• Ripley’s Sips & Sharks

    Here’s something new that would inspire some of the adults-who-are-kids-at-heart-but-like-something-harder-to-drink to get out of the house and come to the Aquarium: Ripley’s Sips and Sharks.

    From the main Ripley’s website:

    “Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies will be hosting Sips & Sharks events! Sips & Sharks is an adult (21+) sleepover that gives guests overnight access to the Aquarium. This experience includes drinks, hors d’oeuvres, a behind the scenes tour, movie, continental breakfast, and much more!”

    This event is scheduled for February 13th and September 25th, 2021, both Fridays, at 8:00PM and lasting overnight.

    Edit: The February 13th date has sold out of tickets. Perhaps not surprising as it sounds like quite a lot of fun for adults. Only tickets for September 25th are currently available.

    See this event and reserve tickets at https://www.ripleyaquariums.com/gatlinburg/event/sips-n-sharks-grownup-sleepover/2021-09-25/.

  • Winterfest Events 2020 Starting Today

    It is officially and effectively winterfest in the Smokies! During this time, people come to the mountains for a variety of reasons, not the least because of the holidays, the romance opportunities and just a badly needed break from the routine, but one slightly less obvious reason is that we have capabilities for Winter sports enthusiasts to break out their skis, snowboards and more; and those seeking to get a hot burst of adrenaline out in the cold will want to get to the Smokies ASAP! Here are the Winterfest events 2020 we have coming up:

    Here are some Winterfest events we have coming up:

    * Ober Gatlinburg – Winter Sports *
    11/21/20 – Easter Day 2021

    Ober Gatlinburg is the mountainside amusement park overlooking the city and it functions in the Winter season as both a family fun center and a sports center where they offer the only place to ski, snowboard, snowtube and ice skate for miles around. Definitely a worthy visit. https://obergatlinburg.com/winter/

    * Sevierville Shadrack’s Christmas Wonderland *
    12/1/20 – 1/3/21

    From Visitsevierville.com: “It is officially and effectively winterfest in the Smokies! During this time, people come to the mountains for a variety of reasons, not the least because of the holidays, the romance opportunities and just a badly needed break from the routine, but one slightly less obvious reason is that we have capabilities for Winter sports enthusiasts to break out their skis, snowboards and more; and those seeking to get a hot burst of adrenaline out in the cold will want to get to know more about these facilities!”
    https://visitsevierville.com/EventsCalendar.aspx#!/208477-shadracks-christmas-wonderland

    * Gatlinburg Fantasy of Lights Christmas Parade *
    12/4/20

    From Gatlinburg.com: “On December 4, the 45th Annual Fantasy of Lights Christmas Parade rolls through downtown Gatlinburg in celebration of the holiday season and the beginning of Gatlinburg Winter Magic.

    Floats will be decorated with one-of-a-kind displays of LED lights, marching bands, large balloons, dancers, and holiday characters.”
    https://www.gatlinburg.com/event/fantasy-of-lights-christmas-parade/36/

    * Christmas in the Smokies Bluegrass Festival *
    12/9/20 – 12/12/20

    Every year hundreds of fans pour into the Evergreen Smoky Mountain Lodge & Convention Center to come to the Christmas In The Smokies Bluegrass Festival. While the bluegrass festival is enough fun for anyone, there is so much more to offer in Pigeon Forge! The festival is held in the heart of Pigeon Forge on Parkway. The whole city is decorated for Christmas and sparkles everywhere you go at night. There is lots of shopping, food, and fun in Pigeon Forge. Come join us this year at the festival! https://bluegrasschristmasinsmokies.com/

    Find more events at mypigeonforge.com, gatlinburg.com and visitsevierville.com.

  • Oktoberfest at Ober Gatlinburg 2020

    While we still look to see what this Harvest Festival season will be like, which events we usually expect will be postponed and which will continue for 2020, one awesome Gatlinburg tradition we can look forward to is Ober Gatlinburg’s celebration of German culture and heritage with the always-popular Oktoberfest at their restaurant overlooking the city of Gatlinburg.

    From the official event page on Gatlinburg.com:

    “Ober Gatlinburg is celebrating October with a fantastic festival featuring Bavarian-style food, drink and music, but you don’t have to don your finest lederhosen or dirndls to be a part of the fun. OktOBERfest returns to its Gatlinburg-style roots with 38 days of merrymaking as the resort commemorates the 210th anniversary of the popular festival held in Munich, Germany.

