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Posts Tagged ‘Tennessee’

20+ Things To Do In Knoxville, TN With Your Family

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Are you looking for things to do in Knoxville, TN with your family? We’ve got your list! Local mom, Jordan, shares her family’s favorite things to do in Knoxville, TN. So whether you’re a local looking for a fun new adventure, or you’re traveling to Knoxville with the kids, this list will give you some fabulous ideas for things to do in Knoxville, TN with kids!

The Sunsphere

Alexa, play Rocky Top! Sorry, we know you will be singing that song all day but we couldn’t help ourselves. 

If you’re traveling to Knoxville, Tennessee, home of the Tennessee Volunteers, the iconic Sunsphere, and a fun place to have fun with your family, we’ve got a list of 20 things for you to do in Knoxville, Tennessee. 

Before you go on an adventure, here are a few tips: 

  • The sunshine has returned so make sure to pack sunscreen, a hat, sunglasses, and lots of water to stay hydrated. 
  • Don’t forget your snacks, strollers, and comfortable walking shoes.
  • Check the social media pages of each attraction to be aware of any unexpected closings. 
  • Have fun!
Tortoises at Zoo Knoxville

Zoo Knoxville

Zoo Knoxville is WILDly fun, as they say, and a perfect spot for family adventures. Our family loves to spend a whole day at the zoo during the Summer months because you can walk around and see the animals and then cool off at the splash pad at the end of your walk around the zoo. You can easily spend an entire day here as The zoo offers:

  • Several acres of animal habitats
  • An indoor and outdoor playground
  • A carousel and train you can ride
  • A splash pad (opens every year on Memorial Day)
  • Food vendors
  • Special events
  • Birthday parties 
  • And so much more
  • Zoo Knoxville is open daily from 9 am to 5 pm. 

Address: 3500 Knoxville Zoo Drive, Knoxville, Tennessee 37914

Cost: 

  • Adult tickets:  $26.95 
  • Children ages 3-12: $21.95
  • Seniors ages 65+: $21.95
  • College student ticket ( must present student ID and buy ticket at gate): $21.95
  • Children 2 and under free
  • Active Military and Veterans: free

Follow Zoo Knoxville’s Facebook Page for more details. 

Zoo Knoxville in Knoxville, TN

Check out the Kidding Around Review of Zoo Knoxville! We have a full guide to help you plan your best trip.

Muse Knoxville 

Muse Knoxville is a STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts & Math) children’s museum. My kids love the art exhibit where they can create any craft they can imagine and it works out for me because I don’t have to worry about cleaning up the mess! They offer: 

  • A Planetarium 
  • 14+ exhibits to explore
  • Outdoor play areas 
  • Gift shop 
  • Special events 
  • Birthday parties 
  • They are open Tuesday through Friday from 10 am to 4 pm and Saturdays and Sundays from 10 am to 4 pm

Address: 516 N. Beaman St, Knoxville, TN 37914

Cost: 

  • General admission (ages 1-64): $12
  • Reduced cost admission: $6 
  • Senior citizens (65+), Tennessee educators with valid ID, military & guests of military personnel with valid ID, members, and children under age 1: free 

Follow Muse Knoxville’s Facebook page for more details. 

Knoxville Children’s Theatre

The Knoxville Children’s Theatre is a great place to enjoy a show with your family. They perform a new show every month. You can purchase tickets on their website and select your preferred showtime. They sell refreshments at the front desk for their shows.

We had so much fun watching the Three Little Pigs at the Knoxville Children’s Theatre. If you want a seat close to the stage, make sure you get there early so you can grab your snacks, use the bathroom, and then enjoy the show!

Here are the plays showing by month for the remainder of 2024:

  • May 3rd-19th: Little Women
  • June 7th-23rd: Fantastic Mr. Fox
  • July 12th-28th: Cinderella 
  • August 7th-25th: Tom Sawyer
  • September 13th-29th: Magic Treehouse: Dinos Before Dark 
  • October 25th-November 10th: Beowulf: The First Avenger

Address: 109 E. Churchwell Avenue, Knoxville, TN 37917
Cost: Tickets are $12-$15 each and can be purchased online 

Follow Knoxville Children’s Theatre’s Facebook Page for more details.

Visit The Sunsphere 

When visiting Knoxville, you must visit the iconic Sunsphere that is located in World’s Fair Park. The Sunsphere was built back in 1982 for the World’s Fair. When you go inside the Sunsphere you can enjoy an amazing view of Knoxville and the Great Smoky Mountains. 

  • They are open Monday through Friday from 10 am to 5 pm
  • Saturdays 9 am to 5 pm 
  • Sundays 12 pm to 4 pm 
  • Your ticket is for a 30-minute visit 
  • NOTE: The Sunsphere observation deck is closed daily from 1:30 to 2:30 pm excluding Sundays.
  • World’s Fair Park does not have parking on-site. You must park in a parking garage. 
  • They are handicap accessible as the elevators can take you to the observation deck.
  • There is a gift shop.

Address: 810 Clinch Avenue, Knoxville, Tennessee 

Cost: 

  • Adults & Children 12+: $5
  • Children 12 and under: $1
  • You can purchase tickets online or at the base of the Sunsphere 

Follow The Sunsphere’s Facebook page for more details. 

Knoxville Museum of Art

Knoxville Museum of Art is located in World’s Fair Park and features contemporary and historical art pieces from the East Tennesee region. They host events often for the community to participate in.

  • They are open Tuesday through Saturday from 10 am to 5 pm and Sunday 1 pm to 5 pm. Closed Mondays

Address: 1050 World’s Fair Park, Knoxville, Tennessee 37916
Cost: Admission is free 

Follow Knoxville Museum of Art on their Facebook page for more details. 

Explore Market Square 

Market Square is nestled in downtown Knoxville and a perfect spot to enjoy a meal, shop, enjoy dessert, splash in the splash pad, and enjoy the sounds of the city. There are several restaurants on Market Square including, Emilia, Not Watson’s Kitchen & Bar, Soccer Taco, Ruby Sunshine, and Tupelo Honey. There are also shops including Urban Outfitters, Tree of Life Salon & Spa, and Rocket Fizz. 

My favorite restaurant for date night is Emilia but if you want a great spot for your family to enjoy a meal, Myrtle’s Chicken & Beer is great!

After you eat dinner, you have to walk over to Gay Street and enjoy ice cream at Cruze Farm Dairy! They have so many fun ice cream cone options for kids and a really fun seating area.

  • Take a stroll after dinner through Krutch Park which is located in Market Square. 
  • Market Square is open Monday through Sunday 24 hours but shops are open according to their own individual hours. 
  • Local parking garages close to Market Square: Market Square Garage, Langley Garage, & Locust Street Garage. Parking is free on nights and weekends.
  • The Market Square Farmer’s Market is a seasonal open-air market that lines the street every Wednesday morning from 10 am to 1 pm starting on May 1st to November 20th, 2024 and they are open on Saturday mornings from 9 am to 1 pm starting on May 4th to November 23rd.

Address: Market Square, Knoxville, Tennessee 37902
Cost: Free
Visit Downtown Knoxville’s Website for more information. 

Cruze Farm Dairy 

Cruze Farm Dairy has several locations in East Tennessee. The downtown Knoxville location is located on Gay Street near the Tennessee Theatre. Their ice cream experience is unforgettable and its locally made at Cruze Dairy Farm. My kids love enjoying the chocolate ice cream cone dipped in rainbow sprinkles and sitting in the seating area to beat the summer heat.

  • They are open:
    • Monday through Wednesday from 12 pm to 9:30 pm 
    • Thursday through Sunday from 12 pm to 10 pm
  • They have inside dining at the downtown location. 
  • There is a parking garage directly in front of Cruze Farm’s downtown location. 
  • They sell merchandise and fresh milk for you to purchase.

Address: 445 S Gay St #3, Knoxville, TN 37902
Visit Cruze Farm’s Website for more details. 

Tennesse Theatre

After your ice cream break, catch a show in the iconic Tennessee Theatre located on Gay Street in downtown Knoxville. The theatre offers many shows throughout the year. 

  • Box office is open Monday through Friday 10 am to 3 pm and closed on Saturdays and Sundays. 
  • You can tour the theatre by selecting a tour ticket on their website or request a private tour if you have 10+ participants. 
  • Shows and show times vary according to the schedule. 

Address: 604 South Gay Street, Knoxville, TN 37902
Visit The Tennessee Theatre’s website to book your show.

Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame

When driving around Downtown Knoxville, you might notice a big basketball on the roof of a large building. That’s the Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame and it is the largest basketball in the world. You can take a tour of the facility, learn about famous women’s basketball players & coaches, and try your hand at basketball on one of the courts. 

  • They are open every Spring/Summer starting May 1st to August 31st from 10 am to 5 pm Monday through Saturday. 
  • They are open in the Fall/Winter starting September 1st to April 30th from 10 am to 5 pm Monday through Saturday. 

Address: 700 Hall of Fame Drive, Knoxville, Tennessee 37915
Cost: 

  • Adults: $7.95
  • Seniors (62+): $5.95
  • Youth (6-15): $5.95
  • Youth under 5: Free
  • Group discounts available 

Visit The Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame Website to plan your visit.

Neyland Stadium 

You can tour the iconic Neyland Stadium while visiting Knoxville. Home of the Tennessee Vols, Neyland is the 6th largest college football venue in the United States. They offer 60-minute tours of the facility. 

  • They are open Monday through Thursday ONLY.
  • Tours are only offered at 10 am and you must pre-book online.
  • No walk-ups are allowed as booking is limited. 
  • Tour check-in is at Gate-21 Plaza at Neyland.
  • Parking is available at Volunteer Hall Garage located at 1525 White Avenue, Knoxville, TN 37916 and the cost is $1 per 30 minutes. 

Address: 1235 Phillip Fulmer Way SW, Knoxville, TN, 37996
Cost: 

  • Adults are $20 
  • Children (13 and under) are $10
  • For large groups please call the office at 865-974-1205

Visit Neyland Stadium’s Website to book your experience. 

