The best way to do family time is to make it fun time. Children will make life-long fond memories of magical adventures and cool places, while parents get to unleash their inner-child and play along. Sevierville (a.k.a the birthplace of musical icon Dolly Parton) is jam-packed with family-friendly experiences that excite and intrigue minds, bodies, and souls of all ages.
1. Wild times at water park resorts
Since the name of the game is family-fun, what better way to start adventure-time than by hitting Wilderness at the Smokies Water Park Resort? The playtime action here is insane (so much so that you could probably fill your entire vacation itinerary here). Seriously. Wilderness at the Smokies has:
• One indoor waterpark, the Wild Water Dome (this is also Tennessee’s largest indoor waterpark). The see-through roof lets you feel like you’re outside while providing a place to slip and slide through tube slides, down the runaway canyon, and on the storm chaser thrill ride year-round.
• Two outdoor waterparks, Lake Wilderness and Salamander Springs, which are immediately accessible from the on-site guest rooms.
• A family adventure center called Adventure Forest where there’s a three-story ropes course called Tree Top Towers, a multi-level laser tag arena called Fury in the Forest, a black light mini-golf course, a mega arcade, and more.
Let’s just say if your family likes to laugh, squeal, and compete, Wilderness at the Smokies Water Park Resort is the place to let everyone’s inner (and actual) child go nuts.
Another hot spot for splashing family fun is The Resort at Governor’s Crossing. There are plenty of play areas for big and small children as well as indoor and outdoor waterparks.
Check out these details:
• The Zero entry pool
• The swanky 20-person hot tub
• Badu swim jets
• Finlandia sauna
• Water basketball and water volleyball
• A dry pirate ship playground for wee ones
• A 9-hole miniature golf course
• An awesome 80’ water slide
• A 250’ lazy river
• The supersized swimming pool
The Resort at Governor’s Crossing is a place where vacation, stimulation, and relaxation come together in perfect harmony.
2. Zip around Sevierville
If your family can’t get enough of nature and the great outdoors, then Foxfire Mountain Adventures is a guaranteed crowd-pleaser. Choose the Waterfall Canopy Zip Tour for beautiful views of the mountains or get your adrenaline pumping on The Goliath—the highest zip lines in the Smokies.
Want to take things at a different pace? Then check out the Adventure Works Climb Zip Swing for a challenging and fun ropes course experience. Experience more than 55 elements during a two-hour tree top adventure.
Finally, outdoor enthusiasts will love a trail ride at Five Oaks Riding Stables. While riding these rolling trails, discover the remains of a real moonshine still, and see plenty of beautiful scenery. Children as young as three can ride along.
3. Hike Great Smoky Mountains National Park
Sevierville is nestled in the foothills of Great Smoky Mountains National Park, the home of awe-inspiring outdoor adventures. Eight hundred miles of maintained trails weave through America’s most visited national park, making the Great Smoky Mountains a delight for hikers of all experience levels. Families with small children may appreciate the paved, stroller-friendly trails, while those who want to test their mettle may enjoy a rugged climb—like the hike up the Chimney Tops trail.
The trails are filled with beautiful vistas, waterfalls, historic log cabins, seasonal wild flowers, and vivid color in the fall.
4. Bounce into family-themed action
Parents often use the expression “bouncing off the walls” to describe their kids’ behavior. Well, at Sevier Air Trampoline & Ninja Warrior Park, your kids (and you, if you’re that kind of parent) can literally bounce off the walls. This brand new attraction’s floors are covered in trampolines, allowing you to get ultimate air everywhere you go. Not to worry … it’s totally safe, and kids will have a blast.
Plenty of trampolines, a massive ninja warrior course (like American Ninja Warrior), a foam pit under a jousting beam (think American Gladiators-style), and more will give everyone a chance to be their true wild child selves.
5. Walk and talk with the animals
Calling all animal lovers! RainForest Adventures Discovery Zoo is one of the nation’s finest small zoos. Over 600 live animals (representing more than 130 species from around the world) find refuge at the zoo.
Learn about RainForest Adventure’s conservation and breeding programs for the many rare and endangered species dwelling there. Then, meet some of the zoo’s rarest residents, Golden Headed Lion Tamarins. These endangered creatures hail from the rainforests of Brazil and are best known for the shock of bright fur that frames their faces.
The petting zoo and walk-in aviary at the zoo enhance the hands-on appreciation for the zoo’s critters. Feed and pet goats, sheep, emus, and more during your rainforest adventure.
6. Go nuts for donuts
Adventure doesn’t always have to be high-flying or death-defying. Sometimes, the greatest adventures are the ones that test the limits of your creativity. If you’re not afraid to try new things (literally), then create your own donut at Courthouse Donuts, the original Design-Your-Own-Donut Shop.
Located in historic downtown Sevierville, Courthouse Donuts has an extensive menu of delicious house flavors (like Key Lime Pie, Café Du Nut, and Smoky Mountain S’mores), but the fun is in doing your own thing. Dip it (choose an icing), top it (pick a topping), and sauce it (select a sauce). Will it be white icing with pretzels and caramel sauce or something more exotic … cherries and peanut butter, anyone?
Grab coffee and lunch, too, before heading out for a self-guided tour of historic downtown Sevierville. Don’t forget to shop a little and say hello to dear Dolly …
7. Hello, Dolly
Remember how we mentioned that Sevierville is the birthplace of legendary singer and entrepreneur, Dolly Parton? Well, it’s true … and in Sevierville you can snap a photo with Dolly anytime (well, kind of). Located in the center of historic downtown Sevierville, you’ll find the bronze statue of Dolly Parton. One of the top to-dos in Sevierville is taking a photo with the icon’s statue—and 2017 is the perfect time to pose alongside the bronze songstress since the city will be celebrating the statue’s 30th anniversary all year long.
Throughout 2017, downtown Sevierville will host several Dolly-centric events such as the 13th annual Mountain Soul Vocal Competition (finals May 20, 2017).
Meanwhile, from March through December 2017, there will be a special exhibit on the Dolly statue and its sculptor, Jim Gray, at the Sevierville Chamber of Commerce Visitor Center located at 3099 Winfield Dunn Parkway. The museum exhibition will have several never-before-displayed items.
As you can see, the fun, excitement, and adventure in Sevierville never ends, which means that your family won’t run out of things to do in beautiful Sevierville. In fact, you’ll probably run out of time before your list of thrilling to-dos ends, but not to worry … there’s always next time!