Posted by Phil Rodgers in Things to Do
Welcome to winter, the season for snow skiing, ice skating, Winterfest-light viewing, sitting on Santa's lap, Christmas shopping and all sorts of things a person can do when visiting or vacationing in the Great Smoky Mountains of Tennessee.
But did you know that all you seasonal non-traditionalists can do any number of fun vacationy things in the Smokies during late fall and early winter? That's one of the things that make this area so special. A person can pretty much find anything fun to do any time of year. There's even a Pigeon Forge attraction where you can play in the snow in the dead of summer!
This time around, however, let's take a look at a few other local businesses where wintertime fun isn't always what you might think.
If you thought that ziplining was something one only does in spring and summer, you might want to give it a second look. At Smoky Mountain Ziplines in Pigeon Forge, they generally stay open March through December, although they do operate on a more limited schedule once the weather turns chilly. Nevertheless, if you get a hankering to go screaming through the treetops on a zipline in the middle of December, this place can make it happen. We recommend giving them a call before scheduling your canopy tour. That way, you can make sure that your outdoor fun plans line up with their calendar. Ziplining in winter is pretty much the same as it is any other time, except you may want to wear a couple of extra layers. But this attraction's hilly, wooded setting is beautiful in winter, and who knows? With Tennessee weather, you might even find a December day that's in the 60s or 70s!
You bet we're going to talk about ourselves! A lot of folks associate us with warmer weather because of the live goats that hang out and graze on the roof of our Pigeon Forge attraction. But we're open year 'round. Depending on how cold it gets outside, we may or may not have our goats out for public interaction on some days. But we have a whole lot more for visitors to do than observe and feed our four-footed friends. We have an alpine goat coaster in which you can go tearing down the rails on our mountainside course, controlling your own speed the whole way. We also have outdoor gem mining, locally and regionally made craft items (a great option for holiday shopping) and home-made treats like fudge, cookies and ice cream.
The thought of swimming in an outdoor pool obviously isn't very appealing when it's 30-something degrees outside. But don't forget that many of the area's larger hotels (especially the national chains) as well as some of the resort properties have indoor pools that stay heated and warm all year long. Just pack a bathing suit along with that puffy jacket, and you'll be good to go. Also consider that several resorts/attractions have full indoor waterparks that offer a wide range of splashy fun year 'round - everything from slides to lazy rivers to kids' play areas. Look into properties like Wilderness at the Smokies and Wild Bear Falls Water Park to get started.
The feel of the wind rushing through your hair on a warm summer day can often be motivation enough to hop behind the wheel of a go-cart. In winter, your motivation might just be the rush of putting the pedal to the metal and vying for dominance on a challenging go-cart track. Fortunately, all you speed freaks can do that in the Smokies 12 months a year. There are lots of places to get your go-cart fix in Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge, including Fast Tracks and Blake Jones Racing Center.