Knoxville Ice Bears Hockey Team 

If you’re visiting Knoxville in the fall, you can enjoy a Knoxville Ice Bears hockey game. Their season runs from fall to early spring each year. They offer an electric experience that is sure to keep your family entertained. The Ice Bears have a kids zone, concessions, merchandise to buy, and plenty of photo opportunities with their mascot Chilly Bear. 

My kids are particularly sensitive to loud noises but we didn’t have an issue at this hockey game. It is loud when the fun music plays but not overbearing. However, if you have little ones who are sensitive to noise, take headphones with you. Don’t forget to buy popcorn and enjoy the kids’ fun zone before the game ends!

  • They are open seasonally starting in the fall of 2024

Address: Knoxville Civic Coliseum, 500 Howard Baker Jr Drive, Knoxville, TN 37915
Cost: Tickets start at $15+
Visit the Knoxville Ice Bears website to learn more. 

Tennessee Smokies Baseball-MOVING To Knoxville Soon

If you love baseball, the Tennessee Smokies baseball team (a minor league team) is a quick drive outside of Knoxville, Tennessee. The stadium is currently located in Kodak, Tennessee but they are building a brand new stadium in Knoxville that is set to open in 2025. A Smokies game is fun for the family as they have activities for kids, food vendors, fun events, and more.

We love getting to the game right as the gate opens so we can take advantage of the kid’s activities and grab dinner at the Batter’s Box Bar & Grill. The cheeseburger and fries are amazing!

  • A game day schedule is available on their website. 
  • Get to the game early to get a good parking spot. 
  • Some of the stadium is shaded but take a hat and sunscreen just in case.
  • Batter’s Box Bar & Grill is a family favorite! Their burgers & fries are amazing!

Address: 3540 Line Drive, Kodak, TN 37764
Cost: General admission starts at $11 a ticket 
Visit The Tennessee Smokies’ Website to purchase tickets and learn about their promotions

Smokies

Ijams Nature Center 

Ijams Nature Center is an urban nature park right outside of downtown Knoxville that features over 10 miles of trails perfect for hiking, walking, biking, and bird-watching. They also offer swimming, climbing, natural playgrounds, canoe rentals, and more. My kids especially love the natural playgrounds and looking at the indoor animal exhibit.

  • Grounds are open daily from 8 am to dusk. 
  • The visitor center is open Sunday through Friday from 10 am to 5 pm and Saturdays from 9 am to 5 pm.
  • Bathrooms are located in the visitor center. 
  • Admission is free but donations are appreciated. 
  • Parking is $5 per car per day.
  • Ijams is dog-friendly but dogs must be on a leash and you must clean up after them. No dogs are allowed in the visitor center.
  • They have a gift shop, hallway art gallery, and an exhibit hall with some animals on display that you will find in the park.
  • Ijams offers many educational opportunities including field trips, homeschool opportunities, camps, nature preschool, and more.
  • You can rent their facility for birthday parties, weddings, meetings, retreats, and more.
  • Don’t forget bug spray, a towel if you plan to swim, comfortable tennis shoes or sandals as you will walk a lot, and water.

Address: 2915 Island Home Avenue, Knoxville, Tennessee 37920
Cost: Admission is free but donations are always welcome. Parking is $5 per car per day.
Follow Ijams Nature Center on their Facebook page for more details.

Sir Goony’s Family Fun Center

Located in Farragut, Tennessee, about 35 minutes from downtown Knoxville, is Sir Goony’s Family Fun Center. They have paintball, a splash zone, a mini-golf course, and golf carts. Sir Goony’s also offers birthday party packages. 

  • They are open year-round (weather permitting):
  •  Monday through Thursday 12 pm to 8 pm
  • Fridays from 12 pm to 9 pm
  • Saturdays 10 am to 9 pm
  • Sundays 12 pm to 8 pm
  • If you reserve the park for a party, they can open at any time for your event. 

Address: 10925 Kingston Pike, Knoxville, TN 37934
Cost: Each attraction in the park is priced separately depending on how long you stay.
Follow Sir Goony’s Family Fun Center on their website for pricing details.

Main Event

At Main Event Knoxville, you and your family can enjoy bowling, gravity ropes, laser tag, arcade games, billiards, and good food.

  • They are open: 
    • Mondays 11 am to 1 am
    • Tuesdays through Thursdays 11 am to 12 am
    • Friday 11 am to 2 am
    • Saturdays 9 am to 2 am
    • Sundays 11 am to 12 am 
  • You can book and purchase your activities online. 

Address: 9081 Kingston Pike, Knoxville, TN 37923
Cost: You can book your activities on their website.
Follow Main Event Knoxville on their website to book your activities. 

Bijou Theatre & The Bistro at the Bijou

Catch a performance and a meal at the famous Bijou Theatre in Downtown Knoxville. They have a wide variety of music and performance art showings each year.

  • They are a cashless venue
  • No large backpacks, purses, or duffel bags are allowed. Clear bags are not required but all bags are subject to be searched by security upon entry
  • They have a concession stand and on-site bistro 
  • Tickets and showtime are subject to the performance schedule 

Address: 803 South Gay Street, Knoxville, Tennessee 37902
Cost: Tickets start at $25 
Visit The Bijou Theatre’s Website for more details 

Navitat Knoxville 

At Navitat Knoxville you can enjoy one of their 6 adventure trails with your family. They offer zip-lining, swings, nets, climbing, bridges, and more. They are located in Ijams Nature Center near downtown Knoxville. 

  • They are open: 
    • Mondays, Wednesdays Thursdays, and Sundays from 10 am to 7 pm
    • Tuesdays, Fridays, and Saturdays from 10 am to 10 pm
  • They have two ticket options (a daytime ticket and a nighttime ticket) that include all of the adventures in the park.
  • You must be 7+ years old and weigh between 30-265 pounds to participate.
  • An adult is required to attend with all children under the age of 17.
  • Wear comfortable clothes and closed-toed shoes.
  • Book in advance to be sure you get the date(s) you are visiting. 

Address: 2915 Island Home Avenue, Knoxville, Tennessee 37920
Cost: 

  • Tickets for the Treetop Adventure Park are $52 + tax per person
  • Tickets for the Navitat At Night are $65.95 + tax per person 
  • This admission price is the same for adults and children

Visit Navitat Knoxville’s Website to book your excursion.

The Star of Knoxville Tennessee Riverboat 

Take a ride along the Tennessee River in Downtown Knoxville on The Star of Knoxville Riverboat. You can enjoy a lunch, dinner, or sightseeing cruise depending on what you’re looking for. They have several cruise options that include a meal and some options that do not include a meal depending on the date you select. 

  • They are open Monday through Saturday from 10 am to 4 pm
  • Make a reservation in advance. 
  • No dress code is required.
  • Parking is at Calhoun’s on The River on Neyland Drive.
  • Cruises are non-refundable. 

Address: 300 Neyland Drive, Knoxville, Tennessee 37902
Cost: Tickets start at $25 for adults and $15 for children. Pricing depends on the date and type of cruise you select. 
Visit The Tennessee Riverboat’s Website to learn more and book your cruise. 

Maple Hall 

Maple Hall is a boutique bowling alley that offers 11 lanes of bowling, a cocktail lounge, life-sized board games, a full food and drink menu, and more. They are located in Downtown Knoxville. 

  • They are open: 
    • Monday through Thursday from 4 pm to 11 pm
    • Friday from 4 pm to 1:30 am
    • Saturday from 11 am to 1:30 pm
    • Sunday from 11 am to 11 pm
  • You must be 21+ after 9 pm on Friday and Saturday nights to attend.
  • They do not take reservations. 

Address: 414 South Gay Street, Knoxville, TN 37902
Cost: Bowling rates are per lane per hour:

  • Monday through Thursday: $25 per lane per hour 
  • Fridays: $39 per lane per hour
  • Saturdays: 11 am to 4 pm: $25 per lane  per hour, 4 pm to 1:30 am: $39 per lane per hour 
  • Sundays: $25 per lane per hour

Visit Maple Hall’s Website to learn more.

Craft Axe Throwing Downtown Knoxville

Try your hand at axe throwing in Downtown Knoxville at Craft Axe Throwing. You can book your experience (or walk-ups welcome if availability allows), learn a few safety tips from the team, and then have fun throwing axes with friends. There are two locations in Knoxville. 

  • Downtown Knoxville Location Hours: 
    • Mondays through Thursdays from 5 pm to 10 pm 
    • Fridays from 2 pm to 11 pm
    • Saturdays from 1 pm to 11 pm 
    • Sundays from 2 pm to 7 pm 
  • West Knoxville Location Hours: 
    • Closed on Mondays
    • Tuesdays through Thursdays from 5 pm to 9 pm
    • Fridays through Saturdays from 12 pm to 11 pm
    • Sundays from 2 pm to 8 pm
  • Both locations only allow those who are 16+ after 8 pm on Fridays and Saturdays

Address: 

  • Downtown Location: 119 W. 5th Avenue – Suite 150, Knoxville, TN 37917
  • West Knoxville Location: 320 N. Peters Road, Knoxville, TN 37922

Cost: Tickets start at $20 per person
Visit the Craft Axe Throwing website to book your experience

Stay in Knoxville, TN

Where can you stay near Downtown Knoxville? Use the map below to find great hotels, boutique hotels, and vacation rentals near attractions you want to visit.

Through an affiliate relationship with Stay22, Kidding Around earns when you book through this map.

What is your family’s favorite thing to do in Knoxville?

Travel Guide to Tennessee, with information for family friendly vacations.

Discover more adventures in the state of Tennessee!

Kidding Around Travel Guide to Tennessee

Plan Your Best Day at Zoo Knoxville: Things to Know

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If you’re looking for a day of fun in Knoxville, Tennessee, Zoo Knoxville is WILDly fun! You can spend a whole day here and not run out of things to do. In this guide to Knoxville, TN’s zoo, one local mom shares her favorite exhibits, plus tips and things to remember so you’ll have the best visit with your family. Use our guide to plan your trip to the zoo!

About Zoo Knoxville

The 53-acre zoo is in East Knoxville, about 13 minutes from Downtown Knoxville. There are around 1,200 animals to see and learn about throughout the zoo. When we moved to Knoxville, I took my kids to the zoo and was immediately sold on a membership simply because of how much there was to do. We visit several times a month and never tire of spending time here. 

