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The Appalachian Lodge
Ober Gatlinburg Aerial Tramway sign

The Smoky Mountains is a great destination for all ages, but here at The Appy, we know that sometimes finding the right activity for the little ones can be difficult at times. We have put together a list of things to do in the area that is not only perfect for toddlers but also fun for the entire family!

The Ripley’s Aquarium

outside of Ripley's Aquarium of the Smokies in GatlinburgThe Ripley’s Aquarium of the The Smokies is one of America’s favorite aquariums and is also one of the top places for families in Gatlinburg. During your experience you’ll find that the area is very handicap and stroller accessible, including the shark tunnel, where you get to travel underneath the sharks and other aquatic life. Your toddler will also love playing in the Penguin Playhouse where they can come nose-to-beak with some of the aquariums favorite residents. They can also engage in hands on learning at Touch A Ray Bay and enjoy live shows during your visit. Ripley’s also offers Sensory Friendly Nights to give families a quieter time to enjoy all that they have to offer. If the weather is an issue or you’re just looking for a fun afternoon with the family, The Ripley’s Aquarium is place to go!

The Smoky Mountains

The Great Smoky Mountains National Park is a must stop for families visiting Gatlinburg. The park offers many experiences for all ages and fitness levels, including the little ones! The Sugarlands Visitor Center, just inside the park, is a great place to start! You’ll find park maps, books and activities for children as well as helpful staff to get help you find the perfect park experience for your family! If you’re looking to explore the trails, the Gatlinburg Trail is a nice stroll for families. If you’re wanting a nice walk through a beautiful area of the park that is also stroller friendly, enjoy a morning on the Sugarlands Valley Nature Trail. The trail is flat, smooth, wide and paved. You’ll find benches, history, riverside pull offs and if you look closely you’ll even find some bear prints in the walkway. That’s a great “I spy” item to add to a day of exploring with your toddler! If it’s nap time for your little one, take a drive to Cades Cove and then let them run some energy out in the fields while you take in the beauty of The Smokies.


Dollywood entrance signDollywood is one of the top family friendly attractions in the Smokies and both offer great options for families with toddlers as well. Your toddler will receive free entry, and once inside you’ll have unlimited options on fun for the day. Take a ride on the train or carousel, have play in the tucked away play areas and run off some steam. If your toddler dozes off for a mid-afternoon nap, take in an indoor show and enjoy the break. A few things that will make life easier with a toddler at Dollywood are planning a simple day, taking advantage of the Dollywood app and also checking the Dollywood Crowd Calendar before scheduling your trip. If you’re visiting during the warmer months, consider visiting Dollywood’s Splash Country or setting a day aside to enjoy both during your vacation!

Ober Gatlinburg

Many people know Ober Gatlinburg as our local ski resort, however Ober is filled with fun things to do in every season! If you’re visiting the Smokies with a toddler, then you’ll certainly want to give them a try while you’re in town. Families with younger children will enjoy their wildlife encounter that features bears, river otters, bobcats and more. The carousel and mini-golf are fun for all ages and they even have a Kiddie Land features rides and more. Fun, dining and shopping are all waiting for you at the top of Ober! And the views, well they’re pretty fantastic too!

Are you ready to pack up the kids and hit the road?

We would love to have you as our guests the next time you’re in town! Our Gatlinburg hotel is perfect for families! We have plenty of amenities that we think you’ll love! Our indoor and outdoor pools are great for some fun and relaxation at the hotel, our guest rooms come with many of the comforts of home, we offer a free downtown Gatlinburg parking pass upon request and also have a trolley stop on our property. You’ll receive free complimentary breakfast and fresh baked cookies in the afternoon! We hope to see you soon!

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