It’s Time to Get Wet!

Subscribe to A Day in the Smokies!Summer is here, the sun is shining, and everyone wants to know how they can get wet! Come to the Smokies for your vacation and you can find a different way to get wet for every day of the week!

Stay in one of our cabins with pool access!1. Rent a Cabin or Chalet with Pool Access
ERA in the Smokies offers a number of different cabins with pool access! An undeniably fun water umbrella accompanies the wonderful pool and clubhouse in the luxurious Black Bear Falls Community, where several of our cabins are located! Bear Pond, Cub’s Crossing, Sapphire Smoke, Moose Crossing, and Bear’s Eye View offer wonderful views, luxury interiors, and of course that pool, all within about 5 minutes of Downtown Gatlinburg. Pointe of Grace, On the Rocks, Shiloh, and Squirrel’s Nest are all part of the expansive Chalet Village that boasts three different clubhouses, with a total of 3 swimming pools, a lap pool, and 3 kiddie pools.

Visit the Gatlinburg Community Center!2. Pools at the Community Centers
If your cabin doesn’t have pool access, no worries! The Gatlinburg Community Center has an indoor pool that you can enjoy for just $2 per person per day for adults, and $1.50 per child per day! The Pigeon Forge Community Center (865-429-7373) boasts both an indoor pool and an outdoor pool! The indoor pool is $6 per person per day, and the outdoor pool is just $2 per child per day, and $2.50 per adult per day! The Sevierville Community Center (865-455-5441) has an indoor pool, which will be closed through August for renovations, but who cares, when you can visit the Sevierville City Park’s outdoor Aquatic Center (865-429-1504) for just $3 per adult per day, $2.50 per child per day, and $1.25 per spectator per day! You can enjoy one pool or another year-round, rain, snow, or shine here in the Smokies!

Enjoy playing in the mountain streams!3. Enjoy Mountain Streams
Why come to the Smokies if you’re going to spend all your time in a pool? Take at least one day to visit the National Park, and enjoy some of those refreshing mountain streams! Whether you’re rock-hopping, jumping into a swimming hole, or just laying out on a huge rock, listening to the glorious sound of the water rushing by, you’re sure to get addicted to those mountain streams! Some of our favorite places to play in the streams are at the picnic areas at Metcalf Bottoms, Greenbriar, and the Chimney Tops. And since you’re at a picnic area, why not have a picnic while you’re there!

Go Rafting with the Nantahala Outdoors Center!4. 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! Here are just a few: Smoky Mountain Outdoors, Rafting in the Smokies, and Nantahala Outdoor Center.

Visit Douglas Lake!5. Go Swimming at Douglas Lake
Yet another way to enjoy water in the Smokies is to head to nearby Douglas Lake! TVA has provided two recreation areas and a picnic pavilion at the Douglas Reservoir. The Douglas Dam Headwater Campground (besides campsites and related facilities) offers “picnic tables, swimming beach, boat ramp, walking trail, wildlife viewing area, [and] bird-watching.” The Douglas Dam Tailwater Campground offers many of the same amenities, but seems to be more oriented to fishing than swimming: “picnic tables and grills, group pavilion available by reservation, boat ramp, river fishing with fishing pier, bait and tackle shop, wildlife viewing area, [and] bird-watching.”

Playing in the Rain is Great Joy!6. Play in the Rain
Don’t let those cloudy skies discourage you! What better way to get wet than to just let it fall on you! There are more ways to play in the rain than I imagined! For starters, you can jump into all those lovely puddles! You can slide in the wet grass! You can play sports in the rain, ride your bike in the rain, or even take a romantic walk with that special someone… yes… in the rain!

Come to Dollywood's Splash Country!7. Dollywood’s Splash Country
And of course what many, including my husband, see as the mecca of getting wet in the Smokies- Dollywood’s Splash Country! They offer enough water attractions to keep you busy all summer! Besides a huge wave pool and my husband’s all time favorite- the lazy river, Splash Country boasts more than 23 water slides and thrill rides! “Slick Rock Racer, a multi-lane mat slide for the 2010 season, spans 300 feet and features four water-drenched lanes, each side by side. Positioned belly down on mats, each rider travels head first on a channel which includes an initial dip to build speed. Multiple bumps along the length of the slide allow riders to gain additional momentum which propels them to the finish. The new attraction can accommodate approximately 600 guests an hour.” ERA in the Smokies sells discount tickets to Dollywood and Splash Country! Call the number listed below for more information! I can’t wait!

ERA In The SmokiesThis 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.

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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.