Zoo Knoxville, TN

Stay Near Zoo Knoxville

Coming from out of town? Book a vacation rental or hotel near Zoo Knoxville. Use the map below with options nearby to find the perfect place to stay.

Through an affiliate relationship with Stay22 Kidding Around earns when you book through this map.

Zoo Knoxville Tips & Things to Know

Before you visit, here are a few tips from a frequent Zoo Knoxville visitor: 

Hours, Rules & Ticket Information: 

  • Zoo Knoxville Hours: Open daily from 9 am to 5 pm. 
  • Parking is $5 and free for members. Memberships pay off!
  • You can bring your own food & drinks to the zoo but glass containers and straws are not allowed. Or you can enjoy one of their 5 eateries if you don’t want to pack a lunch.
  • Ticket Pricing:
    • Members: Free
    • Adults: $26.95
    • Children (3-12): $21.95
    • Seniors ages 65+: $21.95
    • College Student with ID: $21.95
    • Children 2 and under: Free
    • Active Military & Veterans: Free
  • Firearms are not permitted on Zoo Knoxville grounds.
  • Zoo Knoxville is a vape and smoke-free campus.

Accesibility Feautures in the zoo:

  • Wheelchair, strollers, and scooter rentals start at $12+
  • Sensory bags are located at the front desk
  • Quiet Zones (Located at the Barn Loft & Painted Dog areas)
  • Headphone Zones (Located at the Kid’s Cove, Wee Play Adventure & Safari Splash)
  • There are bathrooms throughout the park with changing stations.

Things to See at the Knoxville Zoo

Now that we’ve covered hours, rules, accessibility, and parking, let’s jump into all the exhibits & fun things to do at Zoo Knoxville. 

What Animals are at Zoo Knoxville? 

Zoo Knoxville has 12 habitats you can enjoy across the zoo. Grab a map of the zoo when you purchase tickets and plan a route that works for you. 

Habitats include: 

The ARC (Amphibian & Reptile Conservation Campus): This newer building is so neat to explore as it features Joe the sloth, lots of turtles, gigantic snakes (even a Reticulated Python), crocodiles, and more! This exhibit is mostly indoors but you can view the turtles outside as well. 

Black Bear Falls: At Black Bear Falls, you can watch the North American Black Bears sleep, play, and interact. There is a large tunnel (resembling a bear cave) that will take you right up to their enclosure so you can get the best view of what they’re up to. This is an indoor/outdoor exhibit.

Boyd Family Asian Trek: Here you can laugh as beloved Georgie the Gibbons monkey swings in his enclosure, watch the Malayan Tigers take their afternoon nap, and admire the many Langurs swinging across their enclosure. 

Chimp Ridge: This habitat is solely for the beautiful & majestic Chimpanzees. This enclosure is large and contains several viewing areas depending on where the chimps are hanging out for the day. 

Clayton Family Kid’s Cove: This habitat contains many farm animals that you would find on a farm. The Kids Cove contains turkeys, raccoons, goats, beavers, guinea hogs, and more. This habitat also includes a small wading stream (best for toddlers), the Clayton Cabin playground, a large sandbox, and animal interactions. 

Clayton Otter Creek: This habitat might be my favorite. You can watch the North American River Otters splash and play in their large water habitat. They are very active and are a popular exhibit at Zoo Knoxville. 

Gorilla Valley: Gorilla Valley is another large habitat that houses beautiful Western Lowland Gorillas. They like to hang out in their indoor enclosure but often run through their large open-air enclosure.

Grasslands Africa: A safari in Knoxville? Yes! You can see elephants, giraffes, white rhinos, and zebras! This area is all open-air and the animals are usually easily visible. 

Pilot Flying J Wee Play Adventure: Here your preschool & elementary-aged kiddos can play on the indoor playground surrounded by a Komodo dragon, lizards, snakes, and more. This area features a sandbox, slide, and baby playspace. 

The Boyd Family Red Panda Village: This habitat features fuzzy and sleepy red pandas. They like to sleep high up in their nets in the trees so be sure to look up when you visit. 

Tiger Forest: This habitat is solely for the Malayan Tigers. Zoo Knoxville has a breeding facility for the endangered Malayan tigers.

Valley of The Kings: Here you can see the African Lions and Baboons. They are in two separate enclosures located near the Clayton Safari Splash Pad. 

Clayton Safari Splash Pad

During the spring & summer months, you can cool off after a long walk around the zoo at Clayton Safari Splash Pad. This is included in your admission ticket so no need to pay extra! They are opening on May 17th, 2024 this year and typically stay open until Labor Day each year. This area offers a gift shop, changing areas, and picnic tables to sit and watch your kids splash. 

More Things to Do At Zoo Knoxville

Additional Fun Activities: 

  • Take a ride on the carousel located near the Clayton Family Kid’s Cove. Rides are $4 for visitors and $2 for annual pass holders.
  • Zip through the trees on the Soaring Eagle Zipline. This is a tandem zip ride. Single rides start at $13 per rider.
  • Take a spin on the Zoo Choo Train. Rides are $4 per ride.
  • They offer animal encounters (find the schedule on the Zoo Knoxville website).
  • Adult & child zoo camps available 
Tortoises at Zoo Knoxville

New & Notable in 2024

Planet Predator: This new exhibit will be available starting on May 1st, 2024, and will run until October 31st, 2024. You can see several prehistoric predators including an animatronic snake, dinosaur, and more. This is included with your admission. 

You can find a calendar of events, ticket information, and more on Zoo Knoxville’s website

We hope you have fun at Zoo Knoxville and would love to know what you loved most about the zoo!

Zoo Knoxville
3500 Knoxville Zoo Drive, Knoxville, TN 37914

A Travel Guide to Tennessee: Family-Friendly Vacations

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Looking to vacation in Tennessee? The beautiful backdrop of the Appalachians, southern charm, and unique vacation destinations make it an excellent choice for a family-friendly vacation. We’ve visited several cities throughout the state and collected dozens of reviews to help you plan your next trip. You’ll find unique places to lodge, dining options, adventure recommendations, and more for cities like Pigeon Forge, Gatlinburg, Sevierville, and Chattanooga, Tennessee.

Travel Guide to Tennessee, with information for family friendly vacations.

Where Would You Like to Explore?


A Family-Friendly Vacation to Pigeon Forge, Tennessee

If you have never been to Pigeon Forge, Tennessee, you are in for a treat! The area has grown rapidly over the last 50 years and includes some out-of-this-world attractions, is near the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, and has a lot of great places to lodge.

Things to Do in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee

Enjoy snow tubing all year round at Indoor Snow Tubing in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee
See the magical Christmas lights at Winterfest, which starts in November and ends in February!
During Winterfest, you can enjoy the epic lights on the Wonder of Light Walking Trail
The Island at Pigeon Forge is a great one-stop for an amazing day of shopping, fun attractions, and food.
Ever seen the world from upside down? You can at Wonderworks in Pigeon Forge!
Soar over America in an immersive theatre at Skyfly at The Island at Pigeon Forge
Cruise around the Smoky Mountains with Smoky Mountain Pink Jeep.
The Titanic Museum is a truly immersive experience in a replica of the ship itself, right off the Boulevard!

Wildwood Grove at Dollywood

Dollywood

Homeschooling? These Homeschool days at Dollywood will save you some money on the theme park.
You’ll find a woodland-themed waterpark at Splash Country at Dollywood
Christmas at Dollywood is one of the most magical times of the year, with lights, crafters, and more!
Wildwood Grove at Dollywood is full of whimsy and rides.

Lodging in Pigeon Forge

The Inn on the River is a prime location on the river and is a great family-friendly place to stay.
If you are looking for an all-out resort, Margaritaville RV Resort and Lodge is the place!


Visit The Charming Mountain Town of Gatlinburg, Tennessee

Gatlinburg is one of the most popular travel destinations to take a vacation in Tennessee. With stunning mountain views and dozens of attractions that are unquestionably unique to the town, you could spend an entire weekend with a packed itinerary. There is an aquarium, mountain coasters, and even a sky-high bridge you have to see to believe!

Winter version of Galtlinburg, Pigeon Forge silo.

Our KA Ultimate Guide to Gatlinburg, Tennessee, with reviews, lodging information, and places to eat.

Things to Do in Gatlinburg, Tennessee

See ocean creatures and walk under sharks at Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies.
Anakeesta is a sky-high destination that offers fantastic views, dining, and special attractions.
The Mirrormaze is a fun attraction for families to try and navigate the maze.
Get rocked while experiencing the 5D Theatre in downtown Gatlinburg!
Take the ski lift to the Skybridge, and you’re in for a real thrill as you walk the suspension bridge.
Great Smoky Mountain National Park is an American treasure, you have to visit it at least once.
Elkmont Ghost Town is a ghost town that your family can explore! How neat!

Places to Stay Near Gatlinburg, TN

Enjoy a family-friendly stay at the Greystone Lodge, which has an excellent location!
The Westgate Smoky Mountain Resort has an indoor waterpark that the kids can play in.
If you are looking for luxury camping, Camp LeConte is a great option in Gatlinburg!
Smoky Hollow Outdoor Resort has covered wagons you can camp in!
This 17 Room Gaming Mansion is a wonderful place to stay for larger groups!


Spend the Weekend in Sevierville, Tennessee

Do not overlook Sevierville while planning your vacation to Tennessee! Situated right next door to Pigeon Forge in Sevierville, Tennessee. If you didn’t know, Sevierville is the birthplace of America’s greatest gift, Dolly Parton! There are also a lot of fun things to do, and one of the most epic hotels in the area (it has an indoor and outdoor waterpark!)

These 23+ Special Things to Do in Sevierville, Tennesse will make for a memorable vacation.

Sevierville TN

Activities and Things to Do in Sevierville, Tennessee

You have to make a pit stop at Buc-ee’s Sevierville, where you will find everything you need and more!
There are coasters, chair lifts, cowboy demonstrations, and more at Skyland Ranch.
Soaky Mountain Water Park is THE BEST waterpark, with some epic slides to try out.

