When planning your family vacation to the Smoky Mountains, deciding what you and the kids will want to do is one of the most important factors. No matter what preferences your group has, the city of Gatlinburg offers a wide variety of activities and attractions for the whole family to enjoy. For a fun-filled family vacation, don’t miss these 4 popular things to do in Gatlinburg!

1. Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies

Located at the heart of downtown Gatlinburg, Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies has hands-on activities for kids and adults alike. Get up close and personal with manta rays at the Touch a Ray Bay or watch playful penguins all day at the Penguin Playhouse. The Discovery Center lets kids get hands-on experience with horseshoe crabs and learn about other creatures of the deep. You can also stick around for live shows where divers feed fish and sharks. One of the most popular activities at the aquarium is the 340-foot-long glide path that takes you through Shark Lagoon — be sure to keep an eye out for Sally the Sea Turtle!

2. Ober Gatlinburg

aerial tramway to ober gatlinburgNo matter the time of year, there are always family-friendly things to do at Ober Gatlinburg. From mid-December to March, kids and adults can enjoy skiing, snowboarding, and snow tubing on the slopes. Even on the hottest summer day, the whole family can go ice skating in the indoor arena. The Aerial Tramway will take you from downtown Gatlinburg up to the amusement park and ski area. An alpine slide and mountain coaster wind down the mountain for exciting rides, and the chairlift provides scenic views without the hike during all seasons. You’ll never run out of things to do at Ober!

3. Anakeesta

To get to Anakeesta, you must board an open-air gondola that takes you up the 600-foot Anakeesta Mountain. At the top, you will find restaurants and shops in the Magical Firefly Village. Kids of all ages will enjoy the Treehouse Village Playground, and the whole family can take a nature walk in the Vista Gardens. If your crew likes adventure, be sure to book a zipline ride through the trees or take a ride on the Rail Runner, the only single-rail mountain coaster in the country.

4. Gatlinburg Space Needle

gatlinburg space needleTo see one of the most incredible mountain views, you should check out the Gatlinburg Space Needle. The Space Needle stands at 407 feet tall and overlooks downtown Gatlinburg and the Smoky Mountains. A glass elevator takes you to the 360-degree observation deck, where you can find impressive mountain views during the day and city lights at night. After admiring the view, you can play games in the arcade or test your skills at an escape room.

Find More Things to Do in Gatlinburg

When planning your vacation, these 4 popular attractions should make the top of your list. If you would like some other ideas on what you should do while you visit us, take a look at more things to do in Gatlinburg, TN.