Yesterday was the first official day of our Gatlinburg vacation in the Smoky Mountains. Aside from checking into one of the coziest resorts compliments of Holiday Inn Club Vacations, our day was packed with fun, sun and plenty of beautiful views. We even caught a glimpse of a bear, although we were saved from the “play dead” routine as he was in the wildlife encounter at Ober Gatlinburg.
Our morning started with a delicious breakfast at our hotel in Pigeon Forge. We then headed over to Holiday Inn Club Vacations in Gatlinburg where check-in was a breeze. We had some time to kill before our room was ready since we were checking in so early, so we headed down to the Space Needle. There is literally days of entertainment within walking distance of our resort and the Space Needle was only a block or so down the road.
The Space Needle
Rising over 400 feet in the air, the Space Needle gives you the perfect bird’s eye view of the Gatlinburg area. Everything from the Parkway itself to the surrounding mountain range can be seen through free view finders at the top. If you are looking to take some beautiful photos, this is one of the best places to do it. If you purchase a ticket and take in the view during the day, you can return again within 24 hours to see the view at night at no additional charge as well. The cost for the Space Needle admission is $7.95 for adults and $4.00 for children ages 5-12.
Ripley’s Believe It or Not Gatlinburg
Some of you may remember that the boys and I visited the Ripley’s Believe It or Not location in Orlando this past summer and they loved it. So, trying the location in Gatlinburg was a no-brainer. There were very few repeats and the boys had a great time once again. It is located right on the main Parkway and there are a lot of fun and interactive activities within this particular location too. They particularly enjoyed the graveyard themed area and of course the torture equipment. Go figure. This is a great place to stop for kids of all ages, although some areas may be a bit dark or scary for really little ones. Tickets are $14.99 for adults and $7.99 for children, with those 5 and under getting in for free.
We headed up to Ober Gatlinburg later in the day, but you could easily buy a wristband for activities and play all day just in this one location. To get there, you walk down the main Parkway and then take the Aerial Tramway up to Ober Gatlinburg. The Aerial Tramway itself will cost you $11 per adult and $8.50 for children 7-11. Once on top of the mountain, you can purchase an activity wristband for $20 for adults and $17 for children 7-11 that includes unlimited use of most attractions like the wildlife encounter, carousel, alpine slide, scenic charilift and more. It also entitles you to one session of ice skating for up to 3 hours. We had a chance to try out almost everything here and it was all a blast. There is something for everyone at this location. Two of the boys went ice skating, while one took the scenic chairlift and Jase and I went miniature golfing.
Check back in tomorrow as I explore Gatlinburg with kids for a second day of fun!
*Holiday Inn Club Vacations provided us with a complimentary four night stay at their Gatlinburg location and the Gatlinburg Attractions Association provided us with a complimentary VIP attractions pass, but all words and opinions expressed above are my own.