Glamping tent at the Ridge Outdoor Resort

Lodging in Sevierville, Tennessee

The Ridge Outdoor Resort in Sevierville offers glamping, RV camping, and amenities.
Wilderness at the Smokies is wonderful for families, with multiple waterparks and cozy hotel rooms.


Explore the Outdoors in Chattanooga, Tennessee

In the Southeastern part of Tennessee near the Georgia line, you will find an amazing city that has perfectly balanced city life with the outdoors, Chattanooga, Tennessee! The downtown area is bustling with art, interesting things to do, and exceptional dining. Plus, there is an aquarium, a zoo, a famous train hotel, and Rock City is just down the road.

The Ultimate Guide to Chattanooga, Tennessee.

Check out our KA Ulitmate Guide to Chattanooga, Tennessee for ideas on places to stay, things to do, and our honest reviews of popular attractions!

Meercats at Chattanooga Zoo in Tennessee.

Meercats at the Tennessee Zoo

The view from Lookout Mountain in Tennessee.

Overlook at Lookout Mountain

Family-Friendly Things to Do in Chattanooga, TN

The iconic Rock City is just a few minutes drive from Downtown Chattanooga!
Big Soddy Creek Gulf Trail has a mesmerizing swimming hole that is crystal clear.
The Tennessee Aquarium has two buildings full of ocean creatures to visit.
You can feed giraffes and red pandas at the Chattanooga Zoo!

The Read House hotel in Chattanooga, Tennessee.

Where to Stay Near Chattanooga, Tennesse

The Read House Hotel is iconic and even has ghost stories to learn about.


More Tennessee Travel


Places to travel in the United States

Our Travel Page will give you tons of ideas for day trips, weekend getaways, or family vacations to destinations throughout the Southeast.

Lost Sea Adventure: Take a Boat Across an Unforgettable Underground Lake

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The Lost Sea Adventure in Sweetwater, TN is one experience you really won’t want to miss. This one is unforgettable. If a crystal clear lake, a glass bottom boat, cave flowers, and a guided tour through amazing geologic features sounds like your kind of adventure, then put America’s largest underground lake on your bucket list.

We visited the underground lake and caverns in Tennessee and it did not disappoint. So, get planning! Here’s everything you need to know about the Lost Sea Adventure!  

Lost Sea Adventure

Always looking for my next adventure, when I heard of the Lost Sea just outside Knoxville, Tennessee, I knew I had to go. I actually keep a running list of all the cool things I want to do and places to go and this one had been on my list for the past couple of years because it is legitimately a crystal clear, cold lake 150 feet underground amongst creepy and cool caverns. An underground lake. 

Did it live up to my expectations? Oh yeah, it did. 

Winter cabin rentals: Owl's Nest in Gatlinburg, Tennessee. VRBO photo credit

Traveling to nearby Pigeon Forge or Gatlinburg? Here’s over 40 things to do in Gatlinburg, TN and Pigeon Forge, TN.

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41+ Things to Do in Gatlinburg, TN: Our Ultimate Travel Guide

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Is your family planning a vacation to Gatlinburg, Tennessee? There are so many fun things to do in Gatlinburg, TN and the Pigeon Forge area that we have put together a full Gatlinburg Travel Guide for you. Our guide is full of places to visit in Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge, TN. We share attractions, places to eat, suggestions on where to stay, and more for this East Tennessee region vacation destination.



A few tips:

  • Starting March 1, 2023, you must have a parking pass on your car if you park for more than 15 minutes inside the Great Smoky Mountain National Park. A daily pass is $5, a weekly pass is $15, and a yearly pass is $40.
  • Almost all shows in Pigeon Forge offer combo tickets, which are significantly discounted when bought together. So do the math and figure out what works for your family. Pigeon Forge has a wonderful guide with coupons that is available online and via hard copy at the Welcome Center. It can also be mailed to you.
  • There are a bunch of coupon books in almost every restaurant and shop in Gatlinburg & Pigeon Forge. They all offer a least a couple of dollars off attractions, which can save money in the long run if you do a lot of activities. 
  • Sign up for the email list of your favorite attractions and hotels since they often send out discount codes throughout the year. 
  • If you come to East Tennessee more than a couple times a year, consider a season pass to some of the attractions like Dollywood and Anakeesta, which can pay off in just a couple of visits. 

What is There to Do in Gatlinburg & Pigeon Forge?

Check out these Gatlinburg attractions and things to do near Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge, TN.

Anakeesta
This mountaintop village theme park hosts a Rail Runner alpine coaster, ziplining, stunning gardens, a beer garden, a village with restaurants and shopping, an outdoor movie space, a treehouse play area, seasonal-themed events, and an awesome Chondola ride up and down the mountain. Admission ticket prices range from $20 – $29. The alpine coaster, Astra Lumina light display, gem mining, and ziplining are extra costs. You’ll want to read our Anakeesta review of tips and tricks on how to make the most of your visit to Anakeesta.

576 Parkway, Gatlinburg, TN

Treetop Skywalk at Anakeesta in Gatlinburg, Tennessee
Treetop Skywalk at Anakeesta

Anakeesta view through the heart sculpture.

Read our KA review of Anakeesta to see how amazing this place is!

PINK Jeep Smoky Mountain Tours
Ride around in a bright pink Jeep and see all the very best sights in the Great Smoky Mountains and get the adrenaline going with their 4×4 off-roading course, built especially for PINK Jeeps. Tickets depend on the tour you choose but kids ages 18 months+ are able to do the tours and costs range from $57-$74 per person. Our PINK Jeep review gives you the lowdown on what to expect with the tour.

3152 Parkway, Pigeon Forge, TN

Pink Jeep tours in Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge, Tennessee
PINK Jeep Smoky Mountain Tour

Wonderworks
A truly fun experience for the whole family, Wonderworks is an indoor entertainment facility with a glow-in-the-dark ropes course, a 3-D roller coaster, a bubble room, laser tag, a climbing wall, an earthquake simulator, and tons more. You can easily spend all day here but allow at least two hours at Wonderworks to really do everything, more if you see the magic show (extra charge). Read our review of Wonderworks to get all the details.

100 Music Road, Pigeon Forge

Wonderworks could easily fill up a day of adventure while in Pigeon Forge. Learn more in our KA review of Wonderworks!

Outside view of Wonderworks in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee

Dollywood
The iconic theme park is fun to visit any time of the year but they do have special events for summer, fall (a big pumpkinfest), and winter (a huge festival with a nightly parade and lights). The new Wildwood Grove encourages guests to explore their imaginations with an indoor black-lit playground, splash pad, rides for the whole family, and the new DragonFly coaster. Our KA Dollywood review will tell you all the best places to visit while at Dollywood. Adult tickets are $89 and kids are $79/each ages 4-9.

2700 Dollywood Parks Blvd, Pigeon Forge, TN

Dollywood’s Splash Country
A wet and wild theme park that opens right next to the Dollywood theme park over the summer, Splash Country has a wave pool, multiple water slides, a lazy river, concessions, and a tube coaster. We love this theme park and it’s on our must-do list every summer! For the 2021 season tickets were $49.95/ages 10-61, $39.95/ages 4-9, and $39.95/senior citizens 62+. Parking is $15/day.

2700 Dollywood Parks Blvd, Pigeon Forge, TN

Dollywood’s Splash Country

Dollywood Splash Country: Review and tips

Read our Dollywood Splash Country review, written by a local mom with lots of tips. Learn about the best things to do at the park. 

Hatfield & McCoy Dinner Show
If you don’t know, the Hatfield and McCoy families were two groups who really hated each other in rural West Virginia in the 1800s. The show is a dinner theater experience so you get all-you-can-eat soup, rolls, pulled pork, fried chicken, mashed potatoes, cole slow, and corn plus a dessert. This was the best meal I had while in Pigeon Forge and my kids loved it as well. At the end of this show, you’ll leave feeling full and happy. The total time you’re in the theater is a little over two-and-a-half hours. Tickets are $59.99/adults and $34.99/kids ages 3-11 and under 2 are free.

119 Music Road, Pigeon Forge

Hatfield & McCoy Dinner Show

Titanic Museum
Experience the history of the Titanic, and the stories of those aboard, at the Titanic Museum. You’ll find hands on exhibits, an audio tour, and even the largest Titanic replica ever built out of lego bricks! Want to know more? Check out our KA review of the Titanic Museum.

2134 Parkway, Pigeon Forge, TN

Learn why the Titanic Museum is a must-see when visiting Pigeon Forge, Tennessee!

Grand Staircase at the Titanic Museum

Wild Bear Falls Water Park
This is an enormous indoor waterpark at the Westgate Smoky Mountain Resort & Spa in Gatlinburg. It’s open year-round and you can go even if you’re not a guest at the resort.

915 Westgate Resorts Road, Gatlinburg, TN

Dolly Parton’s Stampede
This is one of the more popular shows in Pigeon Forge and features horse stunts, lots of special effects, and a four-course meal plus dessert. Families love this show especially.

3849 Parkway, Pigeon Forge, TN

Pirates Voyage
Lots of energy and fun at this dinner show in Pigeon Forge, the newest show to come to town. Kids will love the mermaids and pirate fights plus the water features of the show are always fun.

2713 Parkway, Pigeon Forge, TN

Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies (and other Ripley’s attractions)
This aquarium was voted best in the nation with sharks, sea turtles, penguins, and a glass-bottomed boat and it sits right in the heart of downtown Gatlinburg. You can read our review of the aquarium plus other reviews of Ripley’s attractions in Gatlinburg such as the Mirror Maze, 5D moving theater, and Guinness World Records Museum

88 River Road, Gatlinburg, TN

Soaky Mountain Waterpark
Located just 15-20 minutes north of Gatlinburg is an enormous 50-acre waterpark with tons of slides, a lazy river, watercoasters, and a 35,000 wave pool. You will learn everything you need to know before going in our KA review of Soaky Mountain Waterpark.

175 Gists Creek Road, Sevierville, TN

Soaky Mountain Waterpark near Gatlinburg, TN

Ole Smoky Moonshine
The distillery is the oldest in the state and you can taste several moonshine varieties for $5 – they are really good! Be sure to try the Buckeye if you like peanut butter. You can also see how moonshine is made through the glass walls of the distillery at the Holler in Gatlinburg, which totally counts for homeschooling your kids.

