top 12 things to do in gatlinburg with kids

Get ready for a family adventure that will ignite your kids’ imaginations! Gatlinburg is a treasure trove of excitement, and Best Vacation Dealz has gathered the top 12 things to do in Gatlinburg with kids, that will turn your vacation into an unforgettable journey for the whole family. Let’s dive into a world of fun and discovery in Gatlinburg!

Also, check out our blog on 20 Things To Do in Gatlinburg TN for couples.

1. Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies: A Watery Wonderland of Discovery

Explore the Tropical Rainforest Exhibit:

Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies is a treasure trove of underwater wonders and one of the top things to do in Gatlinburg with kids. The Tropical Rainforest Exhibit is your passport to adventure. As you step inside, you’ll be transported into a lush, vibrant rainforest where waterfalls cascade from above, creating an atmosphere of enchantment. Your kids will be wide-eyed with wonder as they discover the exotic creatures that call this place home.

Get Playful at the Penguin Playhouse:
Next stop, the Penguin Playhouse! Imagine the joy on your children’s faces as they come face to beak with adorable penguins. These charming birds waddle and swim, showcasing their playful personalities. It’s not just an exhibit; it’s an experience that will leave your family with memories of penguins forever imprinted in their hearts.

Brave the Shark Lagoon:
Now, let’s dive deeper into the mysteries of the ocean, one of the most fascinating things to do in Gatlinburg with kids. The Shark Lagoon is a breathtaking adventure that takes you through a transparent tunnel submerged in the heart of a watery world. Above and around you, majestic sharks glide gracefully, their sleek forms slicing through the water. It’s an awe-inspiring sight that will leave your kids fascinated and educated about these incredible predators. The Shark Lagoon is a reminder that beneath the surface, a world of wonder and discovery awaits.

2. Wild Bear Falls Waterpark

aerial view of wild bear falls water park

Ultimate Water Park Fun:
Prepare for a day of wet and wild adventure at Wild Bear Falls Waterpark, one of the top family-friendly things to do in Gatlinburg with kids. This aquatic wonderland is designed for splashes and smiles, making it the ideal destination for families seeking a refreshing escape. Your kids will be thrilled by the variety of attractions, from towering water slides that twist and turn to leisurely lazy rivers where you can float away your worries. Pools and interactive play areas promise endless fun, no matter your age. Wild Bear Falls Waterpark is where laughter and excitement flow as freely as the water.

Exclusive Gatlinburg Water Park Vacation Package:
Best Vacation Dealz has a special treat in store for your family. Take advantage of our unbeatable 3-day, 2-night water park vacation package, offering not only a cozy resort stay but also two water park tickets for just $59, making it one of the most budget-friendly things to do in Gatlinburg with kids. It’s a value-packed deal that ensures your family has ample time to enjoy all the thrills of the water park. Imagine splashing down slides, racing each other in the lazy river, and soaking up the sun on the poolside deck. With this package, the fun never ends, and your Gatlinburg vacation is transformed into an unforgettable aquatic adventure.

3. Great Smoky Mountains National Park: Nature’s Playground

great smoky mountains national park gatlinburg tn

great smoky mountains national park gatlinburg tn

A Wonderland of Natural Beauty:
The Great Smoky Mountains National Park is a natural wonderland and one of the must-see things to do in Gatlinburg with kids. It invites families to reconnect with the beauty and serenity of nature. It’s a place where the mountains stretch into the horizon, their peaks kissed by the sky. The park offers an array of family-friendly trails, each leading to its own unique discovery. Whether you’re strolling beside a babbling stream, meandering through wildflower-strewn meadows, or hiking to a scenic vista, there’s a trail that’s perfect for your family’s adventure. It’s a place where you can breathe in the fresh mountain air, unplug from the busyness of life, and simply be in the moment with your loved ones.

Discover Wildlife and Ecosystems:
The park is a living classroom where your kids can learn about the rich biodiversity and delicate ecosystems that make the Smokies so special. Encourage them to be junior naturalists as they spot wildlife like deer, black bears, and wild turkeys. Explore visitor centers and interactive exhibits that provide insights into the intricate web of life that thrives in these mountains. It’s a chance to foster a deeper appreciation for the natural world and to teach your children the importance of conservation.

