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Old 02-07-2013, 07:51 PM   #16
MSSANDRA
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If your child likes penguins, you really need to go to the aquarium there. They have a wonderful exhibit! They have the crawl tubes you can go through and be face to face with the penguins and they even take them for strolls around the museum.SOOO cool to have them just walk past you! I really think that you may want to consider trying to save and budget and try to add a few things to do. It really is not like the beach where you have the beach for free or a hotel with a pool. It's going to be walking/ ridding through the mountains or hanging at your cabins.
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Old 02-08-2013, 08:47 AM   #17
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If your child likes penguins, you really need to go to the aquarium there. They have a wonderful exhibit! They have the crawl tubes you can go through and be face to face with the penguins and they even take them for strolls around the museum.SOOO cool to have them just walk past you! I really think that you may want to consider trying to save and budget and try to add a few things to do. It really is not like the beach where you have the beach for free or a hotel with a pool. It's going to be walking/ ridding through the mountains or hanging at your cabins.
My younger dd would absolutely freak (in a good way) if one walked by her. Do they let them out every day, or just every so often?
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Old 02-08-2013, 10:55 AM   #18
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I wish I knew. They did it twice while we were there during the Summer but it was early am so not too busy yet. They did have scheduled feeding times for them too. It really is one of the better exhibits we have seen anywhere and we had done a lot.
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Old 02-08-2013, 09:03 PM   #19
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If you go to the red/white striped candy shop right on the Gatlinburg strip (u will see it easily if you are strolling on the same side of the strip as the Ripley's Believe It or Not) they make fresh saltwater taffy on a neat machine in front of a huge window...the candy maker will almost always offer spectating children FREE, wrapped warm pieces of fresh taffy that he pulls right from the machine...

The skylift across street is not super budget, but it is a fun adventure to the top of the mountain with neat souvie picture opportunity...

There is a great free movie at the Sugarlands Visitor Center just a few miles inside the National Forest after leaving the Gatlinburg Strip...

Check Groupon and Living Social for Knoxville, Pigeon Forge and Gatlingburg deals...I have a Groupon for half-off 2 hour horseback ride for 2 people...makes it $30 total for 2 people. Not bad deal...

Also, there are free coupon books on almost every corner or hotel and business lobby...lots of restaurant BOGO meal deals, putt putt coupons, skylift coupons, etc.

Don't pay to park in strip lots--you can find free lots a couple blocks off strip and then safely walk down to strip and walk along both sides window shopping and checking out quaint shops for inexpensive souvies...
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Old 02-08-2013, 10:12 PM   #20
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We live about 3 hours from there and have camped in the Smokies twice in last year and a half and visited Wilderness at the Smokies this past Labor Day weekend. While there last, we discovered this amazing pizza place called "Mafia House Pizza". There were certificates for it on Restaurant.com not that long ago, but I haven't checked in a couple months.
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Old 02-09-2013, 10:08 AM   #21
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We go up to Gatlinburg/Pigeon Forge most years and my brother/SIL live about 30 minutes away. The aquarium is great, but is a little pricey. Just be prepared and know the prices if you are trying to keep cost down!

The Arts & Crafts community is fun to drive around and see the so hops. There are some shops the little ones may enjoy too.

On the strip in Gatlinburg, there are quite a few fun shops that are good to window shop in as well. We usually spend a morning or afternoon wandering around doing that, tasting yummy treat samples, playing with gadgets, and never spending a thing!

If you are doing any hiking, try to get going early, as some of the popular trails, their parking areas fill up quickly.

And, check out the Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail. It's right off the main drag in Gatlinburg. You drive through it, but can get out and explore in a number of spots as well. It is part of the National Park.

If I think of others, I'll let you know!
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Old 02-09-2013, 08:25 PM   #22
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What about WonderWorks? My DH read about it and wants to go there. Is it a whole day event? Or, should I ask, is it worth it?

We're heading up to the area next month for Spring Break. Our plan right now is one day at Dollywood, one in the Great Smokies, and one at WonderWorks before heading to Nashville for a few days.
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Old 02-09-2013, 09:24 PM   #23
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What about WonderWorks? My DH read about it and wants to go there. Is it a whole day event? Or, should I ask, is it worth it?

We're heading up to the area next month for Spring Break. Our plan right now is one day at Dollywood, one in the Great Smokies, and one at WonderWorks before heading to Nashville for a few days.


We did Wonderworks a few years ago. At the time they were having a buy one day get one free deal. We went 2 days in a row and I still had to drag the family away so that we could go home. I would say its more than enough to do for a whole day
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Old 02-10-2013, 09:52 AM   #24
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We did Wonderworks a few years ago. At the time they were having a buy one day get one free deal. We went 2 days in a row and I still had to drag the family away so that we could go home. I would say its more than enough to do for a whole day
LOVE Wonderworks my kids call it the upside-down house. It is diffinitely worth doing and there are usually coupons to be found.
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Old 02-10-2013, 03:21 PM   #25
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Cades Cove for sure - pack a picnic lunch. If you want, try some outlet shopping in Pigeon Force/Sevierville. If you go there, I HIGHLY recommend eating at the Apple Barn. The Aquarium in Gatlinburg.
We live about an hour away and go down often. Cades Cove is a beautiful drive or bike ride. The Apple Barn is a good family style dining but we prefer The Old Mill family style dinning.