Locations in Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge

Pigeon Forge Snow

This snow tubing place is open all year round because it’s indoors! This place has real snow for the tubing lanes plus a snow area where kids can build forts and snowmen. Plus, it’s always around 60-70 degrees inside so you aren’t freezing. Kids must be 38″ tall to tube. If not, you can buy them a ticket just to play in the snow. Tickets start at $29.99 for an hour of snow tubing and at $36.99 for tubing plus 30 minutes of snow play. No reservations are needed. See our full review here.

2533 Teaster Lane, Pigeon Forge, TN

You can snow tube indoors at Pigeon Forge Snow

Learn why Pigeon Forge Snow is such an epic place to play while visiting Pigeon Forge!

Gatlinburg SkyBridge

Just opened in 2019, the SkyBridge is a mile high and has a glass bottom in the center. It is the longest pedestrian suspension bridge in North America and overlooks this mountain town and the surrounding Smoky Mountains. You have to take a chair lift up to the mountain to access the SkyBridge. Buy tickets in advance online to save a couple of dollars off each ticket. Read more in our KA review of the Gatlinburg SkyBridge here.

765 Parkway, Gatlinburg, TN 

Kids walking down the SkyBridge in Gatlinburg, Tennessee

Boot Factory Outlet

I’m not big into shopping but the Boot Factory Outlet was awesome. They have amazing customer service – people who help you until you find what you want and make suggestions. They seem to genuinely care about service. I was blown away. The outlet offers a continuous deal of buy one pair of boots and get two free. I had to see it for myself because that didn’t seem real. It was! I walked out with three fantastic pairs of boots for my family, all well-made and of excellent quality. Highly recommend.

1842 Winfield Dunn Pkwy, Sevierville, TN

The Lost Sea Adventure

This is such a cool experience that we recommend for anyone looking for a super unique adventure underground. The Lost Sea tour explores the expansive Craighead Caverns with its rare rock formations. But the coolest part is the boat ride in the underground lake! You can read our KA review of The Lost Sea Adventure to learn more. It’s about an hour and 20 minutes from the Gatlinburg area. Visit Sweetwater Valley Farm nearby for awesome grilled cheese and milkshakes.

140 Lost Sea Road, Sweetwater, TN 423.337.6616


Free/Cheap Things to do in Gatlinburg & Pigeon Forge

The Great Smoky Mountains National Park
The park is the most visited in the whole country, with over 11 million people visiting every year. And there is no admission cost whatsoever. The park boasts over 850 miles of hiking trails plus two long stretches where you can drive to see wildlife and take in the natural beauty of the area.

Get up to Clingman’s Dome, the highest point in the park, or Newfound Gap for stunning views of the smokies. Cruise through Cades Cove or Roaring Fork Motor Trail to see if you can spot black bears. Read more in our KA review of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park and all there is to do and see in the Smokies.

Please note that since March 1, 2023, the National Park has instituted parking fees to be able to handle the millions of visitors each year. Parking tags must be displayed anywhere in the Park, except for cars spending 15 minutes or less there. Fees are $5/single day, $15/up to 7 days, and $40/annual parking pass. You can buy them at the Visitor Centers or online.

Clingmans Dome in Great Smoky Mountains National Park
Clingman’s Dome in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park

See Elk in Cherokee or Cataloochee Valley
Elk were originally native to the area and have been reintroduced. They are thriving thanks to the protection of the Great Smoky Mountain National Park. Guests can see the majestic animals at the Oconaluftee Visitor Center in Cherokee, NC, right outside the park, or in the Cataloochee Valley. In the fall, the bulls loudly bugle and it’s quite the animal sound to hear!

Elk in the Smokies

Go Swimming
The Smoky Mountains have some desirable swimming holes during the hot summer months. One is the Townsend Wye right near the entrance to the park in Townsend, TN. It’s a huge swimming hole with small rapids for tubing and deeper waters for swimming. The National Park’s official stance on swimming is that it discourages it. 

Townsend Wye swimming hole
Townsend Wye

Go Fishing
Trout are stocked in the miles of rivers and streams that cut through the Smokies and visitors are allowed to fish from those waterways. In Tennessee, both residents and non-residents ages 13 or older must have a fishing license. In North Carolina, ages 16 and older need a license. Fishing is permitted all throughout the Great Smoky Mountain National Park.

See the Synchronous Fireflies

Every year around June, the synchronous fireflies appear in the Smoky Mountains to do their annual mating dance. And it is a sight to see! Millions of these fireflies light up all around you then go quiet for about eight seconds and then light up again.

It is completely fascinating to see and we highly recommend trying to get a lottery ticket or booking a campsite at Elkmont during that time of year to see them. To enter the lottery, you pay $1 and if you win, your parking pass is $25. A campsite at Elkmont is around $30.

Synchronous fireflies at Elkmont Ghost Town in Tennessee.
Synchronous Fireflies at Elkmont

Things to Do During the Holidays in Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge

Dollywood’s Smoky Mountain Christmas
The experience at Dollywood at Christmastime deserves its own review because it is so beautiful and enchanting. You and your kids can step into a life-size snow globe, watch a nativity show, and enjoy the rides. They have beautiful light displays as well. It’s an amazing time to visit the amusement park. Read what we loved about the Smoky Mountain Christmas in our review.

2700 Dollywood Parks Blvd, Pigeon Forge, TN

Winterfest at Dollywood in Tennessee
Smoky Mountain Christmas in Dollywood

Winterfest in Pigeon Forge
From the end of November until early February, Pigeon Forge is decked out in Christmas lights and guests can ride the trolley all around town (small fee) to check out the beautiful decorations. Shows and events correspond with the Christmas theme and the whole town becomes a winter wonderland. It’s totally free to drive around and see all the lights. Learn more with our KA review of Winterfest and be sure to pick up the guide that the City of Pigeon Forge offers, which includes coupons.


Where to Stay in Gatlinburg & Pigeon Forge

There are hundreds of places to stay in the Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge area. All of these places we list below are places we have personally stayed at and where we’ve had excellent experiences. Reviews are all linked below. If you are not staying in a Gatlinburg cabin, then these campgrounds and hotels are the best there is for a family-friendly vacation Gatlinburg vacation. So, start planning your lodging today!

You can also use the map below from Stay 22 to find other options! When you book through the map and links, we may earn through an affiliate relationship with Stay22.

https://stay22.com/embed/64aff43e17da6c003ce794b2

Margaritaville Island Hotel
A stay at this beautiful and trendy hotel will be a relaxing experience. Margarita makers are in every room and balconies overlook either the river or the Island at Pigeon Forge. You can explore the Island, take a ride on the Great Smoky Mountain Wheel, grab a margarita at the bar (or in your room), and just chill. Read our KA review of Margaritaville Island Hotel to learn why it is such a great option.

131 The Island Dr, Pigeon Forge, TN

View of the pool at the Margaritaville Hotel in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee
Margaritaville Island Hotel in Pigeon Forge

Greystone Lodge By the River
One of the very last family-owned hotels in Gatlinburg, the Greystone dates back originally to the early 1960s and has become the go-to hotel for generations of families. The location cannot be beaten as it is steps from the aquarium and across the street from Anakeesta, within walking distance to shops and restaurants.

They also have a great pool and free breakfast. It’s perfect for families looking to have a restful and accommodating place to call home during their trip. We stayed there and absolutely loved it

559 Parkway, Gatlinburg, TN

Greystone Lodge in Gatlinburg, Tennessee
The Greystone Lodge By The River

Camp Margaritaville RV Resort & Lodge
A water slide, pool, beautiful rooms, on-site restaurant, arcade, and amazing staff make this spot an incredible place to stay. Relaxation and fun are perfectly balanced here. Read our review of Camp Margaritaville RV Resort & Lodge to plan your own trip.

149 Cates Lane, Pigeon Forge, TN

 

Pool at Camp Margaritaville

Camp LeConte
Kicking up the glamping a notch further is Camp LeConte, which offers a treehouse, safari tents, and a retro camper. You can even catch the trolley into Gatlinburg from the campground. Depending on the time of year, the two-person safari tent starts at around $136/night. Read our KA review of Camp LeConte and learn why we love it so much.

1739 East Pkwy, Gatlinburg, TN

Luxury camping tent at Camp LeConte near Gatlinburg, Tennessee


Westgate Smoky Mountain Resort & Water Park

The Westgate Smokies is a beautiful resort overlooking Gatlinburg that has lots of different room types to choose from, a huge indoor water park, spa, zip line, mini-golf, two outdoor heated pools, and a fabulous restaurant. Read our review KA review of the Westgate Smoky Mountain Resort to learn more.

915 Westgate Resorts Road, Gatlinburg, TN

View of Gatlinburg from the Westgate Smoky Mountain Resort

Go Lodge

Be blown away by the 17-room game mansion in Gatlinburg! It has more than 300 indoor and outdoor games and sleeps up to 20 people. This is perfect for a multi-family or big friends vacation and is about 15 minutes from the main strip in Gatlinburg.

Go Lodge near Gatlinburg, Tennessee with epic kitchen

Smoky Hollow Outdoor Resort
Stay in a covered wagon or tipi at this resort in Sevierville, TN for the ultimate pioneer adventure. The resort is close to Soaky Mountain and minutes from Gatlinburg, Pigeon Forge, and the Smokies. Read our review of the Smoky Hollow Outdoor Resort to get a good idea of why it’s so cool!

660 Gists Creek Road, Sevierville, TN

Smoky Hollow Wagon camping near Sevierville, Tennessee

Foothills RV Park & Cabins
If you are not into tent camping but are still looking for a cheaper option than a hotel, Foothills has bare-bones cabins to rent where you bring your own linens/sleeping bags and pillows. This is a good option if you’re really trying to stay within a budget but want someplace clean and comfortable.

The location is right on the cusp of Pigeon Forge and maybe ten minutes from Gatlinburg. Camping cabins are rented from April through October and start at $58/night.

4235 Huskey St, Pigeon Forge, TN

Inn on the River
The Inn on the River has pretty awesome amenities like both indoor and outdoor pools, free breakfast, free popcorn, hot chocolate, coffee, and tea, a free gift bag for kids, and really nice staff. Plus, they are located right on the main strip in Pigeon Forge and within walking distance to several restaurants and attractions. Read our KA review of the Inn on the River to help you decide where to lodge.

