You’re planning your destination vacation, and you have a three-year-old who loves to play. Yet you’re unsure of what toddler-friendly activities there are to do in Gatlinburg. You’ve come to the right place! We’ve assembled five adventurous activities in Gatlinburg that are sure to fill your child’s eyes with wonder and amazement. What’s even better is they’ll be fun for the whole family!
- Whitewater Rafting
Yes, you read that right. There are plenty of places that offer what they call “float” trips down the Pigeon River. These are designed for ages 3+ so the kids can participate safely, but the whole family can enjoy the experience. Here are a few recommended locations: Nantahala Outdoor Center, Outdoor Rafting Adventures, Rafting in the Smokies, and Big Bear Rafting (theirs is called the “scenic” trip).
- Hot Air Balloon Ride
WonderWorks has a giant tethered balloon experience called Wonders of Flight that goes up 500 feet in the air. Children under 12 have to be accompanied by an adult, but there is no age restriction otherwise. That means if you are a parent with an infant, you can enjoy the ride with them too. Best of all, kids that are under 36 inches tall are FREE! Each pilot is certified, has undergone training, and must meet safety guidelines, FAA regulations, meteorology, and emergency procedures. The ride can also fit standard wheelchairs.
- ATV and Adventure
There are some places that offer more family-centric style adventures. Foxfire Mountain Adventure Park offers their Bear Crawler Adventure to kids ages 3+ (as long as they can sit by themselves and be buckled in a seat belt). Kids of all ages can explore America’s Longest Swinging Bridge there and have fun on the obstacle course in Lava Valley. The Bridge is free for kids ages six and under.
- Racing Karts/Go-Carts
For three-year-olds, Xtreme Racing Center allows them to ride with a driver who is at least 16. When the carts go at least 30 MPH, your toddler isn’t going to mind being a passenger! Other kids need to be at least 11 years old to drive solo. Blake Jones Racing Center also has the same restrictions for three-year-olds (assuming they are at least 36″ tall) on their Figure 8 Slick Track and indoor electric go-cart track. They also have bumper cars, which are great for the smaller kids in your family. Drivers can be as young as five to operate the single bumper car. Three-year-olds can ride along with a 16+ year old driver in the double bumper car.
- Horseback Riding
Most stables are designed for children ages 5 and up to ride solo, but the Big Rock Dude Ranch at Ponderosa has V.I.P. rides for small children. These riders are guided on a trail that is designed for kids ages 2-4. That said, if a younger child at Big Rock Dude Ranch demonstrates good stability and control, they may also be able to ride solo. The Big Rock Dude Ranch also has a petting zoo and a gem mining area, adding even more fun activities for your youngsters.
Content on this page is subject to change. Please contact the locations mentioned to see if promotions, hours, pricing, etc. are still valid.