It sounds disastrous. Just as you are enjoying your summer vacation in the Smokies, rain starts pouring down, spoiling your plans. Well, the Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge area is full of things to do, activities, and adventures perfectly suited to a rainy afternoon. Take a look at some of our suggestions on how to spend a rainy day in and around the Great Smoky Mountains.
This entirely indoor attraction features an array of sea life exhibits covering over 80,000 square feet and containing over 10,000 sea creatures from 350 species. Just to give those numbers a little perspective, there are more fish in Ripley’s Aquarium than there are in the entire town of Gatlinburg! The aquarium also features various interactive exhibits such as its new Shipwreck exhibit. A visit to Ripley’s Aquarium, if you want to get the full experience, generally takes about 2 hours or more. On a rainy day, visiting Ripley’s Aquarium might result in a bit of a crowd, because great minds think alike, right? But don’t worry there are many other Ripley’s indoor attractions such as the Mirror Maze, Ripley’s Believe it or Not, or Guinness Book of World Records.
Moonshine Tasting at Ole Smoky Moonshine
Ole Smoky Moonshine, the first legal distillery in all of East Tennessee, stood as the only legal moonshine in the state when they opened in 2010. So, if you can’t find sunshine, you might as well find moonshine! At Ole Smoky Moonshine you will find bartenders pouring samples ranging from 100 proof moonshine to the weaker 40 proof apple pie flavor, as well as other signature flavors. For a small fee of $5 (goes towards any purchase, and is also required by Gatlinburg city government) you are allotted a dozen or so samples of your choice. On top of all of that, Ole Smoky Moonshine hosts musical acts (when the weather permits), as well as walking distillery tours.
Ice Skate at Ober
Whoever said ice skating was made for Winter? Ober Ski Mountain provides tourists with a large indoor skating rink, year round! Hop on the Gatlinburg Tram and head to the ski lodge to enjoy an afternoon spinning on the ice. Instead of sitting cooped up in your cabin, why not discover your inner figure skater or hockey star? Additionally, there are restaurants, shops, indoor carnival rides, and an indoor arcade if you happen to find yourself slipping on the ice more often than spinning. When weather permits, the famous attraction also features snow skiing, tubing, waterslides, a mountain coaster, and other outdoor attractions.
Hollywood’s Wax Museum
You don’t have to head all the way to Hollywood to “meet” your favorite stars. Although Hollywood Wax Museums can be found in California, Missouri, and South Carolina, you can also find one right in the heart of Gatlinburg, Tennessee. These life-size replicas will have you thinking that Dolly Parton is actually in the building! To put the complexity of these replicas into perspective, it takes about 56,000 bees in order to make enough wax for just the head a replica. Additionally, each replica takes about three months to make. Open 365 days a year, spend your rainy day hanging out with all the stars at the Hollywood Wax Museum.
Embrace the Rain
If you feel confident that you can brave the rain, wet weather is the prime time to see waterfalls and rivers. Grab a poncho and some rain gear and jump on an easy, safer trail, such as Laurel Falls. Sure, you might get a little wet. However, you might just have the trial to yourself while experiencing the sights at their best.
(Note: proceed with extra caution on wet rocks and trails)