Chris has been dying to get back on the ski slopes, since we left Breckenridge four years ago. Finally, this year I felt that Calvin might be ready. But, rather than attempt a cross country trip, just for our four year old to hate skiing, I decided to book us a trip to Gatlinburg, Tennessee. Here’s how it went:
We slept in a little bit, and didn’t get to Gatlinburg until close to 2:00 in the afternoon. We checked into the hotel and decided to walk “The Strip”. (Originally I had planned on going up to Anakeesta, but we got to town late. It was also pretty chilly out, so maybe not the best day for it.) We had a really good time at the Shoot ‘Em Up Cinema, where we got to ‘ride horses’ in the Wild West and hopped aboard a pirate ship. We stopped into the original Ole Smoky Candy Kitchen to watch some Peanut Brittle being made and some taffy get pulled. It was pretty cool, but everyone else had the same idea. The place was packed and the staff seemed pretty annoyed at the customers. We bought our taffy and chocolate and ducked back out. Definitely one of the best finds of the trip was Gatlin’s. For $17.99/person, we got a punch pass that we could use for 6 activities. The staff was really friendly and accommodating. We did bumper cars, blacklight mini golf, and a game called “Atomic Rush” on Day 1 (and we returned on Day 3 for more fun)! That night we ate dinner at the hotel, which I can’t say I recommend. We spent time in the indoor pool and outdoor hot tub, and enjoyed kicking back and relaxing in front of the fireplace in our room.
Breakfast at the hotel was so much better than dinner. The server even gave us her personal charger to charge Calvin’s tablet. Then, we drove up to Ober Gatlinburg. (Note: Parking is $5 CASH, and there is limited parking. There’s also an aerial tram, but there’s an extra per person charge and a possible lengthy wait.) I could write an entire article about our experience at Ober Gatlinburg, but in the end, we had a good time. Calvin LOVED skiing, and we’ll definitely be taking him again! Afterwards, Chris took off for some dad time at Dick’s Last Resort, (which is NOT kid friendly, in case you were wondering.) And I took Calvin to Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies, which was expensive, but fun. In addition to some great exhibits, they have a playground inside! For dinner, we all met up at Arcadia. Arcadia has arcade games for everyone! Zombie games, Pac Man, Pinball machines, Paw Patrol games. We played arcade games for a few hours and grabbed some pizza at Slice Pizza. Was it the best pizza I’ve ever had? No. But, it was decent and its real appeal is that it’s basically inside the arcade.
We ate breakfast in the hotel again, and packed our bags. We each picked 1 activity before we left. Chris chose Ole Smoky Moonshine. Originally, he was just going to grab a jar with a coupon that we got from Ober Gatlinburg. But, for $5, he could do a tasting and get a $5 off coupon towards his purchase. He tasted a few, but settled on the Salty Caramel Whiskey and Mountain Java moonshine. We kept our visit short, and the atmosphere was definitely family friendly. We headed back to Gatlin’s for Calvin, using our last three punches on mini golf, bumper cars, and laser tag. Finally we stopped at Fudge Shoppe of the Smokies before driving towards Atlanta through the beautiful Great Smoky Mountains National Park.