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Questions about Gatlinburg

Dollywood: Planning a family trip to Gatlinburg but it's been years since I have been there.

From Don Neal
Posted January 28, 2008 at 9:54 AM
My wife and I are planning a trip to Gatlinburg for us and the kids in late summer / early fall. I had just a few questions for anyone that has been there lately.

1) I don't think we are going to do Dollywood, from what I have heard, the experience doesn't justify the time and price. Anyone think otherwise?

2) I was considering taking the kids to Splash Country through, they are always up for a waterpark. The price seems a bit steep, is it worth it?

3) One of the top things on my list to do is the Ripley's Aquarium. Is it as nice as it sounds? I love aquariums and will probably go no matter what, just want to be sure my expectations are set correctly before hand.

4) Has anyone ever stayed at the Bear Skin lodge on River Rd in downtown Gatlinburg? Thoughts?

5) We love to play putt-putt/mini-golf. I see there is quite a selection down there. Any favorites?

6) We will probbaly go to at least one other attraction like a Ripley's museum or the Guinness World Records museum. Are there any others that someone would recommend for a family (kids are 9, 7, & 5).

7) I know there are several outlets in Pigeon Forge, any input on which is the best or offers the most? I am sure my wife will want to spend a day there as well. :)

Any information or input is greatly appreciated. Thanks!


Comments in chronological order. Most recent at the bottom. Scroll down to respond.

From Scott Verble
Posted January 29, 2008 at 7:00 PM
1)I definitely think it is worth the admission. Usually when you enter after 4pm the next day is free, but this may be seasonal(i am not sure)

2)I have been to Dollywood more times than I can count, but I have never been to Splash Country.(I have never run out of things to do at Dollywood)

3)I have only been to the Ripley's Aquarium once, but I thought it was a lot of fun. As I remember it was kind of small but kept me entertained for several hours. It was well done.

4)I can't say that I have stayed there. Just do your research when staying in Gatlinburg, Trust me. Many great places, same number of not so great.

5)The two best Courses are: Hillbilly Golf, and Ripley's Davey Crockett mini golf. Both have two courses and in my opinion are the best. These rival the Disney courses.

6)I haven't been to any of the "museums" but I have always wanted to. Tell me how it is.

7)Never been to the outlets either.

Have Fun

From steve lee
Posted January 29, 2008 at 9:26 PM
You should be able to google for the outlets and determine which one has more shops that appeal to the wife. The main outlets are the Tangers, I believe.

From Don Neal
Posted January 30, 2008 at 5:54 AM
Yeah, I am a Google, Google Maps, Wikipedia, and research junkie but always like to speak to people that have had experience. What you read/see on the net on a company or hotel's site isn't always what you see when you get there. :)

Also, it looks like we may be limiting the trip to about 3 days and then driving over to Myrtle Beach for a few days as well. So feel free to throw any comments related to that in as well.

Thanks for the info so far guys! Appreciate it. Keep it coming! :)

From Mostly Anonymous
Posted January 30, 2008 at 4:42 PM
I can only really comment on the Aquarium. We have a family reunion in Gatlinburg every year, but never seem to make it to the attractions much - we have too much fun hanging out in the woods around the cabin we stay at.

The kids all absolutely LOVE the aquarium. As adults, we weren't that wild about it. It's really all oriented towards entertainment, not so much education. It's the only aquarium I've been to where I felt like I didn't learn anything. But it's a blast for kids, and it's the top choice in town for all the kids at our reunion.

Cades Cove is really worth a visit. There are some neat historic buildings to stop at, including an old mill, and there are usually deer hanging out in the meadow. So it's a "nature" trip that the kids tend to enjoy.

From Adrienne McDonald
Posted January 30, 2008 at 5:44 PM
It's been yrs since I went to Gatlinburg & just aching to get back there! The Riply's Museum was awesome, at the time it was cheaper than the one in Branson. I dunno what the admission is now but when I went, there were discount coupons available & I only paid like $3.75 to get in but as I said before, dunno what the price could be now. The aquarium wasn't there when I went, so I went to Riply's & the Guiness Bk of Wld Records museum which was just down from there. There is SO much to do there it's just hard to do it all in one day. We parked & had to walk everywhere but I was a young sprout so I didn't really mind. I really wanted to go up to Ober Gatlinburg via cable car but didn't get to. Perhaps next time...Anyway, have a WONDERFUL time! The "village" itself is too neat to discribe. I played the Hillbilly Golf. If it's still there, it's neat as a button. It has two sides but the kewl thing is that you rode up on a funicular (like a cable car: i.e. like Dogpatch has/had or like the one at SFMM going up the hill by Revolution) but this one is wide & open-air I believe, like sitting on a bunch of park benches w/wheels. Very kewl. When you get off, you hafta decide which side since there's no way to cross over to the other side of the rails. Have fun!