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I don't mean to hi-jack the thread, but can someone tell me what the weather is typically like at the end of March. We are looking for something to do for Spring Break and PF looks perfect for us.
In March you can experience all seasons in 1 week. But mostly it will be warm during the day and very chilly at night, especially in the mountains.

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And, check out the Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail. It's right off the main drag in Gatlinburg. You drive through it, but can get out and explore in a number of spots as well. It is part of the National Park.
The Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail is beautiful in all seasons. It amazes me to find such peace and quite right off the main road of Gatlinburg.

Also some mentioned Chimney Tops picnic area. We love to stop at KFC and picnic at Chimney Tops on our way over to Cherokee Indian Reservation.
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Old 02-10-2013, 04:33 PM   #26
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We go to the Smokies every year, and camp in the park near Gatlinburg. We don't do a lot of the commercial things in Gatlinburg, or area. Our main things are seeing the mountains, hiking, biking in Cades Cove, etc.

We did go on the *bobsleds* that you mentioned up Ski Mtn. but it has been several years so don't know if they're still there.

Also, if you like horse rides, they have those available right at the park entrance.

It's a beautiful place, have a nice trip.
North of Mouse--

Could you tell me where you camp near Gatlinburg. We have a TT and DH would be on the road all the time, if he could get me to be away from my DGD more. We freguent WDW splitting our time between FW and DVC. DH loves the mountains, but FW has me so spoiled I am not happy with many campgrounds
Would be interested in something near Gatlinburg.

Thanks
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Old 02-10-2013, 04:51 PM   #27
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One of the best hikes we've ever done is the Alum Cave Bluffs. Laurel falls is also pretty popular.
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Old 02-10-2013, 05:27 PM   #28
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Hi everyone

We too are planning a trip to the Smokies in March, DH informed me the national park won't open "officially" until the week we plan to arrive
And we are not able to reserve a spot
I am also looking for other campgrounds, several are not open .. I'm guessing because of the chances of having snow & ice ..

We have camped in April and woke up to snow

Thanks again for all the help
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Old 02-11-2013, 01:46 PM   #29
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For those that have suggested Dollywood, is there something special about it besides being a nice amusement park?

The reason I ask is, it would cost our family about $200 to go there for the day, and we live approximately 90 minutes from Cedar Point, so usually go up there once every summer.

If it's just a nice amusement park, I think I'm probably going to skip it. Not that my girls wouldn't enjoy it I'm sure, but thinking there could be lots of other things to spend $200 on that we haven't seen/done.

I was really hoping to keep this whole trip under $1600, so I've priced out everything below.


So far, I've made a list of possible attractions to see, which include

Cades cove/sightseeing - Free
The Ripley Aquarium - $76
Alpine sleds - $28
Horseback riding - $120
Tram/Skylift - $40
Wonderworks - $74
Dixie Stampede - $170

If we stay 5 nights, the cabin which I'm looking at is going to cost $900.

We would probably stock up the cabin's kitchen for breakfast, then eat 1 big meal out each day, and either do a light meal in evening, or just eat back at the cabin.. so let's assume $40 per day eating out, and $25 per day for cabin food. That would give me approximately $400 for food.

So we're looking at approximately $300 for attractions, which isn't much... but based on my list above, what would you consider the must-see's and what would be ones that aren't worth it?


Thanks,
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Old 02-12-2013, 08:55 AM   #30
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Originally Posted by mrudman View Post
For those that have suggested Dollywood, is there something special about it besides being a nice amusement park?

The reason I ask is, it would cost our family about $200 to go there for the day, and we live approximately 90 minutes from Cedar Point, so usually go up there once every summer.

If it's just a nice amusement park, I think I'm probably going to skip it. Not that my girls wouldn't enjoy it I'm sure, but thinking there could be lots of other things to spend $200 on that we haven't seen/done.

I was really hoping to keep this whole trip under $1600, so I've priced out everything below.


So far, I've made a list of possible attractions to see, which include

Cades cove/sightseeing - Free
The Ripley Aquarium - $76
Alpine sleds - $28
Horseback riding - $120
Tram/Skylift - $40
Wonderworks - $74
Dixie Stampede - $170

If we stay 5 nights, the cabin which I'm looking at is going to cost $900.

We would probably stock up the cabin's kitchen for breakfast, then eat 1 big meal out each day, and either do a light meal in evening, or just eat back at the cabin.. so let's assume $40 per day eating out, and $25 per day for cabin food. That would give me approximately $400 for food.

So we're looking at approximately $300 for attractions, which isn't much... but based on my list above, what would you consider the must-see's and what would be ones that aren't worth it?


Thanks,
I think it really depends on your familiy. For my family, we would much rather do Dollywood than Dixie Stampede and/or Wonderworks. To us, it was more than just a "nice" amusement park. We don't live far from Six Flags so we have been there, Canobie Lake Park, WDW MANY times etc and my children loved it. It was very different. We found it to be very clean, the food was good (and different). The shops were great and the people were fabulous as well. Some of the rides were very different than what we have experienced elsewhere. Check out the website and YouTube for some further info.

Thanks for the tip by an earlier poster about Groupon for the area. I'm going to sign up for it. I hadn't thought about that.

Definitely make sure you get in a drive and picnic around the park, it is free and a lot of fun.

I forget what time of year you are going. We usually go in the summer. Make sure to bring swimsuits and towels as my children love to play in the streams by the picnic area.
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