Gatlinburg Space Needle

7 Things to Do in Gatlinburg and the Smoky Mountains for Kids

Gatlinburg is one of the top travel destinations for families. This is due largely to the fact that there are loads of great family activities in the area that you can enjoy together with your children. When you spend some time in the Gatlinburg area, you will quickly realize that there are lots of fun attractions that are perfect for kids. Here is a look at the 7 best things to do in Gatlinburg for kids:

1. Dolly Parton’s Stampede Dinner & Show

If you want to make your kids happy in a hurry, take them to watch a show at the Dolly Parton’s Stampede. This is one of the most unique dinner shows you will ever see. Kids who love horses will be in awe of this stupendous show. The performers exhibit unbelievable displays of horse riding. The show is very funny and features great music as well. The home cooking is delicious, and even the most ravenous kids will walk away stuffed.

2. Dollywood

Dollywood signIn case you didn’t know, Dolly Parton is the queen of this area of the world. Nowhere is that more apparent than at Dollywood. There are more than 40 rides and attractions that will appeal to family members of all ages. Big kids will love the thrill of rides like the Lightning Roller Coaster, which is the fastest wooden roller coaster in the world. There is also a ton of fun shows at Dollywood that come free with the price of admission.

3. Dollywood’s Splash Country

For those visiting Gatlinburg when the summer sun is fiercest, it is always a smart plan to spend a day with the kids at Dollywood’s Splash Country. Thrill lovers will enjoy the RiverRush, which combines the thrills of a roller coaster with the joys of a water slide. There are huge pools, fast rides, and lazy rivers that offer something for people of all ages.

4. Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies

Ripley's Aquarium of the SmokiesWhen you are visiting the Great Smoky Mountains with your kids, it is a good idea to keep some ideas in mind for rainy afternoons. One of the best things to do in Gatlinburg for kids when the rain falls is to head for Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies. There are more than 350 different species of marine life to explore at this fabulous aquarium. One of the best attractions here is the Penguin Playhouse which kids will go wild for. Inside the playhouse, kids crawl underwater through clear plastic tunnels as the penguins play all around them.

5. Rainforest Adventures Discovery Zoo

For families with animal lovers, this is another activity that is perfect to save for a rainy day. The indoor enclosures contain 130 animal species that hail from rainforests all over the world. There is a 25-foot waterfall and loads of exotic plants that will transport you away into the world of the rainforest. There are scorpions and venomous snakes to get little boys excited as well as tons of cute and cuddly creatures to delight little girls. Make sure to give yourself at least half a day to explore all the amazing animals at the Rainforest Adventures Discovery Zoo.

6. Head Downtown

downtown Gatlinburg strip One of the best things to do in Gatlinburg for kids is to head downtown. There you will find the Gatlinburg Space Needle, which is one of the greatest places for kids in Gatlinburg. This amazing attraction has a two-story arcade featuring 25,000 square feet of fun. They also have a high-tech laser tag game that kids will go crazy for. At the top of the Gatlinburg Space Needle, you can take in breathtaking views of the Great Smoky Mountains from the 407-foot-high observation tower. The final touch is the pizza, which is the best you will find in Gatlinburg.

Families that love to shop will also love visiting downtown Gatlinburg. There is shopping galore. Even for kids who don’t like to shop, a shopping excursion is fun when you get to watch the taffy makers pulling the taffy in their storefront windows in downtown Gatlinburg. Other attractions in downtown Gatlinburg include Iris Theatre and Guinness World Records Museum.

7. WonderWorks Interactive Experience

WonderWorks is full of fun experiences. You can experience what a 5.3-magnitude earthquake feels like when you eat at Quake Café. Feel the rush of hurricane-force winds at Hurricane Hole. There is a space shuttle simulator to pilot and a bed of nails to lie on. This is the place for when your kids are ready for someplace where they can run around screaming at all the fun to be had.

More Things to Do in Gatlinburg With Kids

As you can see, there is no shortage of fun to be had by kids in Gatlinburg. These attractions are all perfect for children of all ages. With such a wide range of activities to choose from, you can be sure that you will have no trouble keeping your kids entertained during a vacation in Gatlinburg. Remember this list of the best things to do in Gatlinburg for kids on your next visit. Be sure to check out some of the other Smoky Mountain attractions to explore during your stay with us!