From Melissa Faulkner
Posted January 31, 2008 at 2:21 PM
We are in Gatlinburg pretty close to once a month. Bearskin Lodge is a beautiful hotel but its quiet a walk into town. I mean close to a mile from the hotel to the middle of town where the Village is. We make the walk all the time but we don't have kids, so you may take that into consideration. Second, the Aquarium is a nice way to spend some time. The cost is right around $20 for adults. I wouldn't waste a cent on Guiness Book of World Records, If it was my choice I would do Ripleys Believe It Or Not. Cost is about $16 an adult. I think thats right. As for putt putt. Ripleys Davey Crockett is extremely cute. Its at the other end of town going toward Pidgeon Forge. It runs right at $15 per adult per round. I can't comment on Splash Country, I have never been. The other poster was correct that if you go to Dollywood after 3pm the next day is free. There is a HUGE amount of walking involved and its pretty much up hill in ALL directions. So a stroller may be needed. Ober Gatlinburg in late summer early Fall is a very nice place to visit. There are water slides, a Ski lift, black bear habitat, indoor ice skating rink,a mountain slide. You can pay for each attraction separately or purchase a wrist band that covers most if not all attractions. The sky lift to the top of the mountain at Ober is an extremely nice, relaxing ride especially at night. You said you may be limited to 3 days. Then you'll really have to pick and choose what you and your family will enjoy. The Aquarium takes a few good hours, the golf course can take awhile, Dollywood is an all day adventure as is Splash Country. Ripleys Museum takes a couple of hours. Ober can take a few hours, and shopping in Pidgeon Forge is certainly an entire day at best. So you may have to choose just a couple of things and save the rest for another trip. If I can help anymore just email or ask on this board and I will do my best.

From Eve Harder
Posted February 1, 2008 at 6:05 PM
a show you must see it is hilourous is sweet fanny adams theatre it is on the strip in gatlinburg near the first stoplight i think. it is always a must when we go

From Melissa Faulkner
Posted February 2, 2008 at 11:16 AM
Eve, is Sweet Fanny Adams really good? I am 35 and have been going to Gatlinburg since I was 2 weeks old and have never been to the show. I've never really knew if it was worth the money.

From Chris Wilkes
Posted February 4, 2008 at 6:26 AM
Stay far far away from WORLD OF ILLUSIONS...

From Melissa Faulkner
Posted February 4, 2008 at 2:11 PM
AMEN!!! Chris.

From Eve Harder
Posted February 8, 2008 at 12:26 PM
yes, sweet fanny adams is wonderful we always go to is when we go to gatlinburg, well worth the money i think, i just noticed that you have kids some shows are a bit racey so you might call before you go to ask about kids and the show

From Don Neal
Posted February 12, 2008 at 7:09 AM
Thanks for the excellent responses. I was out of town on business last week and just got caught up on my TPI reading. :)

Sounds like the Aquarium, Hillbilly golf, and shopping is in order. I'll have to rethink Bearskin Lodge. Sounds like it's nice but a little off the beaten path. Would be nice to walk from the hotel and not have to drive to another parking lot and then walk.

For the second leg of our trip in Myrtle Beach...has anyone been to Alligator Adventure, Broadway at the Beach, or Barefoot Landing? The latter two seem to be like Downtown Disney/City Walk type attractions. I have been checking out their websites and stuff. Wondered if anyone had visited them before.

From Tyler W.
Posted February 12, 2008 at 1:55 PM
I've been to Alligator Adventure and Barefoot Landing. Alligator Adventure is like a zoo except it has only alligators. If I remember correctly it has a couple good shows. It was worth the visit. Barefoot Landing is just a bunch of shops. It is interesting though because it has a couple pedestrian bridges that go over water and I think a few shops are even on floating docks. It's a good place to check out and buy a souvenir or two but isn't really anything like Downtown Disney.

From steve lee
Posted February 12, 2008 at 4:39 PM
Broadway at the Beach, however, is about as close to Downtown Disney as you'll get. Lots of shops, lots of restaurants, and lots of smaller attractions (a 3D Imax theatre, Magiquest, a mini-golf course, and the Pavilion Nostalgia Park). It's very easy to spend a few hours wandering around. It's also about five minutes from the Coastal Grande Mall and about seven minutes from Hard Rock Park...

From Adrienne McDonald
Posted February 21, 2008 at 8:56 AM
I actually enjoyed the Guinness Bk museum but I've always been a fan. I dunno why the other poster said to avoid it. Perhaps it's gotten run-down?? I found it interesting when I went but if you had to choose, I'd goto Ripley's, it has more stuff in it & it took me like 4 1/2 hrs but that's because I stopped to read everything. :) It shouldn't take that long though if you just look & move along at each display & just glance over the info.

From Tim Strickland
Posted March 4, 2008 at 12:58 PM
It has been atleast 5 years since I visited the Gatlinburg/ Pigeon Forge area, but if you are going to take that trip Dollywood is a must. They have plenty of different things to offer for all ages. My parents were in their late 30's and my sister and I were teenagers, also my grandmother who was in her late 60's had a blast in the one day we went, to Dollywood that is. Unless it has changed it is a beautiful place to see and has many shows as well as plenty of exciting thrills. Have fun!

From Tim Strickland
Posted March 4, 2008 at 1:03 PM
I actually live about half an hour from Myrtle Beach, so I have expreinced many of these attractions. They place is growing so much, but I will tell you a few different places to consider and some I have not experienced as well. Coastal Grande Mall and Tanger Outlets as well as Broadways shops are probably the best places for shopping. Myrtle Waves is a decent water park, it has been a while since I last went. The Nascar park looks to be fun, but younger kids may limit things. I went to alligator adventure many years ago, but I enjoyed it at the time and I would hope it is fun. Celebrity Square at Broadway at the Beach is the part similar to a Citywalk, or atleast nite life area. Ripleys, IMAX, Magiquest and a small amusement area are at Broadway and also many good restaurants. My favorite restaurant is near Coastal Grande Mall called Abuelo's Mexican Embassy. One younger kids and adults would enjoy is Cheeseburger in Paradise. There are a ton of things to do at Myrtle Beach. I hope you enjoy your trip.

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