s Shark Week will be at the Aquarium tomorrow, January 12th at 6pm to help with a special presentation. Don’t miss your chance to join in the fun! Limited seating is available so call 888-240-1358.

Mark Rackley Productions“Mark has filmed deadly predators for over 20 years and specializes in underwater videography. His unique shots and his ability to hold his breath for over 5 minutes allows him to get ‘up close and personal’ with all his subjects.” To find out more about Mark Rackley and his amazing work, visit his website!

Below are some great pictures, provided by the aquarium, to give you an idea about their wonderful new exhibit!

Ripley's Shark ExhibitRipley's Shark Exhibit
Ripley's Shark ExhibitRipley's Shark Exhibit
Ripley's Shark ExhibitRipley's Shark Exhibit

ERA In The SmokiesThis blog is sponsored in part by ERA In The Smokies Realty and Rentals located at 207 Parkway in Gatlinburg, TN. For more information 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.

GATLINBURG: Unique Smoky Mountain Weddings

Subscribe to A Day in the SmokiesThe Gatlinburg area is second only to Las Vegas in the number of weddings we host each year! And no wonder, when it is so easy to get married here, with so many options to choose from, and then you’re right here in the perfect honeymoon location as well! There have been some pretty unique weddings around here! Maybe you’d like to try one of these ideas for your wedding!

Get Married at the Bass Pro Shop!Bass Pro Shop Wedding
That’s right… not too long ago, a couple held their camoflauge-themed wedding at the Bass Pro Shop in Sevierville. It was the perfect wedding location for them, and apparently they aren’t the first people to hold their ceremony there, according to the employees. Maybe you are planning a camo-themed wedding, or love the outdoors, but plan to get married in the dead of winter… The Bass Pro Shop may be the perfect fit for you too!

Hold your ceremony at Ripley's Aquarium of the Smokies!Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies Wedding
Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies offers several different wedding packages, depending mostly on the number of your guests. Even if you aren’t a big aquatic life fan, you have to admit that it would be gorgeous and extremely classy to get married before a beautiful backdrop of that deep blue with colorful fish swimming past!

Get Married at Cades Cove!Cades Cove Wedding
If you would like an outdoor wedding, what better place than the National Park! Or maybe you would like to get married in one of the historic chapels at Cades Cove, the most popular section of the Park! All that history in the setting of such beautiful creation sets my heart to longing! And what beautiful wedding photos you would have!

 

Get Married at Patriot ParkPatriot Park Wedding
Another great spot for an outdoor wedding is at Patriot Park, specifically down by the river! If you want to use the gazebo there, you do have to reserve it, but if not, you can just walk right in and have your ceremony wherever you like! Just be aware that you probably won’t have the whole park to yourself!

Have a Drive-Thru Wedding!Drive Thru Wedding
Perhaps you are only interested in BEING married and you don’t care one bit about the ceremony! A Drive Thru Wedding may be just the thing! Quick, simple, and inexpensive! Even with this, various packages are available, including one or more pictures, cake, etc. Just don’t forget, in your rush, that this could be the biggest day of your life… don’t let it pass by unnoticed!

Hard Rock Wedding!Hard Rock Cafe Wedding
Our Hard Rock Cafe here in Gatlinburg has the distinction of being the only Hard Rock Cafe in the world with a wedding chapel! Obviously this is the perfect place to get married if you are a hard-core rock ‘n roll fan, or even if burgers, fries, and rock music in the background sounds to you like the perfect reception! 

A Dollywood Dream Wedding!Dollywood Wedding
Some people get married at Disney World, but personally, I would rather get married at Dollywood! They have a beautiful historic chapel there that you could get married in, and then right outside your door is a wonderful adventure park filled with beautiful gardens, shows, rides, and restaurants with food choices that are sure to satisfied the pickiest child and the more adventurous adults!

Pick out a honeymoon cabin!And if you are looking for somewhere unique to have your rehearsal dinner, visit one of the numerous restaurants or dinner shows in town! A couple of our favorites are the Dixie Stampede and the extremely hilarious Hoot ‘N Holler Dinner Show!

And don’t forget to stay in a cozy cabin in the mountains for the honeymoon! The folks at ERA in the Smokies can set you right up! We could even provide accommodations for your whole wedding party if they all want to enjoy the Smokies for a few days as well!

ERA In The SmokiesThis blog is sponsored in part by ERA In The Smokies Realty and Rentals located at 207 Parkway in Gatlinburg, TN. For more information 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.

Things to Do: Gatlinburg Fun for the Kids

Gatlinburg loves Kids!Gatlinburg is well known for being “family friendly,” but some folks will assume that a giant yawn is the price to be paid for a little family fun.  Not true in Gatlinburg, TN.  I have a soon-to-be 10 year old, and this small handful of activities has been kid-tested and parent-approved.  Just between you and me… I’d happlily return to most of these without the kid.  And if you’re not bring your kids on your next trip, just call it research…I’ll never tell.

