Are you looking for more things to do on your Smoky Mountain vacation? Do you want to learn something new and have fun while doing it? If you answered “yes” to either of these questions, we’ve got you covered! Here is a list of 4 educational things to do in Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge:
1. Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies
Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies teaches visitors more about animals by providing up close and personal experiences with marine life. For example, you can see more than 8,500 aquatic animals at your feet when you ride the Glass Bottom Boat. They can range from small fish to huge 12-foot sharks. Additionally, this attraction has one of the best penguin exhibits in the world. Visitors can crawl through tunnels in the Penguin Playhouse to see these funny birds waddle around. There are also events where you can watch them paint with their feet and get a souvenir photo with a live penguin! Other exhibits include Touch a Ray Bay. Here, you can touch the smooth back of a stingray as they glide through the water. No matter what activity you choose, there is always an Aquarium Expert present to tell you more about the animals you see if you want to learn more. You won’t be crabby when you spend the day here!
2. The Salt and Pepper Shaker Museum
Salt and pepper shakers are a staple item in every home and restaurant, yet we probably don’t think about where they came from. The Salt and Pepper Shaker Museum is another one of the educational activities in Gatlinburg. This unique attraction houses 20,000 sets of salt and pepper shakers that come in all kinds of colors, shapes, and sizes. There are various collections that show visitors how these objects have evolved over the years. It includes one in which you can see sets with depictions of the Great Smoky Mountains’ most popular animal, the black bear. You can also see other salt and pepper shaker sets that are modeled after your favorite cartoon characters. Other interesting sights to see here include a $60 million salt shaker and a salt deposit from the Great Lakes that is over 600 million years old. There is also an extensive Pepper Mill collection as well. If you get inspired, you can stop by the gift shop to get a unique salt and pepper shaker set of your very own.
The WonderWorks museum in Pigeon Forge takes a unique approach to learning with their combination of education and entertainment. The attraction has 6 Wonder Zones that have more than 100 hands-on activities for visitors to explore. For instance, in the Physical Challenge Zone, visitors can see how it feels to lay on a bed of 3,500 nails. You also have the opportunity to blow huge bubbles. The Wonder Art Gallery houses some of the world’s most famous illusion art. In addition to the Wonder Zones, the museum houses other fun activities, such as a glow-in-the-dark indoor ropes course and a laser tag arena.
4. Titanic Museum
Visitors who come to Pigeon’s Forge’s Titanic Museum will learn more about this incredible ship and its unforgettable demise. You will be amazed before you even walk in the door, as the museum building itself is a replica of the RMS Titanic that includes the infamous iceberg. At the beginning of your visit, you are given a boarding pass of an actual Titanic passenger. You can then experience what being on the ship was like when you walk on the $1 million replica of the Grand Staircase, shovel coal in the boiler room, and look at the different kinds of living quarters. The other activities teach visitors about the unfortunate events that occurred in the early morning hours of April 15, 1912. For example, you can attempt to maintain your balance on a sloping deck. You can also feel the chill of 28℉ water on your skin and sit in an actual-size lifeboat. At the end of your visit, discover if the passenger on your boarding pass lived or died in the Memorial Room.
There are many more fun things to do in Gatlinburg. Learn more about the area by exploring our Smoky Mountain vacation planner!