We just got back from an amazing family adventure in the Great Smoky Mountains of Tennessee. Last November, I was fortunate enough to visit Pigeon Forge, Tn. on a business trip. I was blown away by the beauty of the area and all of the fun attractions that were available. I dreamed of bringing my family back to the area to experience it all.
As many of you know, I am the Chief Purser/Social Media Manager for the Titanic Museum Attraction and of coarse we have a location in Pigeon Forge, Tn. I had been working for several months on a Mom Blogger Event at the ship and knew that I would be going back to Tennessee for the event. I thought it was the perfect opportunity to bring my family, not only to meet my new Mom Blogger Friends, but also to experience the area on a family vacation.
As I have mentioned before, we are a family full of energy who enjoys being outside and we will try most anything once. Well, my dream came true and we were on our way…on a long drive to Pigeon Forge, Tn. (15 hours). When we arrived on the Parkway, our focus was on this magnificent ship that looked like it was going to sail across the road. There she was, the ship of dreams transformed into a GREAT museum. My husband could not get over how big the museum was and how much presence it had on the Parkway. My family couldn’t wait to check it out.
The first order of business, however, was to find our lodging. We stayed at the Appleview River Resort in a cute little 2 bedroom condo. We rented it through Old Mill Lodging. The staff there was extremely helpful and made sure we had everything that we needed. The condo was clean and came equipped with a full kitchen, a patio with a gas grill, and there was a pool close by. I liked the area because it was about a half mile off of the Parkway. The Resort was tucked away behind an apple orchard and the Pigeon River flowed behind right behind us.
The Mom Blogger event at the Titanic Museum Attraction began at 9am on Saturday. My husband and children met me there and I got to introduce them to 13 other Mom’s and their families. We all toured the museum with the new Audio Tour devices. I wanted all of my Mom friends in the area to try the new Audio Tour with their families and let us know what they thought. The new Audio Tour at the museum has 2 versions; one for kids and one for adults. I kept hearing from our Mom Bloggers that they loved the new Audio Tours because their kids loved them and it gave the parents more time to read and enjoy the exhibits. All of the children were actively engaged in listening to the tour and learning about the Titanic. I would like to give a special thank you to Swift Shots who took all of the mom’s pictures. Here is ours:
After the event, my vacation began! We had put together an itinerary for the trip to make sure that we experienced everything we could in the area. I am going to give you a run down of every place we went and would like to mention that most of the attractions did a ticket swap with us, so that I could experience their facilities.
1. Adventure Park Zip Line at Five Oaks http://adventureziplinesofsevierville.com/
I would just like to say that this was a HUGE accomplishment for me and the entire family loved it. Even my 6 year old was able to go and he did the last line by himself. When we finished this trip, I wanted to do it again. I am now addicted to zip lining. What a rush!
2. Wilderness Resort http://www.wildernessatthesmokies.com/
Here we stayed in a condo on the property. It was very nice – kitchen too. There was an enormous indoor waterpark equipped with a wave pool, 4 water slides, and surfing. We also enjoyed an outdoor waterpark that included a lazy river, wave pool, and putt-putt golf. Needless to say, the kids had a blast here. I highly recommend taking your family. By the way, in this picture above, Garrett found a dollar at the bottom of the lazy river. He was quite happy.
3. The Track http://www.pigeonforgetrack.com/
We had a blast here as well. We rode go karts on two different tracks. The boys enjoyed getting each other soaking wet on the bumper boats, and I think we may have scared Daddy pretty good on the Sky Flyer. See the picture above. They were up in the air and dropped from about 60 feet. Garrett on the left has to pull the cord to make the swing drop. My little one, Hunter wasn’t scared at all….little adrenaline junky.
I made reservations for a guided fishing adventure while we were there as a Father’s Day gift for my husband. We chose to go Bass and Blue Gill fishing on Lake Douglas. Our guide, Captain David Berry, was such a great guy and very knowledgeable. He had competed professionally for years and now was strictly a guide. We started early in the morning and fished until lunch time. The boys enjoyed catching the Blue Gill. The lake was pristine. We enjoyed watching the sun come up!
This was quite the adventure. The had the World’s Largest Mirror maze. The kids loved it. I thought I was going to have an anxiety attack (LOL), but we made it through. They had a laser course where you had to pretend that you were on a Mission Impossible and jump through lasers. We also enjoyed an indoor black lit putt putt golf game. Hunter cheated so Garrett actually didn’t enjoy himself as much. The best part of this attraction is their Magi-quest where you go on a scavenger hunt with these wands that are used to open treasures. It was really interesting and challenging. Plan to spend several hours here if you go.
6. Ripley’s Aquarium http://gatlinburg.ripleyaquariums.com/
This was a world class attraction. You could swim with the sting rays, view many different varieties of sharks, and they had a huge penguin exhibit. I think we may have arrived at the penguin exhibit right after lunch. All of them were snoozing, but so cute. My 9 year old enjoyed this attraction the most. He took over 300 pictures of fish and spent over an hour in the gift shop. A definite must see in Gatlinburg, Tn!
7. Gatlinburg Sky Lift – http://www.gatlinburgskylift.com/
The views from up here were magnificent. You could see for miles. We all enjoyed riding this lift in Gatlinburg. I would highly recommend it.
8. Wonderworks http://www.wonderworksonline.com/pigeon-forge/
This was so much fun. There were so many hands on activities for all ages. You could spend an entire day in this attraction. This above picture is of Will laying on a bed of nails. You could rock climb, ride a bike that took you upside down, ride a virtual roller coaster, and more. We spent almost six hours at this attraction. It is definitely worth the money.
9. Dixie Stampede http://pigeon-forge.dixiestampede.com/index.php
My kids enjoyed this very much. This is a great dinner show endorsed by Dolly Parton. There are trick horse riders, buffalo, and you eat the dinner with your hands. My 6 year old was mesmerized by all of the animals. The food is good too and you get a ton of it. It was funny to watch Hunter get an entire Cornish game hen. He just looked at me and starting laughing. This is a great show for all ages.
10. Dollywood http://www.dollywood.com/dollywood_home.aspx
Did it all. Loved it all. FUN, FUN, FUN. Dolly was there, but we missed her. I liked the way the park thought of everything. There was a giant dryer that you could step into as a family to dry off after one of the many water rides. You could also purchase a shower cap in a vending machine before you went on a ride. There were tons of neat shops, good fair food, and the rides were all great. They even had a giant ropes course way up in the tree tops. We loved this theme park!
11. Laurel Falls in the Great Smoky Mountains http://www.mysmokymountainvacation.com/laurel-falls.html
We went on a hike up to Laurel Falls in the Great Smoky Mountains. I would have to say that my husband enjoyed this the most. He wanted to hike all of the trails. This particular trail was very crowded and we would have preferred to find one less popular. The waterfall at the top was beautiful.
That concludes a very busy but amazing trip to the Great Smoky Mountains. I would highly recommend this vacation to any family looking for adventure. There are activities for all ages. The landscape is breathtaking and the people of the area are friendly. We are back home now and recuperating. Thank you to all of the attractions of Gatlinburg, Pigeon Forge, and Sevierville that made our trip a blast!