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Posts Tagged ‘ Sevierville ’

Indoor Activities for Snow Days!

Thursday, February 26th, 2015

Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow! The Smoky Mountains are gorgeous with white capped peaks and glistening snow. Usually, the lower elevations get little accumulation, however, when ice and heavy snow sets in, it can cause a bit of cabin fever! Looking for something to keep your family entertained indoors while on vacation? Check out some of these fun family indoor activities that require little to no elements!

Build a fort – Fort building is tons of fun! Anything can be incorporated into the construction of the structure! Use the comforter and the chairs. Have a ton of those plastic party cups? Use those for a fortress wall! Creativity can lead to awesome forts!

Blow bubbles – Give the kids a cup with water, a straw and soap. Have a race to see who can get their bubble mountain to the top first! Try using other containers you have access to and see which one works the best.

Letter or number doodles – Draw a letter or number whatever size you want on a piece of paper. See what kind of creations can come from those. Can the letter P become a penguin? Bonus points if the creation starts with the letter or has the same number as the number drawn. At the end, have an art show! Why not try to do the whole alphabet?

This letter artist is turning the letter D into a jellyfish.

The finished work of art!

Paper plane contest – Paper airplanes aren’t just for passing notes. See who can create a plane that will fly the furthest. Decorate the planes to make them exciting. Have a plane showcase!

Indoor picnic – Instead of having everyone gather at the table for lunch or go their separate ways in the cabin, why not have an indoor picnic? Throw down a comforter or towel, put together some family style plates and have a picnic!

Dance party – Have something that will play music like a smartphone, laptop, radio or TV? Then you have all the requirements for a super fun family dance party! Let the kids take turns in the middle showing off their skills!

Sing off – Same thing applies! Any song can become a karaoke sing off! Look up karaoke songs on YouTube or sing along to your favorites. Bonus points for getting into full character and dressing up.

Learn something new – If you have internet access while stuck inside, learn a new skill! There are hundreds of thousands of tutorials online. Why not have the family learn the alphabet in sign language?

What does your family do to pass the time when you’re snowed in? Tell us below!


Record Visitation Continues in 2015 at Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Thursday, February 19th, 2015

Record setting visitation to Great Smoky Mountains National Park continues in 2015, with 351,670 visitors enjoying the park in January.  The National Park Service has maintained monthly visitation records since 1979. Since that time, visitation has never exceeded 351,000 in the month of January.

Visitation was up at all major park entrances as well as the park’s outlying areas. This increase was noticeable at the park’s visitor centers, especially at Oconaluftee in North Carolina.  The staff at the Oconaluftee Visitor Center welcomed 12,658 visitors in January, a 51% increase over 2014. Sugarlands Visitor Center staff saw a 13% increase in visitation compared to 2014.

The record month comes on the heels of the park’s busiest year in 14 years.  In 2014, 10,099,275 visitors enjoyed the national park, an 8% increase over 2013. The numbers were spurred by strong July and August visitation as well as the highest October visitation in 27 years.

“I am honored to join the Smokies staff in welcoming visitors to enjoy this special place,” said Superintendent Cassius Cash. “In my short time here, I’ve been able to see firsthand just how much people care about the park and I look forward to continuing to work with our communities and partners to serve our visitors and protect these mountains for the next generation to enjoy as we have.”

The national park not only welcomed a record number of visitors in January 2015, it also officially crossed a milestone in visitation. Since 1931, when the park’s first Superintendent, Major J. Ross Eakin arrived in the Smokies, over 500 million visitors have enjoyed Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Only the Blue Ridge Parkway and Golden Gate National Recreation Area have hosted more visitors during their existence.

