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Recently we shared with you 10 Outdoor Activities in the Great Smoky Mountains. If you are planning a trip to the Smoky Mountains you will want to check back for more posts in our series of things to do, places to stay, and food to eat in the Smoky Mountains.
10 Family Attractions in the Great Smoky Mountains
This 150 acre theme park is known for it’s down home charm. I love visiting Dollywood and can honestly say I’ve never had a bad experience. If thrill rides are your thing you will enjoy rides such as the Wild Eagle, America’s first wing coaster which soars 21 stories above Dollywood.
2. Dollywood’s Splash Country Water Adventure Park
With more than 23 water adventure slides and thrill rides Dollywood’s Splash Country is the perfect way to spend a hot summer day in the Great Smoky Mountains. Dollywood’s Splash Country offers excitement for all ages from the daring drops of RiverRush and Big Bear Plunge to the Mountain Scream body slide ride. From family fun water rides and two interactive children’s playground areas, there’s something for everyone!
No matter how many times I’ve been I still enjoy visiting Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies. From the Tropical Rainforest and the Coral Reef to the Touch a Ray Bay and Gallery of the Seas, the beauty of the underwater creatures will astound you. You can also enjoy the underwater life without getting wet through the Shark Lagoon. Travel 340 feet on a moving glidepath, winding your way through an underwater tunnel where you will come face to face with sharks, snappers, tarpons, sea turtles and giant stingrays. Be sure to visit the Ripley’s Cargo Hold Gift Shop on your way out for some unique souvenirs.
This 35,000 square foot attraction, located in Pigeon Forge, is advertised as being an “amusement park of the mind”. With more than 100 hands-on exhibits, WonderWorks combines education and entertainment in a way that challenges the mind and sparks the imagination. From the moment you see this upside down building your imagination will go into over-drive. At WonderWorks you will discover an inversion tunnel, a replica of the Mercury space capsule, an anti-gravity chamber, and a hurricane hole with 65-mph winds. You can also experience the effects of a 5.3 magnitude earthquake in an exhibit that recreates the 1989 San Francisco earthquake. WonderWorks also offers lazer tag and an indoor ropes course that you family is sure to enjoy.
Your family can discover the stories of the passengers and crew of The Titanic through this interactive gallery. At The Titanic you will learn the story behind the large ship and discover that their is so much more to the story than a ship hitting an iceberg.
6. The Island in Pigeon Forge
Visit The Island in Pigeon Forge, which is located just of the Pigeon Forge Parkway and is packed with things to do for the whole family. Take a ride on the Great Smoky Mountain Wheel, which offers a view of the Smokies, 200 feet in the air. Or, take a seat and enjoy the beautiful Island Show Fountain! Be sure to check out the many restaurants and eateries, retail shops, rides, games, live music and other attractions at The Island. The Island in Pigeon Forge is open at 10 a.m. daily.
7. Oconaluftee Indian Village
Take a short drive away from the hustle and bustle of Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg, to the beautiful Cherokee, North Carolina. While there be sure to visit the Oconaluftee Indian Village where you are immediately transported to the 1760s. With your guide, you will see the winding paths surrounded with traditional Cherokee dwellings, work areas, and sacred ritual sites. You can enjoy the cultural dances among the trees and interact with villagers as they hull canoes, sculpt pottery and masks, weave baskets and fashion beadwork. The Ocanaluftee Indian Village is open Monday thru Saturday, May 1st the mid-October.
8. Great Smoky Mountains Railroad
Experience the breathtaking views of the Smoky Mountains aboard the Great Smoky Mountains Railroad. Departing from Bryson City, North Carolina, just minutes outside of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, the railroad offers a variety of excursions and riding experiences. From a first class dining experience in an Open Air Gondola to a kid friendly experience on the Dinosaur Train. the Great Smoky Mountains Railroad offers experiences for the whole family.
Take a walk through the Odditorium in Gatlinburg where you will see shrunken heads, an authentic vampire killing kit, a 12ft tall Transformer sculpture made of scrap car parts, and tons of hands-on interactive exhibits and one-of-a-kind artwork. The Odditorium is open 365 days a year, hours vary. Purchase your Odditorium ticks individually or as a combo for other Ripley’s attractions such as the Aquarium, Moving Theater, Ripley’s Haunted Adventure, Ripley’s Mirror Maze, Mini Golf, or the Guinness World Records Museum.
Visit the Gatlinburg Space Needle where you can ride glass elevators over 400 feet to an 360 degree observation deck where you can use free view finders to take in the beauty of the Great Smoky Mountains. At the bottom of the Space Needle, have some fun at the area’s largest redemption arcade or play a game of lazer tag with your family.