    The Bavarian Fun Makers Band, in authentic costumes, will perform traditional Bavarian folk dances, schuhplattling, oompah music, sing-a-longs, yodels and more with daily shows and multiple performances every day during Oktoberfest. Special Oktoberfest Biers will be served along with traditional German wurst, schnitzel, sauerkraut, strudel, pretzels and more.”

    Ober Gatlinburg is accessible from downtown Gatlinburg via its famous Airtram system or can be driven to directly on Ski Mountain Road. Either way, it is roughly 20 minutes from Deer Ridge Mountain Resort – you’ll be there and back in much less time and energy than a day trip.

    Visit Ober Gatlinburg online at www.obergatlinburg.com.

  • Important Smoky Mountain Travel News – May 9th

    As the state of Tennessee is beginning its first stages of re-opening tourism and general business, much is going in during this initial transition: some places have opened, some places are beginning to re-open and some places will not be opening for a bit. Additionally, some events have been rescheduled and some have been cancelled for this year entirely.

    Due to the nature of slowly transitioning out of social distancing, information on what and when for re-opening is highly de-centralized at the moment, so we would like to help pass on current news for openings and other pertinent travel information coming up this month and further for travel preparation and consideration.

    * Gatlinburg 4th of July Parade Has Been Cancelled *
    From WBIR.com:

    “Gatlinburg officials said the city’s Fourth of July parade is canceled for a second year in a row due to public health concerns. The city will plan new patriotic events for families who want to celebrate while following social distancing guidelines, officials said in a Tuesday press release.”

    See full article by clicking here.

     

    * Gatlinburg Release on Re-openings *
    From gatlinburgtn.gov, dated April 29th, 2020:

    “Safety precautions and sanitization procedures will be handled at all City facilities to help keep the community, residents, employees and visitors safe. All City facilities will be heavily sanitized during the phased reopening.

    The City has purchased foggers to help with sanitizing and disinfecting facilities and will regularly clean facilities to help reduce the risk of spreading COVID-19. Hand sanitizing stations will be placed in public lobby areas in City facilities as well.”

    The City has purchased foggers to help with sanitizing and disinfecting facilities and will regularly clean facilities to help reduce the risk of spreading COVID-19. Hand sanitizing stations will be placed in public lobby areas in City facilities as well.

    Plans are also in place to install signage throughout the City in visible areas outlining CDC practices on preventing the spread of COVID-19.

    On Friday, May 1, the McMahan/Parkway parking garage in downtown Gatlinburg will reopen, as will the public restrooms at the garage. The public restrooms located at the Gatlinburg Convention Center will also reopen.

    Also on Friday, May 1, the Gatlinburg Golf Course clubhouse will reopen. The course has remained open for play during the COVID-19 pandemic.

    On Monday, May 4, the administrative offices located at Gatlinburg City Hall, including the City’s Finance Department, Building and Planning Department, Police Department and Fire Department, will reopen to the public. The administrative offices located at the Schilling Center, will also reopen on this date.

    On Monday, May 18, all Gatlinburg City Parks – Mynatt Park, Mills Park and Herbert Holt Park – will open for public use. Upon initial opening, playgrounds and pavilions will remain closed at each park.

    The Gatlinburg Community Center will also reopen to the public on May 18, with reduced operating hours and restrictions on the amount of patrons allowed in areas of the building. The Tone Zone portion of the building will be the only space open to the public, in accordance with the April 28 release of the Tennessee Pledge pertaining to gyms. Operating hours will be 6 a.m. until 8 p.m. Monday through Friday.

    The Anna Porter Public Library plans to reopen its facility in phases on Monday, May 18. The library will limit the number of patrons to 10 at a time through the end of May, and hold temporary operating hours of 10 a.m until 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. Staff will wear masks and gloves when interacting with the public and the public will be allowed to access computers for 30 minutes at a time, with social distancing practices applied. Desks will be sanitized after each use.

    Rocky Top Sports World is actively following the guidelines and directions presented from the Governor’s office and CDC while coordinating with County and City offices. Because of the continued fluidity of the COVID19 situation, no opening date has been determined. Rocky Top Sports World is working diligently on events currently scheduled and continues to focus on venue cleanliness, safety and health.

    The municipal parking garage located at Ripley’s Aquarium will be reopened at the same time as the Aquarium opens to the public. A resumption of Gatlinburg Trolley Services will be announced at a later date.”

