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things to do in Gatlinburg for kids

Top 7 Things to Do in Gatlinburg for Kids

DATE : January 2, 2024

You’ll find an abundance of children's attractions and activities in Gatlinburg for kids ranging in age from toddlers to the young at heart. The family-friendly environment and entertainment of the area make it easy to find opportunities to make memories as a family! To help with planning a memorable Smoky Mountain vacation, take a look at the top things to do in Gatlinburg for kids:

1. Visit a unique museum. 

Hollywood Star Cars Museum features vehicles from famous TV shows and movies, including the Batmobile and Transformer vehicles! As an interactive museum, kids can climb inside most of the cars for pictures. Adults will also appreciate the Back to the Future collection and cars driven by celebrities, such as Dolly Parton, Michael Jackson, and Elvis Presley. Children under 5 get in free, while children 6 to 12 years old receive a discount.

2. Hike to a waterfall. 

cataract falls in the smoky mountainsThe hike to Cataract Falls in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park is fun and easy! This short half-mile hike starts from Sugarlands Visitor Center, ensuring a safe route close to park staff. The trail doesn’t have steep hills or inclines, so it’s an easy trek for little kids. The waterfall is approximately 25 feet high, with steps for older children to get closer to the waterfall. You’ll love being surrounded by nature and enjoying the scenery of the Smoky Mountains with your family!

3. Go to an arcade.

You can find several arcades along the Gatlinburg strip, including Arcadia, a massive entertainment space located at the base of the Gatlinburg Space Needle. They have over 200 games with the opportunity to win big prizes! Arcadia is open from 9 AM until late at night 365 days a year!

4. Ride a mountain coaster. 

Several attractions have their own mountain coaster rides, such as Anakeesta and Ober Mountain, but if you’re just looking for a mountain coaster, we suggest going to Moonshine Mountain Coaster. It’s one of the best things to do in Gatlinburg for kids! The slow ride to the top allows you to take in the beautiful views and get ready for the stomach-plunging, exhilarating ride down the mountain.  

5. Go on a zipline. 

dueling zipline adventure at anakeestaAnother great thing to do in Gatlinburg for kids is ziplining! Experience a thrill by ziplining side by side at Anakeesta’s Dueling Zipline Adventure. The staff there are trained and knowledgeable, so even first-timers will have a wonderful time zipping above the trees!

6. Visit one of the Ripley attractions. 

The kiddos will love any of Ripley’s attractions in Gatlinburg! Families venture through a mind-boggling maze filled with mirrors and optical illusions at the Mirror Maze. And don’t worry about getting lost– the staff walks through every half hour to help! After finding your way through the maze, you can head over to the Candy Factory to reward yourself with a sweet treat! 

Ripley's Aquarium of the Smokies is the most well-known Gatlinburg attraction. This interactive aquarium lets children touch the smooth back of a sting ray, meet penguins, and watch staff feed aquatic creatures that call the aquarium home. It’s a wonderful learning experience that’s also very entertaining for the whole family!

7. Play at Ober Mountain 

Ober Mountain is home to some of the best winter activities in Gatlinburg, including skiing and snow tubing! Children also love the Alpine Slide and Tenessee Flyer mountain coaster. There’s also an indoor skating rink, an outdoor seasonal snow play zone, a carousel, a wildlife exhibit, a playground, and so much more.

Where to Stay 

A hotel room at the Bearskin Lodge with two Queen bedsOur Gatlinburg hotel rooms are the perfect place for families to stay during their Smoky Mountain vacation! We have beautiful suites overlooking town or a peaceful mountain stream and come with everything you need for comfort. Kids will love our complimentary breakfast and during the warmer months, the seasonal outdoor pool and lazy river!

So now you know about things to do in Gatlinburg for kids! Find out how to save money at The Bearskin Lodge and start planning your next trip today!