2492 Parkway, Pigeon Forge, TN

Pool at Inn on the River
Inn on the River

Wilderness at the Smokies
This family-friendly hotel has three waterparks on-site, including Tennessee’s largest indoor waterpark. You won’t even need to leave the resort for entertainment and dining once you get there! Rooms are spacious and some suites offer bunk beds for kids. And it’s directly across the street from Soaky Mountain Waterpark. Learn why we love Wilderness at the Smokies for families in our KA review!

1424 Old Knoxville Hwy, Sevierville, TN

Indoor waterpark at Wilderness at the Smokies

Where to eat in Gatlinburg & Pigeon Forge

If you’re not headed to a lunch or dinner show, there are plenty of options to enjoy a good meal. Gatlinburg is known as the Pancake Capital of the World so be sure to hit up a good pancake house while you’re there. 

Pancake Pantry
Gatlinburg’s first pancake house, which opened in 1960, is hugely popular. Get there when they open and bring cash since they don’t take credit cards. 

628 Parkway, Gatlinburg, TN

Log Cabin Pancake House
Opening in 1976, the Log Cabin Pancake House serves up breakfast all day long and also has delicious pancakes (of course). 

327 Historic Nature Trail, Gatlinburg, TN

Apple Barn & Cider Mill
The fried apple pies and apple cider donuts are what people usually come to the Apple Barn for. It’s worth it. Both are delicious and well-worth the calories. 

230 Apple Valley Rd, Sevierville, TN

The Old Mill Restaurant
This is the place that people who have been to Pigeon Forge will recommend. They have generous portions and authentic, local Southern cuisine. Country fried steak, cornbread, and chowder are staples of a great meal here. They served breakfast, lunch, and dinner. 

164 Old Mill Ave, Pigeon Forge, TN

Cliff Tops Bar & Grill at Anakeesta
If you are spending a day up on the mountain at Anakeesta, the Cliff Tops Grill & Bar is a great place to grab lunch or dinner. The Brisket Philly Cheesesteak is especially tasty and the kids meal of mac & cheese is also quite delicious. 

576 Parkway Suite A, Gatlinburg, TN

Cliff Top Bar and Grill at Anakeesta in Gatlinburg, Tennessee
Cliff Top Bar & Grill at Anakeesta

Big Daddy’s Pizza
With a handful of locations in both towns, Big Daddy’s is a decent option for families who want something simple, easy, and pleasing to everyone. 

Various locations in Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge, TN

Southern Comfort
The flagstone restaurant at the Westgate Smoky Mountain Resort in Gatlinburg, Southern Comfort serves up Lowcountry cuisine with a Cajun twist. It’s delicious and you’ll want to keep coming back for more. The hospitality is just as sweet as the s’mores dessert.

915 Westgate Resorts Road, Gatlinburg, TN


Places to travel in the United States

Looking for more travel ideas? Check out our Travel Guide, with ideas for travel throughout the Southeast and beyond!


Wilderness at the Smokies: This Resort Has 3 Waterparks in Sevierville, TN

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Did you know Wilderness at the Smokies has three waterparks plus a hotel? Sign us up! Kristina took her family to Wilderness at the Smokies in Sevierville, TN to experience this family-friendly resort and tells us all about it and why it’s such a perfect place for a family trip. Thanks to the Wilderness at the Smokies for providing us with media tickets.

This review was written before the massive renovations done in the fall/winter of 2023. We have not visited since then but hope to go back and update our story after.

This article includes:
About the Resort
Dining at Wilderness at the Smokies
The Waterparks: Indoor & Outdoor
Indoor Arcade and Adventure Forest
Our Favorite Things
Tips for Visiting
Booking Your Trip

If you are looking for a weekend trip, a few days for a family vacation, or a special getaway with a birthday kid or special occasion, the Wilderness at the Smokies resort is an excellent option. Why? Because you don’t even need to leave the property for entertainment and dining. Park the car and have a blast. And it’s all under three hours driving distance from Upstate, SC. We have all the details in our Wilderness at the Smokies review!

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23+ Special Things to Do in Sevierville, TN: Hometown of Dolly Parton

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Looking for things to do in Sevierville, TN? Getting to explore Dolly Parton’s hometown of Sevierville, TN is quite the experience and something we cannot recommend highly enough, especially since it’s only a few short hours in the car away from the Upstate, SC. There is so much to see and do with your family in Sevierville, TN and we’ve got all the details for you right here. 

Special thanks to Visit Sevierville for hosting us on this trip. 

For an endless amount of family fun, Sevierville, Tennessee is the place to go. Even though it is located right next to Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg and many of the cool attractions you already know about are in Sevierville, we found that some really cool aspects of the area are more or less unknown – and we cannot wait to tell you about them. 

We’ll cover everything from Sevierville attractions to Historic Downtown Sevierville, plus places to eat, places to play, and places to stay. And of course, you’ll learn all about the town’s most famous resident, country music star Dolly Parton. Her influence is everywhere and we absolutely love it.

Iron Forge Brewing Co.

This article includes:
Historic Downtown Sevierville
Where to Eat in Sevierville, TN
Where to Play: Sevierville TN things to do
Where to Stay in Sevierville, TN

Historic Downtown Sevierville 

Historic downtown Sevierville is a cute place to walk around and check out the shops, restaurants, and a gorgeous butterfly mural. In recent years, historic downtown Sevierville has been given a makeover with larger sidewalks, landscaping, new roofs, and new entertainment and restaurants.

It still holds an early 1900s feel, which I really loved, but you can easily see that it’s on the way up. 

Having walked in downtown Gatlinburg many times, downtown Sevierville is so quiet and calm. New shops and restaurants are opening up and I think that any family looking to escape the crowds will love strolling around on Bruce Street and Court Avenue. 

Here are a few things that we really liked about historic downtown Sevierville: 

Dolly Parton Statue

There is a bronze statue of a young Dolly Parton holding her guitar right in front of the gold-domed Sevier County Courthouse. Dolly grew up in Sevier County and the statue, created in 1987, honors the star in her hometown. This is just a cool photo op so that’s exactly what my kids and I did. 

125 Court Ave, Sevierville, TN  

Dolly Parton statue

Jolene’s on Bruce Street

I was walking back to my car from checking out the Dolly Parton statue, a hanging sign caught my eye: Jolene’s. I spun around so fast and headed right for it.

Turns out that Jolene’s on Bruce Street is a boutique shop with clothing, jewelry, totes, shoes, greeting cards, notebooks, and all kinds of trinkets that pay homage to Dolly Parton. There’s a lot of sparkly stuff as you could probably imagine. I really loved this shop and hope to go back when I’m in the area next to see what new stuff they have. 

112 Bruce St, Sevierville, TN

Sevier County Courthouse

Right behind the Dolly Parton statue is the Sevier County Courthouse. You cannot miss this building. It was built in 1896 and was the first courthouse in Tennessee to be listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

If you ever see the Sevierville skyline, which you can definitely see from various roads that lead into downtown Sevierville, you cannot miss the gold domes. 

125 Court Ave, Sevierville, TN  

Wings of Wander Mural

I love a good wall mural and the mural by Sevierville artist Pinkie Mistry at the little park in the heart of downtown Sevierville was just beautiful. It’s a huge monarch butterfly, a tribute to Dolly Parton’s song “Love is Like a Butterfly,” and is painted on the wall behind a large butterfly garden filled with Black-Eyed Susans, lilies, and milkweed.

My daughters and I had a lot of fun taking photos in front of the mural!

There are other murals around historic downtown Sevierville as well, including one on the wall of The Pines Downtown.

Where to Eat in Sevierville, TN

We had so many excellent meals in Sevierville that it was hard to choose our favorite. I was so impressed with the quality, quantity, and creativity behind the dishes we had. 

Trotter’s Whole Hog BBQ

Located in historic downtown Sevierville, Trotter’s Whole Hog BBQ  has an unassuming dining room with booths and tables, a couple televisions (one played old Bob Ross shows, which we loved), and a long counter. The letters on the menu board look like old school diner type. Don’t let any of this fool you.

This BBQ place is amazing. They have traditional BBQ dishes like pulled pork sandwiches and rib platters but also Deviled Chicken Salad, Smoked Bologna, and Smoked Meatloaf.

We got the Waymore’s Sampler Platter, which had pulled pork, ribs, and half a chicken plus hushpuppies and two sides (we got green beans and mac & cheese). We somehow had leftovers after my family of four dug in. 

They also have a giant beer wall where you can pour your own drafts from a variety of local and regional beers. You pay by the ounce. 

Trotter’s is definitely a winner for delicious, family-friendly meals. They also have take out family meal deals if you want to grab something to go!

127 Bruce St, Sevierville, TN 

Iron Forge Brewing Co.

Set back off the main road in Sevierville behind the Apple Barn lies Iron Forge Brewing Co, a brand new brewery and restaurant. The place is just beautiful with indoor and outdoor seating and a menu that is small but mighty.

The owners told me they thoughtfully picked their menu to give guests the very best of what they could offer for appetizers, entrees, salads, and desserts. I thought the menu was just the right size and wish my stomach was bigger because I could have ordered so many things off of it! 

We ended up getting fried cheese curds to start, a strawberry salad, and three different smash burgers. Everything was amazing. I would a hundred percent go back for those cheese curds though plus order a hanging Bavarian pretzel with beer cheese because I have a weakness for soft pretzels. 

All the beers at Iron Forge are brewed right on site. I tried a few and loved the lighter Bee Bait, a honey wheat ale. The brewery is both family-friendly and dog-friendly with a kids menu and outdoor games like cornhole and ax throwing (don’t worry, the axes are plastic). They also have Singo nights, which is bingo but with songs! 

371 Lonesome Valley Rd, Sevierville, TN

Beer flight at Iron Forge Brewing Co.

Flapjack’s Pancake Cabin

A true Southern pancake house, Flapjack’s has everything you could ever want for a hearty breakfast: pancakes, French toast, omelets, egg platters, chicken & waffles, skillets, and more. The pancakes we got were super fluffy and delicious. Service was excellent, friendly, and fast.