4. Ober Gatlinburg Amusement Park: A Mountain Playground for All Ages

ober gatlinburg tn

ober gatlinburg tn

Year-Round Adventures Await:
Ober Gatlinburg Amusement Park is not just an amusement park; it’s a mountain-top playground and one of the most exciting things to do in Gatlinburg with kids. In the winter, the park transforms into a snowy wonderland, perfect for skiing and snowboarding. As the seasons change, you’ll find a wide range of activities to suit every interest. From ice skating to mini-golf and alpine slides, there’s an adventure waiting for everyone in the family.

Scenic Aerial Tramway Ride:
To reach Ober Gatlinburg, embark on a scenic aerial tramway ride, another of the fantastic things to do in Gatlinburg with kids. It’s not just a mode of transportation; it’s an experience in itself. As you ascend to the park, you’ll be treated to breathtaking views of the Smoky Mountains. The journey provides a sense of anticipation and wonder, setting the stage for the adventures that await at the summit. Keep your eyes peeled for glimpses of wildlife and picturesque landscapes along the way.

5. Anakeesta Theme Park: High-Flying Excitement Awaits

Anakeesta adventure park entrance in Gatlinburg TN

anakeesta in gatlinburg tn

Treetop Adventures for All:
Anakeesta Theme Park is where high-flying excitement meets the beauty of nature, and it’s one of the most adventurous things to do in Gatlinburg with kids. It’s an enchanting destination perched atop the mountains, offering a wide range of activities that will leave your family exhilarated. Among the highlights are the treetop adventures that allow you to explore the forest canopy like never before. Soar through the trees on zip lines, cross rope bridges, and take in stunning vistas from treehouse villages. It’s an experience that combines adventure with a deep connection to the natural world.

Scenic Chondola Ride:
To reach Anakeesta, embark on the scenic Chondola ride, one of the most scenic things to do in Gatlinburg with kids. This unique mode of transportation combines open-air chair lifts with enclosed gondola cabins, providing an incredible journey to the summit. Along the way, you’ll be treated to panoramic views of the surrounding mountains and lush forests. The ride itself is an adventure, setting the tone for the excitement that awaits at the park. It’s an experience that will make your kids feel like they’re ascending to a hidden world in the treetops.

6. Cades Cove: A Natural Haven for Families

ober gatlinburg tn

ober gatlinburg tn

Scenic Drives and Trails:
Cades Cove is a natural haven that invites families to immerse themselves in the timeless beauty of the Smoky Mountains, making it one of the most serene things to do in Gatlinburg with kids. One of the best ways to explore this stunning valley is through scenic drives and family-friendly trails. As you wind your way along the cove’s loop road, you’ll be greeted by sweeping meadows, dense forests, and majestic mountain views. The slow pace of the drive allows you to savor every moment. It provides ample opportunities to spot wildlife like deer and black bears. It’s a journey that takes you back in time to the days when settlers first arrived in the Smokies.

Historical Insights:
Beyond the natural beauty, Cades Cove also offers a window into the history of the region, another layer of things to do in Gatlinburg with kids. Throughout the cove, you’ll find well-preserved historic buildings, including churches, cabins, and a working grist mill. These structures provide insights into the lives of early settlers who called this valley home. It’s a place where you can step back in time and connect with the rich cultural heritage of the Smoky Mountains. Encourage your kids to imagine what life was like for those who lived here centuries ago, and you’ll find that history comes to life in a way that’s both educational and entertaining.

7. Moonshine Mountain Coaster: Thrills in the Smoky Mountains

A Roller Coaster Adventure:
Moonshine Mountain Coaster offers an exhilarating twist on mountain fun and is one of the top thrill-seeking things to do in Gatlinburg with kids. Hop into a single or double cart and race down the mountainside on an alpine coaster adventure, an activity that kids and adults can equally enjoy. The coaster’s twists, turns, and thrilling drops make it a heart-pounding experience for all ages. It’s a chance to feel the wind rush through your hair as you navigate the Smoky Mountains in a whole new way, making it one of the most exciting things to do in Gatlinburg with kids.

Scenic Night Rides:
For a unique and enchanting experience, consider taking a night ride on the coaster, one of the most enchanting things to do in Gatlinburg with kids at night. The Smokies come alive with twinkling lights, creating a magical atmosphere as you zoom through the forested slopes. It’s a memorable way to cap off a day of adventure in Gatlinburg.

