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 20, 2022
Last week, we started a two-part roundup of the many theme parks that visitors now have access to in the Great Smoky Mountains of Tennessee. If you ask a random person on the street to name all the theme parks in the Smokies, it's very possible that the only answer you'll get is “Dollywood.” But the fact is that a number of attractions fall under the theme-park umbrella, and we've seen that number grow in recent years. Any of these destinations would be the ideal complement to a visit to our Smoky Mountain zip lines.
We've already introduced you to three local theme parks: Anakeesta in Gatlinburg, SkyLift Park in Gatlinburg and The Island in Pigeon Forge. This week, we've got several more lined up, and we might as well start with the most familiar.
Located in Pigeon Forge, TN, this theme park has been in operation under the Dollywood name for more than 35 years. Prior to that, it was known as Silver Dollar City, Gold Rush Junction and, originally, Rebel Railroad, dating all the way back to the 1960s. Today, Dollywood boasts some 150 acres of fun, divided into multiple themed sections like Wildwood Grove, Craftsmen's Valley and Rivertown Junction. Most sections offer some variety of rides, attractions, eateries and shops. When it comes to rides, Dollywood has everything from rollicking roller coasters to tame rides for little ones. Its eight major roller coasters alone have made the park a popular stop for coaster enthusiasts worldwide, and when it comes to live entertainment, Dollywood has musical, vocal and dancing talent on stages throughout the park, with musical styles ranging from country and bluegrass to gospel and rock. What also makes Dollywood so popular are its annual festivals. Special multiweek events to celebrate spring, summer, fall and Christmas keep folks coming back every year to see themed live entertainment, foods and seasonal activities. Finally, the park is interspersed with a wide variety of food vendors and shops, so it's easy to see why Dollywood is still so popular all these years later.
We thought we'd take you from the oldest operating theme park in the Smokies to one that won't actually be up and running until next year. But it's definitely a unique concept. Dig'n Zone Theme Park will give adults and kids alike the opportunity to play with big machinery like forklifts and backhoes. They've already broken ground on the site, which is near LeConte Medical Center in Sevierville. The $25 million park will occupy 27 acres and bring some 100 jobs to the area. Overall, there will be 25 attractions on site that allow guests to ride, drive and operate different types of construction equipment. Featured rides include an excavator with a modified bucket in which guests can sit and swing as well as a modified mining truck where guests will feel like they're getting dumped out of the truck bed. Some pieces of equipment will be used for large-scale game play, such as the excavator that will let guests play a giant version of the board game Operation. They will also host seasonal experiences like a hay ride and corn maze in fall and Christmas lights during the holidays. Prices for the six-hour experience haven't been released yet, but they are expected to be competitive with other local theme parks.
Next to Dollywood, Ober Gatlinburg probably has the most longevity and name recognition among Smoky Mountain visitors. It started out primarily as a ski resort in the 1970s and has since expanded into a year-round theme-park destination. We'll start with the winter fun. Ober Gatlinburg is a legit ski resort offering downhill skiing and snowboarding on nine different trails ranging in difficulty from beginner to expert. There's also a 10-lane snow-tubing course for all ages and even an outdoor terrain park where snowboarders can put their skills to the test. If you've never snow-skied before, you can take lessons at their ski school, and they will even rent you whatever clothing and gear you may need. Inside the main building, Ober offers year-round ice skating as well as a host of local shops and a full-service restaurant. And that's actually just the start of all that Ober Gatlinburg has in store. Also look for year-round activities like a scenic chairlift, an alpine coaster, water slides, a wildlife encounter, mini golf, rock-climbing wall, a raft ride, kiddie rides and much more.