WonderWorks!1.  Wonderworks.  The self-proclaimed amusment park of the mind, Wonderworks is one of my child’s favorite destinations.  You can experience an earthquake, scale a rock face, explore outer space, design a roller coaster, ride an extreme 360 degree bike, or put your self in a bubble of your own making.  Did I mention the building is upside down?  Your kids won’t want to leave (and neither will you)Click here for a page of video links. Stop by our office (207 Parkway) & pick up a coupon.

Comedy Barn2. Comedy Barn.  This theater is located in Pigeon Forge just a short 10 – 15 minute drive from downtown Gatlinburg.  is the award winning family comedy variety show in the Smokey Mountains.  The side-splitting show features magicians, fire-eaters, jugglers, ventriloquists, clean family comedians, live music AND barn yard animals. My child had soda sqirting out his nostrils during this one–clearly he thought it was hilarious.  Click here to see a sneak peek video.

Alpine Slide at Ober Gatlinburg3. Alpine Slide at Ober Gatlinburg – Your ride combines a Scenic Chairlift ride up the mountain with a fun filled weaving, wandering dipping descent on one of two 1800′ tracks through woods and ski trails. You can control your own speed with a braking device on each sled. Accelerate or slow down as you ride down the mountain through curves, straight-aways and hairpin turns into the valley.  Watche a video preview here. Price: $7.00 per person.

Be a Junior Ranger!4. Junior Ranger Program.  Kids—if you’re between the ages of 5-12, you can become a Junior Ranger! Pick up a Junior Ranger booklet for $2.50 at any park visitor center or at the Cades Cove or Elkmont campground. Complete the activities in the booklet then stop by a visitor center to talk to a ranger and receive your Junior Ranger badge.  You can become a Junior Ranger at any time of year, but during spring, summer, and fall, ranger-led Junior Ranger programs are offered especially for children. Read through the schedule of ranger-led programs to find these special Junior Ranger programs.  See previous blog post about the Junior Ranger Program.

Contact Us for Tickets!5. Ripley’s Aquarium – Trip Advisor travelers voted this attraction the #1 Aquarium in United States.  My family went to the aquarium the last week of May, and it was awe inspiring.  The tunnel puts you just on the otherside of the glass from sharks as they swim over your head.  Kids of all ages can touch horseshoe crabs and stingrays and watch divers feed the sharks.  See video from the Aquarium here.  The Saw Nose Shark (saw fish) is my favorite (pictured right). Contact Us for discount tickets!

MagiQuest6. MagiQuest .  A 28,000 square foot indoor amusement park that offers an interactive magical journey that is tracked by your very own magical wand (think Pendragon & Harry Potter) also available is Pirate Golf in blacklight, Odyssey Mirror Maze, The Vault Laser Tag and so much more.  This attraction will earn you brownie points like no other.

Go Skydiving!7. Flyaway Indoor Skydiving.  This vertical wind tunnel that allows you to experience the freedom of human flightand 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.

Walk with the Dinosaurs!8. Dinosaur Walk Museum.  Come face-to-face with a Tyrannosaurus Rex! Count the spikes on a Stegosaurus tail. Stand next to one of the most common predators, the Allosaurus.  At this museum, the dinosaurs aren’t fossils or bones. They are life-size sculptures. You & your family can see one of the world’s largest collections of prehistoric animals, ranging from the two-story-high Tyrannosaurus Rex to a tiny 12-inch tall Microraptor. Other exhibits include giant sea lizards, flying reptiles, and replicas of bones, skulls, and skeletons of ancient prehistoric creatures.  Pricing: Adults: $9.95, kids 4–18: $6.95 , kids 3 & under: free.  Pricing does not include tax.

KidsFest 2009 at Dollywood9.  Dollywood KidsFest 2009.  This theme park is a favorite of adults & children alike year ’round.  However, Kidsfest is an extra special time at the park. In 2009, the dates are June 12 to August 2, and the feature this year is Creature Adventures starring the Kratt Brothers, the original creature adventurers, and all of their amazing animal friends! See Chris and Martin Kratt, stars of PBS’ popular Zoboomafoo series, as they introduce a fascinating cast of creatures.  Click here for a full range of events.

Built In Entertainment!10.  Rent a Cabin – Kids love a theme, & themed vacations are no exception.  Make a reservation at the swanky Bear Feet Adventure, enjoy a spectacular view from the Hillbilly Hilton, or go rustic with the chestnut logs of Riverhaven.  They are cheaper than you think, and if you count the savings of having a fully-equipped kitchen, premium movie channels, pool table & swimming pool access, some cabins could be considered cost-efficient, pre-planned vacations within themselves.

This is just a sample because we could go on and on and on about all the things for kids (of all ages) to do in Gatlinburg. If you have any questions about a specific attraction that I haven’t covered, email me at marketing@erainthesmokies.com .  I’m happy to let you know whether your selection is kid-tested and/or parent approved.

For more ideas, see our post Things To Do: Gatlinburg Fun For The Kids- Part 2!

ERA In The Smokies Realty & RentalsThis blog is sponsored in part by ERA In The Smokies Realty and Rentals located at 207 Parkway in Gatlinburg, TN.  For more information 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.