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How Long Has It Been Since You’ve Had a Smoky Mountains Vacation?

Smoky Mountains covered in snow in the winterA Smoky Mountains Vacation is a rite of passage for many Americans. If it has been several years since you have been in Smoky Mountain TN, you should start planning a return trip. The Great Smoky Mountains feature ancient mountains, old-growth forests, striking assortments of wildflowers, black bears, elk, and other wildlife. Visitors wondering what to do in Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge will be pleasantly surprised to learn that many new attractions have been built.

Gatlinburg is next door to Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Gatlinburg’s prized Ripley’s Believe It or Not! Museum has been completely rebuilt since its 1992 fire. Ripley’s has gone on to build a moving 3-D theater, a haunted house, a mirror maze, Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies, and other Gatlinburg attractions. Live actors thrill guests at Ripley’s Haunted Adventure. The former casket factory has been upgraded into a topnotch, lavish horror set. Visit Ripley’s Mirror Maze for a less scary, but still crazy, experience. Ripley’s promises a different experience each time. Inside the 2,000 square feet of mirrored pathways is Ripley’s Candy Factory.

Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies may be inland but is one of the nation’s best aquariums. The diverse exhibits include the Ocean Realm and the Tropical Rainforest. Get up-close views of ocean predators in the Shark Lagoon and marvel at the fantastic colors of the Coral Reef. Tour Stingray Bay and then touch stingrays in the interactive exhibit. Crawl through underwater tunnels at the indoor and outdoor Penguin Playhouse.

Combine your aquarium visit with a trip to the RainForest Adventures Discovery Zoo in nearby Sevierville. The RainForest Zoo shows hundreds of animals highlighting species from rainforests around the world.

WonderWorks, another science themed family attraction, has a location in Pigeon Forge. Attractions include an indoor 50-foot ropes challenge course, an inversion tunnel, and a virtual roller coaster. Lie down on a bed of nails, feel the force of a 6.0 earthquake, and form a massive bubble around yourself.

Many things to do in Pigeon Forge center around the iconic Dollywood theme park. In the past 10 years, many themed areas have been added, including Chasing Rainbows, Thunderhead Gap, and Adventure Mountain. The Southern Gospel Museum and Hall of Fame opened in Dollywood in 1999. Dollywood now closes its doors annually to host the induction ceremony, which features music performances throughout the entire day.

The Titanic Museum in Pigeon Forge opened in 2010 and is the world’s largest Titanic museum. The two-story museum is shaped like the RMS Titanic and anchored in water. Upon admission, visitors are given a boarding pass with a 1912 passenger’s name. When the visitors reach the Titanic Memorial Room, they can check the name and learn the passenger’s fate.

Make your next vacation a Smoky Mountain vacation. Tennessee vacations are perfect for families, retirees, newlyweds, and everyone else. The Smoky Mountain region offers a complete combination of museums, musical entertainment, theme parks, and outdoor activities and scenery.