For more information about visitation, please go to the National Park Service Visitor Use Statistics web page at


2nd Annual Recycling Games Event at Wilderness at the Smokies Resort

Wednesday, February 11th, 2015

Event Offers Opportunity for General Public to buy one-day tickets to waterpark only for $15; Proceeds will benefit Keep Sevier Beautiful and Sevier County Food Ministry

With winter in full swing, the Wilderness at the Smokies’ waterpark resort is offering a fun event on Sunday, March 1 that will offer a chance for non-resort guests to enjoy its indoor waterpark, teach children some important tips about recycling and helping the environment in a fun setting, and assist two local charities with funding.

Beginning at 1 p.m. on March 1, individuals will be able to purchase a $15 ticket to enjoy the Wild WaterDome indoor waterpark at Wilderness at the Smokies; the ticket price is for both adults and children ages three and older, as the money from the day’s ticket sales will benefit two local non-profit organizations:  Keep Sevier Beautiful and the Sevier County Food Bank.  The Wild WaterDome is normally only available to resort guests, but this event will allow others to enjoy a fun summer experience in the middle of winter and help great local charities at the same time.  The waterpark will remain open until 8 p.m. that evening.

From 1-3 p.m., the 2nd annual “Recycling Games” event will feature sponsors Alcoa, Food City, Tanger Outlets in Sevierville, Hard Rock Café in Pigeon Forge, the Mountain Press, Pepsi, the Sevier County Food Ministry Thrift Shop and Keep Sevier Beautiful highlighting fun facts about recycling and how children and families can make a difference by stepping up their environmental efforts in easy ways.  The first 500 children who participate in the recycling portion of the event will receive a goody bag with items from each of the sponsors.

Keep Sevier Beautiful’s Executive Director Laura Howard says that this year’s recycling event at Wilderness at the Smokies coincides with the kickoff of the Great American Cleanup, which is Keep America Beautiful’s flagship event.  “The Great American Cleanup creates a way for organizations like Keep Sevier Beautiful to bring opportunities for environmental education and positive behavior change to a local level  and to engage our residents to take greater responsibility for our beautiful area. One of our goals this year is to provide more educational programs and events for area children and families, and this event being put on by Wilderness will make that possible – we are excited to be able to have some much needed funds to put on programming that educates our area’s families about the importance of a variety of efforts that will build, sustain and create positive change in our community.”

Jim Davis, Executive Director of Sevier County Food Ministries, says the timing for a cash donation from the Wilderness at the Smokies event could not be better.  “After the holidays, the need greatly increases and our supplies significantly shrink to serve our area’s hungry.  As it did last year after the inaugural event, the monies Sevier County Food Ministries receives from this event will help get us through the rest of this winter.”

Park Seeks Tennessee Volunteers Interested in Citizen Science

Wednesday, February 4th, 2015

Great Smoky Mountains National Park rangers are seeking volunteers to help with an important research project. In an effort to do a better job of tracking nature’s calendar, or phenology, park rangers are recruiting volunteers who are willing to adopt a tree monitoring plot in areas throughout the Tennessee side of the park.  A tree phenology monitoring training will be held on Saturday, February 28, 2015 from 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at the Twin Creeks Science & Education Center in Gatlinburg, TN.  After training, volunteers will be assigned to a phenology plot for which they will collect data multiple times throughout the growing season.  Plots up for “adoption” are located near parking areas in the Cades Cove, Elkmont, Sugarlands, Greenbrier, Twin Creeks, Newfound Gap and Davenport Gap regions of the park.

Information collected by volunteers will go into a national database that helps answer questions such as “was spring early this year?” or “when will the fall colors peak?” Monitoring phenology will help park rangers to understand how earlier springs and cold snaps impact our mountain forests.

If you are interested in signing up for the training on Saturday, February 28, 2015 for this exciting volunteer opportunity, please contact:

Sarah Hitzemann
Citizen Science Assistant
Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Americorps Education Intern
(865) 436-1290

For more information about phenology research efforts across the country visit—Great Smoky Mountains National Park:
National Phenology Network:

Volunteers learn how to collect tree phenology data for an on-going study in Great Smoky Mountains National Park.


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Paula Deen’s Family Kitchen Opening Soon!