My youngest daughter loved the Jr. Bear pancakes, which are pancakes arranged and decorated to look like a bear. My favorite was my husband’s order of Banana Nut Pancakes and the candied bacon.

If Annie, the General Manager, is there, be sure to thank her if you like your meal. She is the sweetest person and strives so hard to make Flapjacks a place you want to come back to again and again. 

They are open for breakfast and an early lunch so be sure to go in the mornings! And while Flapjack’s is a local eatery, they have several locations in Pigeon Forge, Gatlinburg, Sevierville, and even one in Myrtle Beach, SC. 

Buc-ee’s

The iconic gas station convenience store is now open in Sevierville and it’s massive. With 74,000 square feet of retail space, you won’t find any shortage of culinary options here.

They have amazing brisket and pulled pork sandwiches, bakery items, salads, a wall of beef jerky, coffee, banana pudding, key lime pudding, and tons more. I’m not going to tell you how many times we went to Buc-ee’s on our trip to Sevierville but it was more than a couple of times!

Buc-ee’s Blvd, Sevierville, TN 

Buc-ee's brisket maker
Chopping up brisket

Apple Barn & Cider Mill 

Built in 1910, the Apple Barn & Cider Mill is one of Sevierville’s oldest establishments. There are even several apple trees around the property (you cannot do u-pick so don’t try). They have a huge barn full of homemade apple products, mixes, and home goods. They make their own apple cider, which you can buy by the gallon. They make their own cider donuts, hard cider, candy, and one of our favorites: ice cream. 

The Ice Cream Factory at the Apple Barn opened in 1991 and is an old-fashioned creamery. It is a must-do when you visit Sevierville. We had such a hard time choosing what flavors to have.

I eventually went with Key Lime Pie and both my kids had a Rocky Road-type flavor. All the ice cream and baked goods are made right there so you’re getting everything as fresh as possible. 

There is a restaurant as well there but we did not get a chance to try it. For those who love Christmas, visit the Christmas and Candle Shop. 

230 Apple Valley Rd, Sevierville, TN

Where to Play 

Within a ten-minute drive, you can find all kinds of fun places to play in Sevierville. Here are the ones we’ve tried!

The Pines Downtown

For a piece of Dolly Parton history, hand-tossed pizza, and fun games for the whole family, you must try the Pines in Historic Downtown Sevierville. This laid-back establishment was the very first place that Dolly sang when she was only 10-years-old on the Cas Walker Show. 

Today, you can play all kinds of board games, soccer pool, arcade games, duckpin bowling, and tabletop games at the Pines. It really fosters an atmosphere of having fun with your family and loved ones. 

They serve sandwiches, appetizers, cheesesteaks, hand-tossed pizza, and cinnamon bread plus have a full bar. Everyone is really nice here and we ended up going twice during our trip because it was so fun!

 230 Court Ave, Sevierville, TN

Playing soccer pool at The Pines

RainForest Adventures Discovery Zoo

RainForest Adventures Discovery Zoo focuses on education about animals in the rainforest. They are a family-owned operation and have been in business since the early 2000s. The zoo is beautifully structured with a huge gift shop that you’ll see when you first walk in. Once you get your tickets, you’ll head for the exhibits. 

There are all kinds of interesting animals – many of which I had never even seen or heard of – that we got to learn about and see. Lemurs, lizards, macaws, toucans, monkeys, porcupines, and snakes all greet visitors and placards urge guests to read about each one and learn something cool about them. For example, I had no idea that venom from snakes has been used in cancer treatments.

They also have a few axolotls, a really unique salamander that lives in only one lake in the entire world. They are crazy cool because they can regrow limbs and some internal organs.

The Zoo also has a petting area for sheep and goats. You can feed them for a small cost. My kids loved getting to feed the cute and feisty goats. Plus, there were baby goats so that made me happy! My kids are 12 and 8 and really enjoyed this zoo. 

109 Nascar Dr, Sevierville, TN

SkyLand Ranch 

Skyland Ranch occupies 100 acres on top of a mountain in Sevierville. They are a new attraction and have some pretty neat things going on. For example, they’ve got the biggest mountain coaster in the Southeast at more than a mile in length. We tried it out and had so much fun running those rails.

They also have a relaxing chair lift up to the top of the mountain (or a shuttle if you’re scared of the lift), miniature horses, goats, and a lot of great entertainment. 

When we were there, we got to see a very talented cowboy show off his gun-twirling, whip-snapping, and rope-swinging skills. We also got a taste of an awesome band who played some fantastic country music songs and we danced along to line dances in the evening. Your admission to Skyland Ranch is good for a whopping three days! Read our full review on SkyLand Ranch for all the details.

1620 Parkway, Sevierville, TN 

Chair lift at SkyLand Ranch
Chair lift at SkyLand Ranch

Sevier Air 

With trampolines, a Ninja Warrior course, and a huge laser tag room, the 38,000 square foot Sevier Air is the perfect place to spend time indoors on a hot, cold, or rainy day. Weather always changes fast in the mountains and this place is perfect for the entire family to burn out energy. 

266 Collier Dr, Sevierville, TN

Where to Stay 

The Ridge Outdoor Resort 

We stayed at The Ridge Outdoor Resort, a beautiful resort in the heart of Sevierville that has RV slips, glamping tents, and tiny homes. Our lodging was a two-bedroom, one-bathroom glamping tent with a living space, kitchen, and huge porch. It was fantastic! I couldn’t believe how much space there was inside this tent and how comfortable it was. All their tents have both AC and heat. 

The resort also has two zero-entry pools, a lazy river, a catch & release pond, a deli and laundry facility on-site, two fenced in dog parks, a playground, a game room, and one of the pools has a hot tub. The place is also ideally located in Sevierville.

It’s not right in the middle of all the action so it’s very peaceful and tranquil but you won’t need to drive further than 10-15 minutes to get anywhere you want to go. We really loved our stay here and you can read our full review of The Ridge Outdoor Resort to plan your own trip.

1250 Middle Creek Rd, Sevierville, TN

Glamping tent at the Ridge Outdoor Resort
Some of the glamping tents at the Ridge Outdoor Resort

Wilderness at the Smokies

This family-friendly hotel has three waterparks on-site, including Tennessee’s largest indoor waterpark. You won’t even need to leave the resort for entertainment and dining once you get there. Rooms are spacious and some suites offer bunk beds for kids. And it’s directly across the street from Soaky Mountain Waterpark. Read our Wilderness at the Smokies Review.

1424 Old Knoxville Hwy, Sevierville, TN

Indoor waterpark at Wilderness at the Smokies
Wilderness at the Smokies indoor waterpark

Smoky Hollow Outdoor Resort

Stay in a covered wagon or tipi at this resort in Sevierville, TN for the ultimate pioneer adventure. The resort is close to Soaky Mountain and minutes from Gatlinburg, Pigeon Forge, and the Smokies. Read our Smoky Hollow Outdoor Resort.

660 Gists Creek Road, Sevierville, TN

Smoky Hollow Wagon
Conestoga wagons at Smoky Hollow Outdoor Resort

Making Memories in Sevierville 

Ready to go to Sevierville, TN? We only scratched the surface of all the things to do there in East Tennessee, not even mentioning the Great Smoky Mountains National Park and the treasure it truly is. This area is absolutely one of our very favorites to visit and we just fall in love with it again and again every time we go – we think you will, too. 

Here are a couple of other attractions and things to do you might want to consider on your trip:

Visit Sevierville is an excellent resource for more things to do in the area and places to stay. Before and during my stay, I referenced their website and visitors’ guide multiple times. They also have discounts on their site for different attractions so it’s certainly worth a visit.

Family Fun & Longest Mountain Coaster in the Southeast at SkyLand Ranch: Sevierville, TN

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A one-of-a-kind experience awaits at SkyLand Ranch in Sevierville, TN, just under three hours from Greenville, SC, with its scenic views, miniature animals, amazing entertainment, and thrilling mountain coaster. 

Thank you to Visit Sevierville for hosting us at SkyLand Ranch.

I had heard about SkyLand Ranch in Sevierville, TN when they first opened up in the fall of 2022 and had it on my radar to go when I got the chance because it just looked really cool with its peaceful and relaxing chair lift, thrilling mountain coaster, and gorgeous views. Let me say: I was not disappointed in my visit to SkyLand Ranch!

Chair lift at SkyLand Ranch
Chair lift

About SkyLand Ranch

SkyLand Ranch is a new attraction in Sevierville, TN, just under three hours from Greenville, SC, that sits on 100 acres on top of a mountain. Owners Lisa and Mark Williford are longtime mountain coaster operators and wanted to bring something new to Sevierville that tells the story of life on a ranch but with that thrilling ride of a mountain coaster and fantastic entertainment.

The decor of SkyLand Ranch is gorgeous. White barns, dark rocking chairs, natural wood structures, and a stunning skywalk that overlooks the Great Smoky Mountains National Park is what you can expect there. 

The entire experience is unlike other attractions in the Smokies and you can tell that the owners put a lot of thought into the guest experience. Yet this is just the beginning. They plan to expand their offerings, which we’ll write about when they happen. 

Getting up to SkyLand Ranch 

The actual ranch is on top of a mountain, which you’ll reach either by a relaxing chair lift ride or a shuttle bus. After getting over my initial fears of chair lifts and my feet dangling high above solid ground, I have truly grown to love these lifts. The open air and views are a huge draw. I still hold onto my kids (not my sunglasses though…RIP) tightly but I’m no longer scared of these lifts. 

The ride up to the mountain is not that long, maybe 10 minutes, and if you’ve been on other chair lifts in the area, this one is not as steep. But if you’re not into chair lifts, just take the shuttle up. 

Once you get up there, take as much time as you like to explore all that SkyLand Ranch offers. 

Wild Stallion Mountain Coaster

While I’d say it’s usually hard to choose a favorite activity at any of the cool places in Sevierville I’ve visited, it wasn’t hard at SkyLand Ranch. The Wild Stallion Mountain Coaster was our favorite thing we did at the ranch.

I rode with my youngest daughter, 8, while my other daughter, 12, rode by herself, as did my husband. I think that for the older kids, riding by themselves gives them this great sense of independence, which is a lot of fun for them (and us parents to see). 

