Blog for Zip line Attraction in the Smoky Mountains
Located in Pigeon Forge, TN and near Gatlinburg and Sevierville.
By Ross Bodhi Ogle
Posted on September 27, 2022
If you thought we had already fully exhausted our exploration of theme parks in the Great Smoky Mountains, then think again. We're back with one final installation of previews of some of our favorite family-fun destinations.
While many may have differing opinions about what constitutes a theme park, we've narrowed our definition to that of a single location that offers multiple rides, attractions and vendors, in many cases under the umbrella of a unifying theme. We have omitted a number of what we consider to be “family amusement centers,” businesses that do offer several onsite attractions but consist of activities like bungee towers, slingshot rides, go carts, miniature golf, arcades and bumper cars.
So far, we've told you about top Smoky Mountain attractions including Anakeesta, Gatlinburg SkyLift Park, The Island, Dollywood, Ober Gatlinburg and the new Dig'n Zone Theme Park, which is coming to the Sevierville area next year.
This week, we're sharing with you theme parks that have something for all seasons. We'll start with a trip across the mountains to the North Carolina side of the Smokies, where you'll find Santa's Land Fun Park & Zoo in Cherokee, NC. This seasonal theme park is open every year from mid-May through late November. (We suspect that November through April, Santa is busy getting ready for the Christmas holiday and then taking a few months off to recover…) The park is geared toward kids of all ages, but younger children in particular are probably more likely to get something out of it. They have a zoo featuring wild and exotic animals from around the world, such as kangaroos, lemurs and baby black bears. Rides include a roller coaster, Ferris wheel, kiddie rides, an antique carousel and a train that circles the park. They also feature paddle boats, a live magic show, arcade, food vendors, gift shops and more.
Located in the heart of Pigeon Forge, this theme park also sounds like it's made for winter, but in fact, it's a year-round fun-stop in the Smokies. For starters, they offer downhill tubing all year long. In winter, it's snow tubing on their 10-lane course, which is 500 feet long and includes a total drop of 70 feet from top to ground. You can tube in real, manufactured snow for up to 90 minutes per session. In summer, they say goodbye to the snow and send you downhill on the course's bare surface, on which you can reach speeds of up to 35 miles per hour. You can also connect as many as three tubes together for group downhill fun.
Rowdy Bear offers the Ski Lift Shootout Coaster, North America's first alpine flyer. Each two-seater lift swings, dips and soars through the air above the park for a unique coaster experience. They also have the Avalanche Snow Coaster, an alpine style coaster on which passengers control their speed with a hand brake. And if you're looking for something a little different from a ride, you might try your hand (or both hands) at axe throwing. A trained staff member is there to assist you as you take aim and try to bury the hatchet on target.
We won't go into great detail here (see blog posts from summer of 2022 for more specifics about area water parks), but suffice it to say that the Smokies are home to several different water parks, each of which offers multiple slides, rides and water-based activities. So we feel they fall under the theme park category.
In most cases, you'll find water slides of all heights, sizes and lengths, from short and tame slides for tiny tots to towering and steep vertical slide drops that will get the adrenaline flowing in the bravest of guests. Most area parks also have kiddie play areas, family raft rides, wave pools, lazy river rides and much more. You'll likewise find features and amenities like food and retail vendors, lockers and private cabana rentals.
Among the water parks to look for during the summer months in the Smokies are Dollywood Splash Country, Soaky Mountain Water Park, Wild Bear Falls Water Park and Wilderness at the Smokies Resort.
As great as our area theme parks are, you still have to come to Smoky Mountain Ziplines to get the best zipline experience in the area. Our Sevierville zip line tour features seven different ziplines totaling nearly a mile in length and serving up some of the most unforgettable views of the mountains you'll find in this area.