Posted by Darryl Payne in Gatlinburg, TN
Gatlinburg, Tennessee, first made its way onto the map as a tourist destination thanks to its proximity to the mountains. In fact, the south end of town leads directly into Great Smoky Mountains National Park. It also became well known decades ago for being a wellspring of authentic arts and crafts, featuring works that were hand-made by local artisans.
But as tourism began to swell in the '60s, '70s and '80s, Gatlinburg began adapting to the times and offering its guests an even wider array of reasons to stay in town. That's when you began seeing more attractions, and today, you could spend days and days in Gatlinburg just visiting all the family-friendly activities along the downtown Parkway and other nearby areas.
One of the most popular is Ripley's Aquarium of the Smokies, a world-class aquarium that's been drawing folks by the millions since its opening. From its dozens of different kinds of exotic aquatic life forms to the underwater tunnel running through Shark Lagoon, to Stingray Bay and the Penguin Playhouse, this attraction is a must-see.
This time of year, especially with all the snow we've been getting, Ober Gatlinburg Ski Resort is another popular stop, offering multiple slopes for skiers, snowboarders and even an inner tubing course. You can get to the resort via the aerial tramway departing from downtown Gatlinburg.
Other Gatlinburg attractions include unique museums like Ripley's Believe It Or Not Museum and the Guinness World of Records Museum, the Christian-themed Christ in the Smokies museum, a Dukes of Hazzard-themed museum called Cooter's Place and the Star Cars museum. There are also haunted houses, ghost tours, go-cart tracks, arcades, miniature golf and much, much more, including Sweet Fanny Adams Theatre, the Smokies' longest-running entertainment show. Guaranteed you will find plenty to explore!
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