    * Pigeon Forge Local Business Opening Status *
    The Mypigeonforge.com site hosts scheduled information in separate, downloadable files.

    For Pigeon Forge attractions, click here:
    For Pigeon Forge restaurants, click here:
    For Pigeon Forge retail, click here:
    For Pigeon Forge grocery store information, click here:

    More information on Pigeon Forge’s re-openings, updated frequently, can be found at https://www.mypigeonforge.com/planning/travel-resources#business-closed.

     

    * Sevierville Partial Re-opening of Parks and Recreations *
    From https://www.seviervilletn.org:

    “Sevierville city parks will reopen on May 18, 2020 with certain restrictions, including:

    * All playgrounds, basketball courts, baseball/softball fields, soccer fields, and swimming pools remain closed indefinitely;

    * Walking trails and tennis courts are open, social distancing of at least six feet will be enforced;

    * Picnic shelters will be open, but groups must be less than ten persons;

    * The PetSafe Dog Park is open, but each area (small dog and large dog) will be limited to less than ten persons and each person is limited to 45 minutes per visit; and

    * Cemetery Park will be limited to less than ten people.

    Some areas of the Sevierville Community Center will reopen on May 18, 2020 with certain restrictions. The gymnasium, swimming pool, locker rooms, and racquetball courts remain closed indefinitely. All children’s programs are suspended indefinitely.

    The Bowling Center will be open 11 a.m.-6 p.m. Monday-Friday.”

    See more details by clicking here.

     

    As more significant information becomes available, we will post new information on our blog here. Thank you and stay safe!

  • Gatlinburg Parade 2019 Video Replay

    Missed this year’s Christmas Parade in Gatlinburg? Here’s a video of it that you can catch up on:

  • Christmas Attractions and Events in Gatlinburg

    Looking for ways to enjoy the Christmas splendor for an upcoming trip to Gatlinburg? We’ve got you covered with holiday events right here as listed by Gatlinburg.com. Take a look and plan ahead!


    SkyLift Park “Lights Over Gatlinburg”

    November 26, 2019 – January 31, 2020

    “The holidays are a special time in Gatlinburg, and this year there’s no better place to experience the magic than the SkyLift Park.

    Join us as the SkyLift and SkyDeck become a celebration of the holidays with Christmas decorations and thousands of twinkling lights, and take in the best views in Gatlinburg as you gaze out over town and deep into the Smoky Mountains while warming up around the fire pit with a hot chocolate or cider.

    Next, make your way up to the SkyBridge which will become even more incredible as it is transformed into a tunnel of vibrant lights stretching out across the mountain to create a holiday experience you’ll always remember.

    Through Sunday, December 15, guests can save $4 on tickets purchased at the SkyLift Park by bringing a new toy to donate to the Boys & Girls Club of the Smoky Mountains.”

    See this article at https://www.gatlinburg.com/event/gatlinburg-skylift-park-lights-over-gatlinburg/.


    Enchanted Winter Celebration at Anakeesta
    November 26, 2019 – February 17, 2020

    “Anakeesta transforms into a woodland winter wonderland! Make your winter vacation plans special this Season with twinkling lights, holiday sights, and warm cocoa around the fire – discover it all during Anakeesta’s Enchanted Winter celebration!

    – Immerse yourself in an enchanting 1000′ tunnel of twinkling arctic lights as you stroll from Firefly Village to Vista Garden
    – Enjoy whimsically decorated live Christmas trees at Vista Gardens and on the Parkway
    – Relax around the cozy fire pit at Firefly Village and enjoy the beautiful display of holiday lights throughout Anakeesta
    – Santa will be handing out treats and available for family holiday photos at Firefly Village November 29-30 and December 20-21 from 11 AM – 3 PM creating special memories with families and children
    – Discover the perfect selfie spot at our giant Anakeesta Snow Globe where the beautiful Great Smoky Mountain National Park acts as a natural scenic backdrop
    – Stroll along the Treetop Skywalk at night and immerse yourself in a – Forest of Firefly lights that every adult and child will want to experience
    – Enjoy Winter food specials and hot drinks like our famous Wassail at Cliff Top Grill and Bar and Pearl’s Pie in the Sky
    – Shop our quaint retail shops to find the perfect Holiday gifts you will want to share with friends and family
    – Relax around the cozy fire pit at Firefly Village and enjoy the holiday lights
    – And….when it snows in the mountains, Anakeesta is the very best spot to enjoy the views of fresh snowfall on the Mt. LeConte range.”

