Outdoor Adventures Rafting Whitewater Smiling People Boat

Tennessee is all about family fun and there are plenty of places to visit. We’ve narrowed down some choices for you that you should keep on a quick list if you’re planning your Smoky Mountain vacation.

Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies—Just imagine seeing 12-foot sharks, a giant sea turtle and a whole “school” of exotic sea creatures. Of course, everyone also loves watching penguins swim and play, especially the kids! Another big attraction are the underwater tunnels. They are state-of-the-art so it’s like you can touch everything swimming by. This is the America’s #1 aquarium and a must see in Gatlinburg and right downtown close to everything! If you’re looking for things do in Gatlinburg, make this a destination. If you want to get more hands-on, they offer that too. They have special experiences for a bit extra. You can swim with the stringrays, pet penguins, and even have a sleepover right under the sharks! Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies also has event spaces and they love groups. Looking for a themed birthday party your child will never forget? They’ll set you up with decorations, cake, juice, party favors, and a birthday gift. Top the party off with a sleepover!

Wonder Works—See all the six Wonder Zones, which are more than 100 hands-on exhibits and interactive displays. Check out each one including Natural Disasters, Physical Challenge, Light & Sound, Space Discovery, Imagination Lab and Far Out Art Gallery. If that’s not enough, enjoy these additional experiences: Glow-In-The-Dark Ropes-Course, Laser-Tag Arena and The Wonders of Magic. They also offer group discounts, and are great for youth groups, field trips, team building. They offer several rental options, including a banquet room, arcade rental and building buyout with maximum occupancy of 1,000 guests. It’s definitely one of the best places to visit in Pigeon Forge with over 35,000 square feet of education and entertainment.

Rafting in the Smokies—What would you like to do: rafting or ziplining? Just do both at Rafting in the Smokies—that’s right—both in one place. They used the strongest timbers to build the zipline towers and cables instead of ropes on the skybridges. Here’s a little taste of what to expect if you want to zipline: There are six ziplines and two skybridges ranging from 60-80 feet off the ground for a total of 2,400 feet long! Ziplines are designed for ages 5+ and 45-250lbs. Here’s what you should expect for the rafting: It’s Class III & IV (I and II is available with the Family Float for ages 3+) and ages 8+. The main white white rafting location is on the upper Pigeon River, and the journey is approximately five miles over the course of 1.5 hours. Expect big splashes & bumpy waves, with a maximum of 6-7 people per raft and guide. Rafting in the Smokies offers great amenities on their 10-acre island like barbecue grills, picnic tables, swings and beanbag toss games. If you have kids that weren’t able to do the rafting or ziplining, they can still have fun at the water’s edge.

Magi Quest—This is a journey for all ages from five to 100, boys and girls, moms, dads and grandparents. They choose how they play. They have three featured experiences. Pirate Golf is an 18-hole miniature golf course set in a Caribbean pirate village. Your goal is to find hidden treasure as you play in this blacklight course. Odyssey is a Mirror Maze Adventure, and at 5,000 square feet it’s twice as large as the world’s second largest mirror maze (also in Gatlinburg). The infinity room in the maze is where you’ll see into infinity in every direction. There is a hallway where the walls make a giant holograph and a dance room where walls react to your move! The Vault is a laser challenge and you’ll have to try not to break the laser beam as you twist, duck, and try to work your way to the Vault, stop the timer, and see where you rank.

Find out more in the Family Fun section.

Content on this page is subject to change. Please contact the locations mentioned to see if promotions, hours, pricing, etc. are still valid.

About Andrew Parrott

Andrew Parrott is as close to the most interesting man in the world as you can get. As a resident of Tennessee, he knows his stuff when it comes to the Smoky Mountains! When not wrangling wild boars, he enjoys spending time with his family.

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