As a resident of Tennessee, I have not spent much time in the Knoxville or Gatlinburg area. I went to Pigeon Forge once when I was in my teens and didn’t remember much about it except that an aquarium was there. My husband Michael is a big theme park fan and really wanted to visit Dollywood, so we decided to take advantage of the long holiday weekend to visit. This trip was really fun, and we plan on going back again!
Dollywood is a great family-friendly theme park that has a good variety of roller coasters and other attractions for people of all ages. I really enjoyed the scenery and topiaries! The park was very clean and all of the staff we encountered were friendly and helpful. One perk is that at Dollywood, you don’t have to pay for water unless you are buying bottled water. You can order ice water for free at any place selling drinks. This is such a nice benefit, especially on very hot days! I highly recommend this park!
Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies was another attraction we visited. This was where I wanted to go to most. Although it was very crowded, we enjoyed ourselves. There are a lot of sharks and sting rays at this aquarium and an entire play area for small children. We bought tickets for three Ripley’s attractions for around $120. I think the aquarium is $40 per adult. We decided to also go to the Ripley’s Believe it or Not museum and a Ripley’s mini golf. The mini golf was normally $15 per person, so we thought buying tickets for these three attractions was worth it.
Rainforest Adventures in Sevierville was another place we visited that we thoroughly enjoyed. I think I liked it more than the aquarium! Featuring a petting zoo with sheep and goats, talking cockatoos, guinea pigs, monkeys, and more, we thought this little zoo was well worth the money. I could have spent most of the day there. I believe tickets were around $16 per adult. We also paid a little bit extra to feed the sheep and goats in the petting zoo area.
Places Where We Ate
All of the food was really good. I especially enjoyed the Jambalaya pasta from Southern Grit. I will link these restaurants’ websites below!
- Southern Grit: Jambalya Pasta
- The Chop House at the Tanger Outlets: Crab Cake
- Clancy’s Tavern Pub: Flatbread Pizzas
Bookstores in the Area
Unfortunately, I did not visit a bookstore during this little trip. My Google Maps showed a bookstore at the Tanger Outlets, but when we went there, it was no longer there and a different store had taken its place. It must have closed. But there was a Books-A-Million near the outlets. I’ve been to plenty of Books-A-Million stores and was really hoping to find a local place. Of course, in my mind, any bookstore is better than nothing.
What I’m Reading
During this trip, I started reading Part of Your World by Abby Jimenez. I am currently about halfway done with this romantic novel. So far so good! I don’t want to delve too much into what I think of the book, but it seems like a cute story. Expect a review of this book in the next week or so.
As always, thanks so much for reading. I hope to have more travel posts like this in the future!