While camping in the Smoky Mountains, we decided to visit the ski resort/amusement park, Ober Gatlinburg, a family fun destination. Ober has been a year-round attraction since 1975; the boys were super excited to head up the mountain for a day of fun at this family-owned park.
You can either drive a steep and windy road up to Ober Gatlinburg, or you can do like we did and ride the aerial tramway. The tram was a scenic ride, about 10 minutes long and took us right up to the park. There are a few seats, but most people just stand and hold on as the tram takes off and glides up the mountainside.
Once at the top, we picked up our all activity wristbands (Jaden, being 4, was free of charge) and took right off for awesome family fun. We started out at the Amaze'n Maze, where we had to hunt for the letters in the word MAZE, racing to get to the exit so we could collect a prize. Unfortunately, the maze was a bit harder than it looked, and we were double the time it took to win a prize; it was a lot of fun, though. The boys especially enjoyed finding each letter and punching holes in their cards. Next were the swings…. ….and then, of course, Jaden had to go vroom vroom in his rescue truck. By this time, it was getting pretty warm, so the guys decided to take a ride on the Blue Cyclone Rapids raft ride. This waterslide is 600 feet of splash adventure; this one scared Jaden just a bit, but he was rarin' to go on the next ride. Seeing as the guys were wet and needing to dry off, we decided to take the scenic chairlift all the way to the top of the mountain. It was so relaxing, slow-going, and gave us time to catch our breath. When we reached the top, we had the option to purchase a photo; we opted to just take our own photos with a breathtaking view of the Smoky Mountains as a backdrop. The bluegrass group, Mountain Grass, entertained everyone at the top, as well.
Finally, it was time to head back down the mountain and catch the chairlift back up to the Alpine Slide. Unfortunately, I wasn't allowed to take photos on the slide, but we caught some great shots from the chairlift. The slide was my absolute favorite, winding down the mountain, through the woods and under the chairlift…. it was an awesome ride. They had people along the way who would tell us if we needed to slow down. We enjoyed every second. I'm not sure who beat who; I just know we flew down the mountain with the breeze in our hair, leaving all our cares behind. Finally, Jacob enjoyed riding two other waterslides, Ober's Lightnin' Raft Ride and Shoot-the-Chute. He rode these slides over and over again, splashing his way to the end, coming off with a huge grin every single time and a “Can I go again?!”
There were several places to eat in the park, as well, places to get drinks, frozen lemonade, fudge, and more. There were activities for each member of the family, including a Kiddie Land for the littles, Mini Golf, and even a Wildlife Encounter with a bear and her two cubs. With the day getting warmer, we headed inside to finish our trip with ice skating.
Whether you're wanting to spend part of a day or a whole day, Ober Gatlinburg is a great place for the entire family; there's something for everyone. Our All Activity Wristband normally costs $33 for adults/$28 for ages 5-11. It includes unlimited rides and Wildlife Encounter, plus 1 session of ice skating. If you choose to ride the tram to the park, the cost is $11 for adults/$8.50 for ages 5-11, roundtrip. You can, however, go into the park and ride individual rides, but we'd definitely recommend the wristband as a great way to experience everything Ober Gatlinburg has to offer. Be sure to Like Ober Gatlinburg on Facebook and follow @OberGatlinburg on Twitter.
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(Disclosure: We received tram tickets and all activity wristbands, free of charge, for the purposes of visiting/documenting our adventures. All views/opinions remain honestly and solely our own.)