While the Smoky Mountains are one of the nation’s most beautiful destinations, they also have a fascinating past! You will be surprised to know that you can actually learn about the history of the area simply by visiting some of the top destinations in Gatlinburg! Here are 4 fun and surprising ways to learn about the history of the Smoky Mountains during your Gatlinburg vacation:
1. Explore the Sugarlands Visitor Center
One of the best ways to learn about the history of the Smoky Mountains is by stopping by the Sugarlands Visitor Center in Great Smoky Mountains National Park! This is not only the perfect place to start your exploration of the park, but to experience some compelling natural history exhibits! You also won’t want to miss the free 20 minute film about the park to enhance your visit to the Smokies. While you are here, take a few minutes to chat with a Park Ranger about any recommended hikes in the park or browse through the gift shop for some interesting history books! The Sugarlands Visitor Center is open daily except Christmas Day and is just 2 miles south of our hotel!
2. Play a Round of Mini Golf at Gatlin’s Fun Center
While a miniature golf course is the last place you might expect to learn more about the Smokies, this is exactly what you will find when playing mini golf at Gatlin’s Fun Center! There are two 18 hole outdoor courses in a gorgeous hillside setting with several hardwood oak trees that are more than 100 years old! The Old Mountain Trail course features signposts at each hole with information about the Cherokee Indians, the Smokies’ earliest European settlers and the creation of the National Park. Meanwhile, the Old Town Square course tells a story about Gatlinburg at every hole with re-creations of early landmarks such as the Grist Mill, Primitive Baptist Church, Pi Beta Phi settlement school and the Gatlinburg Jail!
3. Ride to the Top of the Gatlinburg Space Needle
Another fun and surprising way to learn about the history of the Smoky Mountains is with a ride to the top of the Gatlinburg Space Needle! This iconic observation tower in downtown Gatlinburg not only provides stunning panoramic views of the Smokies, but a series of Higher Learning exhibits with facts and history about Gatlinburg and the Smoky Mountains! To access the observation platform, step into one of the glass elevators and ride more than 400 feet to the top! Once on the platform, take your time enjoying the educational exhibits and the free viewfinders!
4. Join One of the Ghost & Haunt Tours of Gatlinburg
If you want to learn about the darker side of history in the Smokies, join one of the Ghost & Haunt Tours of Gatlinburg! This tour is not a tacky haunted house experience where live actors jump out at you, but a walking tour that mixes tales of historical fact and legends with visits to actual places where sinister events have taken place! During your journey, you will hear the stories of the settlers, famous pioneers, loggers, soldiers and regular everyday people that came to the Smoky Mountains just to find something spooky!
Check out all of the rooms at our hotel in Gatlinburg TN today to stay close to these fun destinations where you can learn about the history of the Smoky Mountains! We look forward to welcoming you to the Smokies!