Wednesday, February 4th, 2015

Hey, Ya’ll!

Paula Deen’s Family Kitchen is coming to Pigeon Forge! The new scheduled opening date for the Island location of Paula Deen’s Family Kitchen in Pigeon Forge is April 2015.

Paula Deen’s Family Kitchen is still in the construction phase but has a new opening date of April 2015. The space will contain a brand new 4,000 square foot Paula Deen Retail Store on the 1st floor, and a full-service, nearly 300 seat dining area on the second floor. The tiered seating will give guests beautiful views of The Island’s Show Fountains, downtown Pigeon Forge and views of the majestic Great Smoky Mountains in the distance. At Paula Deen’s Family Kitchen, friends and families will enjoy classic Deen family recipes for breakfast, lunch and dinner family-style just like they do in their very own homes.


Paula Deen spent the day testing recipes for Paula Deen's Family Kitchen with executive chef Amy Turley and GM Mark Prior.

Have you dined at one of Paula Deen’s restaurants before? If so, tell us your favorite dish!

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Park Completes Comprehensive Stream Mapping Project

Friday, January 23rd, 2015

Great Smoky Mountains National Park geographic information system specialists and scientists in collaboration with scientists from Tennessee, North Carolina, and the United States Geological Survey (USGS), completed a three-year stream mapping project. Park scientists used a combination of aircraft-mounted scanners and a Global Positioning System verification system to re-inventory streams throughout the park.

Using this modern mapping technology, scientists determined the park contains 2,900 miles of streams. Of these, 1,073 miles of streams are large enough to support fish. Previously, using topographic maps, the scientists estimated there to be approximately 2,000 miles of streams in the park. A water features is considered a stream if it exhibits the hydrologic, geomorphologic, and biologic characteristics of moving water at least part of the year.

Working with the USGS, the park incorporated the new stream data into the National Hydrography Dataset (NHD) which allows the researchers and the public real-time access to detailed information about streams across the nation. Park staff and research partners rely heavily upon the accurate information in the NHD to manage park water quality and aquatic ecosystem health. The NHD data is accessible via The National Map at and re-mapped streams within the park can be seen at

For more information about aquatic resources in the park, please visit the park’s website at

PHOTO Credit: NPS/Everitt: The Middle Prong stream along the Ramsey Cascades Trail in Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

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Area Appreciation Days at Titanic Pigeon Forge!

Tuesday, January 20th, 2015

Titanic Museum in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee is having Area Appreciation Days!

Now through January 31, 2015, residents of Sevier County, Knox County, Jefferson County, Blount County and Cocke County are able to visit the Titanic Museum in Pigeon Forge for $9 per person. Residents can bring one guest at that rate, or their immediate family. Visitors must bring proof of residency or employment (such as drivers license, state issued ID, utility bill, or pay stub). For more information, call 800-381-7670 or click the picture below!

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Ringing in 2015, Pigeon Forge Style!

Wednesday, December 31st, 2014

Looking for a fun way to celebrate New Year’s Eve? Check out what our Members have planned.

Hard Rock Café in Pigeon Forge is having a New Year’s Eve bash! Beginning at 9 p.m., the band Kincaid takes the stage and kicks the party off. They will continue throughout the night with a countdown to midnight and a champagne toast. For more information, call 865-430-7625.

The 2nd Annual New Year’s at the Island Celebration will begin at 6:00 p.m. on December 31, 2014 with free live music and entertainment. The musical guests currently scheduled include Joe the Show, The Live Rock ‘N Roll Theater and Fairview Union. Music will continue throughout the evening.
There will be free activities for kids, including face painting, a bounce house and more.

The event is free! Bring your chairs and blankets, or enjoy the fireworks from the rocking chairs that surround the beautiful Island Show Fountain.

The official Island Party will kick off at 8:00 p.m. The countdown will take place at 11:59 p.m. with fireworks to ring in the New Year!