The coaster is the longest in the Southeast at 1.25 miles long. You’ll be on it for about eight minutes and you can control how fast or slow you go. Being the daredevil Jersey girl I am, I hit it fast until my daughter told me I needed to slow down for her sake. Well, okay. 

Mountain coaste rat SkyLand Ranch
Wild Stallion Mountain Coaster

The views from the coaster are also stunning. You can see the Smoky Mountains in the distance, including Mt. LeConte, which my daughters and I hiked this summer. Big accomplishment that I like to remind them about so we can do it again! You can see the strip of the beginning of Pigeon Forge as well and all throughout Sevierville. It’s beautiful. 

While we rode the coaster during the day, you can also ride it late into the night for a totally other experience because you can see the flickering lights of Pigeon Forge and Sevierville. Plus, you get to basically ride a coaster in the dark. It’s like Space Mountain but way better. How cool is that? I was really hoping to do this but we just ran out of time. Gotta go back. 

To ride the Wild Stallion, kids must be at least three years old and 38” tall to ride. All riders under 54” tall must ride with an adult.

The coaster is an add-on to your admission price but you can also just go to SkyLand Ranch to ride the coaster and not go up to the mountain. You can view all the ticket options on the SkyLand Ranch website. If you do the combo ticket, which includes admission + the mountain coaster and you want to ride the coaster again, it’s just $10/person for the next ride. The coaster is open until 11 pm while the ranch closes at 8 pm.

Western Entertainment

When we got off the chair lift at the top of the mountain to see the ranch, we were fortunate enough to arrive just in time for one of the shows. We got to see a cowboy show us his best Billy the Kid gun twirling and whip snapping moves before he got to some serious rope swinging action. 

We loved watching his amazing talents and getting to see some old Western skills that you really don’t get to see elsewhere. He was fantastic and a great introduction to Skyland Ranch. 

Cowboy with a rope at miniature horses at SkyLand Ranch
Rope-swinging cowboy

Not long after the cowboy performed, a local band setup to start their country music set. They were really good! They did some cover songs and a couple of their own, which I loved. I’m a big country music fan so I thoroughly enjoyed their music. 

A lot of people took to the rocking chairs in the shade and just hung out, ate lunch, and enjoyed the entertainment. It was definitely relaxing. My husband and daughters played cornhole while we listened to the music. It was great. 

In the evening, we came back up the mountain to go line dancing, which was awesome. Even though I grew up in New Jersey, I’m a country girl at heart because my parents actually took my siblings and I line dancing. Yes, there were several places to go line dancing in NJ. So I got to show my kids what a great line dancer I was and I think they thought I was cool for five seconds. Proud parenting moment.

There is also a cute little playground that is partially shaded and a big area with picnic tables next to the playground that is totally shaded for parents to hang out or to have lunch or dinner.

Gem mining is available and there are three options: the large gemstone package is $10 plus tax, the Emerald Bay package is $12.00 plus tax, and the BIG BAG package is $30.00 plus tax. You have access to the mining for as long as you like. It is not time based. The gem mine is located next to the playground. SkyLand Ranch also has BB gun shooting range, the SkyLand Shootout BB Gun Shooting Range, which costs $9.99 plus tax for 15 minutes of unlimited shooting.

Definitely don’t miss the big sky walk called Legacy Lookout. You can read about the history of Sevierville as well as learn what mountains you’re looking at in the distance and get incredible photos of you and your family. 

The ranch has daily entertainment so be sure to check the website before you go or give them a call to see what’s on the schedule. 

Animals at the Ranch

SkyLand Ranch has several miniature horses and there are even goats to play with. Y’all know how much I love goats. They were our first stop once we got off the chair lift. 

I was so surprised at just how clean the animal enclosures were. They were nearly spotless. Actually, everything at SkyLand Ranch was spotless. 

Once you are on the chair lift, you’ll get a view of the donkeys and alpacas, which are adorable. They have sheep and longhorns at the ranch.

Shopping & Dining

You don’t go all the way up to the mountain not to have food and shopping. There’s both a food court with pizza, sandwiches, and ice cream plus food trucks at SkyLand Ranch. The food trucks have BBQ, nachos, soft pretzels, street corn (delicious), and burgers. 

There is no shortage of retail therapy to be had at SkyLand Ranch either. They have a huge store up on the mountain with quality apparel, cowboy and cowgirl hats, Western toys and games, SkyLand Ranch branded items, mugs, sparkly dresses, and all kinds of neat stuff. I almost walked out of there with a pink sparkle cowgirl hat.

Admission 

Here’s the cool thing about admission to SkyLand Ranch: your ticket is good for three days of admission. Three days. You don’t find that anywhere in that area. 

Ticket prices are $21.99/ages 10+, $12.99/ages 3-9, and free/ages 2 and under. Season passes are also offered at SkyLand Ranch. 

Free parking is available as well.  Dogs are not allowed due to the ranch having animals of its own. Service animals are accepted.

SkyLand Ranch 
1620 Parkway, Sevierville TN

Sevierville TN

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Relaxation Awaits at The Ridge Outdoor Resort in Sevierville, TN

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If you want to be close to all that the Sevierville, TN area has to offer but not be in the middle of crowds, The Ridge Outdoor Resort is the place to be. Kristina and her family spent a couple of nights here exploring what the resort in Sevierville has to offer and she’s got all the details on how to plan a great family trip here. 

Thank you to Visit Sevierville for inviting us to stay at The Ridge Outdoor Resort. 

When on vacation, I love to try new things and experience unique adventures. But I also enjoy some downtime and relaxation and The Ridge Outdoor Resort in Sevierville, TN is absolutely perfect for both of those goals – and it’s just three hours from Greenville, SC.

My family and I stayed in one of their glamping tents and had such a great time exploring Sevierville but also hanging out at the pools and resting up for our next adventures. Here’s why I think you’ll love a stay at The Ridge Outdoor Resort. 

About The Ridge Outdoor Resort

Having only opened in 2019, The Ridge Outdoor Resort has already established itself as one of the area’s best luxury RV and camping and glamping resorts. They have multiple options for lodging, many amenities, and they are surrounded by 50 acres of Smoky Mountain beauty. 

The Ridge Outdoor Resort currently has more than 150 RV sites, eight glamping canvas tents, and five luxury tiny homes. They have two zero entry pools, a hot tub, two bathhouses, two dog parks, a catch-and-release pond, laundry, on-site deli, playground, kids room with games, and fitness center. 

The Pools 

We really enjoyed our time at the two pools located at the resort. Both are zero-entry pools, which are perfect for smaller kids who can’t swim well or at all. 

The pool closest to the main building at the resort has a hot tub and the pool is about five feet deep. They also have umbrellas and chairs you can relax in right in the shallow water in the pool. I loved that! There’s a bathhouse right next to the pool if you need. 

The other pool, located on the opposite end of the resort, has a small lazy river and covered tables and chairs plus bathrooms. My kids went around that lazy river a seemingly infinite number of times, with and without tubes. 

There are tubes provided plus plenty of lounge chairs at both pools, which is really nice for catching up on all that reading I had been meaning to do. There are large umbrellas if you’d like to sit in the shade and plenty of sunny spots if that’s your thing. 

You can request pool towels from the registration desk. 

Our Glamping Tent 

I’ve stayed in glamping tents before but none as large and accommodating as our two-bedroom, one bathroom tent at the Ridge Resort. It was amazing! 

There is a huge porch with a gas fire pit, oversized chairs, and a picnic table. Once you step inside, there’s a good size living space with a table, sofa, and television plus a kitchen. Head down the hallway and there’s a full bathroom and two bedrooms. I was impressed with how much they fit into this tent. 

Tents all have air conditioning and heat so you can stay any time of the year and be comfortable. We stayed during July and it was really, really hot but the tent was cool, especially at night. Because it is a tent not with solid walls, the air conditioning and fans are louder than they are in a house but honestly, it didn’t bother me at all. I sleep with a white noise machine so this was actually perfect. I wish I could have spent a longer amount of time here because it was so comfortable and relaxing. For our family of four, it was the perfect size and never felt cramped. 

I especially loved the porch because it somehow got a nice breeze even in 90+ degree heat during the day. I had morning coffee out there and didn’t want to leave. As of this writing, glamping tents are offered at $210/night. Some are pet friendly. 

Tiny Homes & RV Slips

There are five tiny homes at the Ridge Resort that can sleep anywhere from 1-6 guests and come with all the modern amenities of glamping: a kitchen, bathroom, and bedrooms. Each tiny house also has AC and heat so they can be enjoyed year-round. 

I don’t have an RV so I’m truly not well-versed in RV language but the Ridge Resort offers both Premiere and Signature sites. All sites include all the amenities at the resort plus the Signature sites also have an outdoor wood-burning fireplace, outdoor television, grill and individual hot tub. I may need to start researching RVs. 

Fishing, Golf Carts, Kids Room & Other Amenities

The amenities at the Ridge Resort are awesome and family-friendly. While our favorites were the two pools and hot tub, the resort also offers golf cart rentals, a golf simulator, free wifi, two dog parks, and seasonal activities. 

They also have a deli on site that you can order food from right from your phone. There are plenty of restrooms and bathhouses at either end of the resort plus a camp store if you need any last-minute items. 

If you are like me and absolutely love Jeeps, you can rent one from the resort to bop around in during your time in Sevierville. They are $125/day + tax.

Overall Mom Review

Looking for The Ridge Outdoor Resort reviews? Here’s our mom review.

I thoroughly enjoyed the Ridge Outdoor Resort in Sevierville, TN with my family. They just made it so easy to relax, which I find is often a tough thing to do in my daily life. Besides the pools and the beautiful glamping tent, my favorite thing was the location.

We had to drive no more than 10 minutes to get anywhere we needed to go. Everything was so close but we weren’t in the midst of all the action, just close to it, which made our trip there so much more peaceful and relaxing. 

If you’re looking for a unique glamping experience with lots of amenities in an ideal location in Sevierville, The Ridge Outdoor Resort is it.

The Ridge Outdoor Resort
1250 Middle Creek Rd, Sevierville, TN
865.505.3111

Sevierville TN

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