8. Dollywood: Where Dreams Come to Life

Unleash Your Inner Explorer: Dollywood is the ultimate destination for families seeking a mix of thrills, entertainment, and wholesome fun, making it one of the most beloved things to do in Gatlinburg with kids. This sprawling theme park, owned by legendary singer Dolly Parton, offers a wide range of attractions suitable for all ages. From thrilling roller coasters like the Wild Eagle Dollywood coaster to live entertainment shows, your family will find excitement at every turn. Be sure to check the park’s schedule for special events and seasonal festivals that add an extra layer of magic to your visit.

Read More: Dollywood Kiddie Rides: Ultimate Parents Guide

9. Gatlinburg SkyLift Park: A Scenic Adventure Awaits

SkyBridge Thrills: The Gatlinburg SkyLift Park is home to the spectacular SkyBridge, one of the most awe-inspiring things to do in Gatlinburg with kids. This suspension bridge stretches across a deep valley, offering breathtaking views of the Smoky Mountains and the town below. Walking across the bridge is an adventure in itself, and your kids will be wide-eyed as they gaze down at the lush treetops and rushing river below. The park also features an observation deck and a SkyCenter with dining options, providing a complete mountain experience.

10. Sugarland Distilling Company: Family-Friendly Fun

Explore a Moonshine Distillery: While Gatlinburg is known for its moonshine, Sugarland Distilling Company offers a unique family-friendly experience, one of the more unexpected things to do in Gatlinburg with kids. Take a guided tour of the distillery and learn about the art of making moonshine. Don’t worry; the little ones won’t be sampling spirits. Instead, they can enjoy the non-alcoholic options like root beer. It’s a chance to explore a different side of Gatlinburg’s culture and heritage while keeping everyone in the family engaged.

11. Gatlinburg Space Needle: A Towering Adventure

A Bird’s-Eye View: For a panoramic view of Gatlinburg and the surrounding Smoky Mountains, head to the Gatlinburg Space Needle, a towering structure that offers one of the most iconic things to do in Gatlinburg with kids. The glass elevator ride to the observation deck is an adventure in itself, but the real treat is the 360-degree view that awaits at the top. Your kids can spot their favorite attractions and get a bird’s-eye view of the town’s layout. It’s a memorable experience that combines education with awe-inspiring vistas.
12. Gatlinburg Arts and Crafts Community: Creative Wonderland

Artistic Adventures Await: Prepare to embark on a whimsical journey through the Gatlinburg Arts and Crafts Community, an enchanting 8-mile loop of galleries, studios, and shops that seem to have sprung straight from a storybook. Here, the talents of local artisans come to life, painting the town with creativity and color. Your kids will be captivated as they witness the magic of artistry unfold before their eyes. From pottery that tells tales to paintings that sing, every nook and cranny holds treasures waiting to be discovered.

Hands-On Inspiration: Encourage your little ones to become art explorers, asking questions, and engaging with the friendly artisans. It’s a hands-on experience that sparks their creativity and lets them uncover the secrets behind handmade crafts. Perhaps they’ll even find a keepsake to carry home, a magical memento of your unforgettable Gatlinburg adventure.

Gatlinburg’s Mountain Coaster is an exciting addition to your family vacation, offering adrenaline-pumping thrills in the midst of the Smoky Mountains’ natural beauty. From exploring underwater realms at Ripley’s Aquarium to racing down the mountainside on the Gatlinburg Mountain Coaster, each activity is designed to captivate the hearts and minds of kids and parents alike. As you explore these attractions and immerse yourselves in Gatlinburg’s unique experiences, you’ll be fostering a sense of wonder, curiosity, and togetherness that will last long after your vacation ends. So, gear up for a journey that’s filled with laughter, learning, and the joy of shared exploration. Your Gatlinburg adventure is calling—answer it with your family by your side!

Check Out More Of Our Gatlinburg Blogs For Travel Tips!

Dollywood Kiddie Rides: Ultimate Parents Guide

All About Gatlinburg TN and the Great Smoky Mountain Park Region

20 Things To Do in Gatlinburg TN for couples

The 10 Best Summer Things To Do in Gatlinburg, Tennessee

Top 10 Indoor Activities in Pigeon Forge That Will Get You Hooked

Gatlinburg Tennessee Vacation Packages

$99 Pigeon Forge TN Vacation Package –   4 days and 3 nights at Wild Bear Inn at Pigeon Forge for only $99 Includes Wild Bear Falls Water Park Tickets

$99 Gatlinburg TN Vacation Package 4 days and 3 nights at River Terrace Resort in Gatlinburg TN.

Gatlinburg $99 Special   4 days and 3 nights in Gatlinburg for $99 at Westgate Smoky Mountain Resort & Water Park.