The Smoky Mountain Opry will welcome the New Year by starting out the evening with the Christmas at the Opry show. Following the show, the party will start! The theater will feature big screens inside the theater broadcasting the live feed ball drop in NYC Times Square and a midnight balloon drop. After the ball drop there will be a chance for guests to meet and greet the cast of the “Christmas at the Smoky Mountain Opry” show and dance with the live show band on the Opry stage.

Temporary Closures for Cades Cove Loop Road in January

Tuesday, December 30th, 2014

Great Smoky Mountains National Park officials announced the temporary closure of the Cades Cove Loop Road for 6 days in January to complete hazard tree removal. The road will be closed to all pedestrians, bicyclists, and motorists January 6 through January 8 and January 13 through January 15.

“We regret the inconvenience to Cades Cove visitors,” said Acting Superintendent Clay Jordan. “We chose mid-week dates in early January when visitation is expected to be low to accomplish the needed work, but we realize that some visitors will be disappointed.”

In addition to the Cades Cove Loop Road, hazard trees will be removed from the Cades Cove Campground. The campground will remain open during the closure, but campers may be relocated during the work period.

For more information about temporary road and trail closures, please visit the park’s website at or by following the park’s Twitter account for road updates at

NPS Invites Proposals to Operate Cades Cove Riding Stable Concession

Monday, December 29th, 2014

National Park Service Invites Proposals to Operate the Cades Cove Riding Stable Concession in Great Smoky Mountains National Park

The National Park Service (NPS) Southeast Regional Office has issued a prospectus seeking proposals from individuals or businesses interested in competing for a 10-year concession contract to provide guided horseback rides and related services at the Cades Cove Riding Stable in Great Smoky Mountains National Park. The new concession contract is expected to begin on January 1, 2016.

The Cades Cove Riding Stable is about 9 miles from Townsend, TN and is adjacent to the Cades Cove Campground and Picnic Area in one of the busiest areas of the park. In addition to offering visitors guided horseback rides, the concession operator will be required to provide hayrides, carriage or wagon rides, and vending services.  The services required under the new contract include guided horseback rides, wagon and/or carriage rides, hayrides, and vending.

The stables have been in operation under National and State Park Concessions Riding Stables, Inc. since 2009. The current contract expires on December 31, 2015. Under the terms of the NPS Concessions Management Improvement Act of 1998 (Act), concession contracts must be awarded through a competitive selection process. The prospectus explains the business opportunities and the terms and conditions under which the NPS will award the concession contract. The NPS Director, pursuant to 36 CFR, Part 51, has determined that there is no preferred offeror for the contract, so the contract is fully competitive.

Any proposal, including that of the existing concessioner, must be received by the Chief of Commercial Services, Southeast Region, National Park Service, 100 Alabama St, SW, Bldg 1924, Atlanta, GA, 30303 by 4:00 p.m. EST on Wednesday, March 18, 2015, in order to be evaluated and considered for award of the concession contract.

The prospectus will be available at Hard copies will be available upon request for a printing cost recovery charge. The fee is $50.00 per copy to be delivered via Federal Express or $45.00 per copy if picked up in person. Persons interested in obtaining a prospectus should mail, or bring in person, a check or money order made payable to the NPS (cash will not be accepted). You must include a business address (no post office box) and telephone number to receive a Federal Express package. For personal pick up please contact Molly Schroer, Concessions Specialist, Great Smoky Mountains National Park at (865) 436-1209 or Bill Stevens, Chief of Commercial Services, Southeast Region, NPS, in Atlanta at (404) 507-5636 prior to arrival.

If you have obtained your prospectus from the website, please advise Bill Stevens, Chief of Commercial Services, at (404) 507-5636 of your contact information in order to receive future responses to questions or amendments to the prospectus. Those requesting hard copy or who have been placed on the mailing list will be provided with any additional information specific to the prospectus in writing. Information relative to the solicitation will also be posted to the above mentioned website.

For more information about Cades Cove, please visit the park’s website at