    See this article at https://www.gatlinburg.com/event/enchanted-winter-celebration-at-anakeesta/.


    Winter Smoky Mountain Tunes and Tales
    November 29, 2019 – December 22, 2019

    “Through the holiday season, visitors can meet characters and storytellers and enjoy caroling along the Parkway Friday and Saturday evenings during this annual event!

    Winter Magic Tunes & Tales will once again present strolling Christmas entertainment on the streets of Gatlinburg, beginning the Friday/Saturday after Thanksgiving, November 29-30 from 5:00-9:30 pm, followed by performances again on Dec 6-7, 13-14, 20-21. Holiday music will fill the air with a sacred-secular mixture of Appalachia, Bluegrass, and Country. Visitors will also enjoy visiting with Santa’s Elves-Frosty-Rudolph, a little bit of history, humor and more! This interactive program is a Holiday favorite, staged against a backdrop of millions of lights….making it truly a Winter Magical experience in Gatlinburg!”

    See this article at https://www.gatlinburg.com/event/winter-smoky-mountain-tunes-and-tales/.


    New Year’s Eve Ball Drop and Fireworks Show
    December 31, 2019

    “On Tuesday, December 31, Gatlinburg will ring in the new year under the cover of the iconic Gatlinburg Space Needle for it’s 33rd Annual New Year’s Eve Ball Drop and Fireworks Show. Since 1987, this family-friendly celebration has been one of the largest organized New Year’s Eve events in the nation, and this year’s end-of-the-year celebration will be a spectacular start of a new decade.

    With live music, fabulous downtown celebrations and activities, the streets of Gatlinburg come alive to offer plenty of exciting ways to celebrate the last night of the year, all while leading up to a midnight firework show and ball drop at the base of the 400-foot Space Needle.

    This year, the renowned Journey tribute band, Departure, joins the downtown celebration with an exciting live performance beginning at 10:30 pm. The party is adjacent to the Space Needle at 120 Historic Nature Trail.

    Visitors are encouraged to arrive early to take advantage of the celebration specials offered by many Gatlinburg restaurants and businesses.”

    See this article at https://www.gatlinburg.com/event/new-years-eve-ball-drop-and-fireworks-show/.

  • Smoky Mountain Eclipse Tennessee 2017

    Just a quick heads-up that the Total Solar Eclipse will be happening this coming Monday, August 21st and that much of the western side of the Smoky Mountains (around the Townsend area of the Tennessee Smokies) will be within the eclipse’s line of sight.

    Here is some updated information from the National Park Service regarding the special event:

    Where Can I See The Eclipse?

    The entire western half of Great Smoky Mountains National Park will fall under the path of totality for the eclipse, providing opportunities for viewing, weather permitting. The park is currently planning organized public viewing events at three locations in the park: Clingmans Dome; Cades Cove; and Oconaluftee. Visit the Great Smoky Mountains Association page to buy an Eclipse Regional Map.

    Clingmans Dome: Clingmans Dome Trailhead parking area will be converted to a special ticketed event site for experiencing the eclipse with the assistance of experts, educational exhibits, and story tellers. The Clingmans Dome tower will be limited to MEDIA ACCESS ONLY, but there are many opportunities for viewing from the parking area and along the 0.5 mile trail to the tower. Tickets for the Clingmans Dome event are sold out. Any cancelled tickets will become available to the public again, so visit recreation.gov regularly to watch for cancellations. You must have a ticket to attend the event at Clingmans Dome. NASA will be streaming live from Clingmans Dome and other locations around the country. Watch the NASA Livestream on August 21. Clingmans Dome Road will be closed on Sunday, August 20th and Monday, August 21st to accommodate the special event. Call 865-436-1585 with questions about the event.

    Cades Cove and Oconaluftee: The park is currently planning to host informal staff- guided eclipse viewing sites at Cable Mill (Cades Cove) and Oconaluftee Visitor Center. There will be no charge to participate. Vehicle access to these sites, though, may be closed when parking becomes full or roads become congested.

    The Park is still working on details for these events, so check back here often for updated information as it becomes available.

    Visitors may view the eclipse from other areas of the park on your own, though due to the influx of eclipse viewers during the already-busy season, the Park Service may need to close certain areas on August 21st to reduce gridlock, which may include Newfound Gap Road and Cades Cove.

    See more on the upcoming eclipse and any updates to it at https://www.nps.gov/grsm/planyourvisit/2017-solar-eclipse.htm.