Why Are There Goats On Our Roof?

Posted by Phil Rodgers in Pigeon Forge Attraction

We'll be the first to admit that Goats on the Roof is an unconventional name for a tourist attraction. One of the most frequent questions we get from our guests is a simple one: “Why? Why are there goats on your roof?” Of course, there's a story behind the name and the concept. It's not an idea that we just plucked out of thin air.

Say hello to one of our goats on the roof

The story starts in Wisconsin, where a man named Al Johnson ran a restaurant called, appropriately, Al Johnson's Swedish Restaurant. Decades ago, Al had a friend named Wink Larson, who used to celebrate Al's birthday every year by giving him an unusual gift. We're talking about live critters, like a burro, a sheep and a baby pig.

One year, however, Wink gave Al a goat named Oscar. In what may have been one of the most brilliant marketing moves ever, Al placed Oscar on the roof of his restaurant, a business that was already quite popular. His goal was to increase business, and Oscar didn't seem to have a problem with the arrangement; after all, goats are quite comfortable with heights, altitude and steep terrain.

Boy, did this idea work. Oscar became such a conversation piece that Al wound up placing more goats on the roof of his restaurant. And not only did business pick up, but people started coming from all over the nation to Sister Bay, Wisconsin, just to see the animals hanging out on the rooftop. (By the way, the goats are only up there during the day during months that are warm enough for them to stay outside safely. They climb to the roof via a slanted ramp.)

Years later, when Al's children took over management of the restaurant, they added a 21st-century wrinkle to the arrangement by setting up two webcams on the roof, so people from all over the world could look in on the goats whenever they were up top. This fed right into the fact that fans of the goats always seemed to have so many questions about them: What do they eat? How do they get on and off the roof? Have any goats ever fallen off?

Thanks to a licensing agreement with the original attraction, we were able to bring Goats on the Roof to the Great Smoky Mountains several years ago. Similar to the Wisconsin outfit, we keep our goats on the roof of our attraction when the weather is suitable, and visitors to the Smokies love to stop by and watch them. Guests can interact with them at eye level by going to our rooftop viewing area and even transport containers of feed to them from ground level via our Goat Cycle.

Dinosaur themed mini golf course

Now that spring is here, we hope you'll check in with us to find out when we'll have the goats roaming around on the roof next. And while you're here, we have a lot more in store. We have a Goat Coaster - an alpine coaster that lets our guests speed down the mountain behind our attraction, controlling their speed along the way with a handbrake. We also have a dinosaur-themed mini-golf course, a gift shop and an area where you can mine for real gems.

So next time you come to Pigeon Forge and the Great Smoky Mountains, be sure to stop by and say hello to us - and to the goats, of course. Once you've been to Goats on the Roof, we know you'll want to keep coming b-a-a-a-a-a-ck!


This content posted by Goats on the Roof of the Smoky Mountains. Visit our home page, goatsontheroofofthesmokies.com for more information on the goats and their coaster.

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