1. Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies
With more than 10,000 sea creatures, Ripley’s Aquarium is an adventure beneath the waves. Touch stingrays, watch sharks from a glass-bottomed boat, or meet penguins who paint! See the aquarium’s website for events like “Sleep with the Sharks” overnights and grown-up parties like “Pints and Penguins.”
2. Gatlinburg Space Needle
This icon stands 400 feet tall. Ride in the glass elevator to the viewing platform for 360-degree views of the Smokies around you and the bustling charm of Gatlinburg below you. The Space Needle stays open late, so visit by day and night to see how the view changes.
Bonus: At the Needle’s base are a gaming arcade, a pizza parlor, and the Iris Theater, home to shows of magic and mystery.
3. Gatlinburg SkyLift Park
In downtown Gatlinburg, hop on the yellow chairlift. When you arrive at the SkyDeck, enjoy the breathtaking mountain vistas. Take a break inside for food, drinks, souvenirs, and photos, then head out to explore more.
Stroll over the SkyBridge, the longest pedestrian cable bridge in North America, 700 feet above the valley below. Trek the SkyTrail, a scenic walkway following the curve of the mountain, giving you incomparable views. Climb the 70-foot Tulip Tower for even more distant views!
4. Great Smoky Arts and Crafts Community
More than 100 artisans’ workshops line this eight-mile loop. Watch them at work and buy unique, handmade gifts.
Artisans create baskets, quilts, pottery, jewelry, candles, glass, leather goods, soaps, and more. Some offer hands-on crafting so visitors make their own treasures. You won’t go hungry while you’re on your craft safari, either. Stop at cafes and restaurants along the loop.
5. Great Smoky Mountains National Park
These majestic mountains are the most visited national park in the country. With 800 miles of trails--from easy, level walks to dramatic climbs--the Smokies offer everything from an hour’s stroll to a full day of challenges.
Historic sites unveil how native tribes and early settlers lived. Watch for black bears, deer, wild turkeys, and the park’s famed salamanders. In spring and summer, enjoy spectacular wildflowers.