Have you ever gone on a long-anticipated family trip only to be dismayed at the weather once you arrive? Chilly beaches, snow-free ski slopes, and rain-soaked amusement parks can make for sour faces on those vacation photos. We've all been there, and while it's disappointing to be rained out, with a little advanced planning you can make the most of even a soggy day in the Great Smoky Mountains.
Interactive Fun (and Learning) for All
When the weather refuses to cooperate, head to downtown Gatlinburg for some truly freakish and fun entertainment. Ripley's Odditorium is home to more than 500 oddities from all over the world, and every one of them is absolutely real. But if you prefer something a little less weird, Ripley's Aquarium of the Smokies lets you get a close-up look at more than 350 species of sea creatures. Even though Gatlinburg is far from the nearest ocean, Ripley's makes 10,000 fish feel right at home in eight beautiful exhibits. Sharks, rays, and even Giant Pacific Octopus live and play among the coral reefs and sandy-bottom tanks at Ripley's.
For hands-on fun, Wonder Works, Pigeon Forge's favorite indoor attraction, is bursting with exciting adventures for your whole family. Inside the Bubble Lab, you'll make soap bubbles so big you can even wrap yourself up in one. Or dress as a real astronaut in the Space Zone, and explore a replica of the Mercury capsule. And if you've always wanted to know what an earthquake feels like, Disaster Zone is the place to be. You'll have a front row seat to a 5.3 magnitude quake that will leave you literally shaking in your shoes. For a more active adventure, make sure you hit the Challenge Zone and try your skills on the giant rock-climbing wall.
If you've always dreamed of flying, an afternoon spent skydiving might be just the thrill you're looking for. And that rainy weather doesn't have to be a downer when you book your flight at Flyaway Indoor Skydiving of Pigeon Forge. This powerful, vertical wind tunnel will lift you off the ground for an adventure that feels exactly like skydiving, but without a parachute. Instructors will guide you and your group in the proper use of equipment and safety precautions, and then you'll take to the sky for a flight you'll never forget.
Sit Back and Relax – You Deserve It
After a day spent petting stingrays, playing astronaut, and flying high in a wind tunnel, it's time for a relaxing evening. Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge boast a wide variety of world-class theaters where you can see everything from an old-fashioned Vaudeville show to a tribute to the King. Dinner shows include the fun-for-all-ages Dixie Stampede, classic murder mysteries, and even magical comedies sure to be a hit with the youngsters.
When it comes to family vacations, the Great Smoky Mountains have no shortage of entertaining, educational, and just plain fun things to do. Whatever the season, and whatever the weather, with a little planning, your vacation in Pigeon Forge is practically guaranteed to be a success.