HAVE JUST TWO HOURS TO SPEND IN SEVIERVILLE? NO PROBLEM! THAT'S ENOUGH TIME FOR GREAT FUN
By Hope S. Philbrick
You only have time for a two-hour stop in Sevierville, Tennessee? No problem! That’s long enough to build some great memories. So stop the car, stretch your legs and have some great fun. To help you make the most of your brief visit, we’ve compiled this list of activities that each takes only two hours or less to enjoy. But fair warning: This list is so appealing, we expect you'll decide to stay longer or plan to come back to try them all!
Get active and even vent pent-up frustrations safely at Tennessee Mountain Paintball Park. Low impact paintball, a new addition to the game of paintball that is only available at a few facilities nationwide, delivers high adrenaline but little pain for maximum fun. Billed as “the real life video game,” the goal is to eliminate game competitors by tagging them with paint-filled capsules using an air-powered launcher. Whether your game is staged as kids vs. parents, husband vs. wife, or even you vs. strangers, after a safety briefing you’ll get outfitted in everything you need to play safely. Then run, weave, duck and mark your way through the fields. The last player or team standing without being marked by a paintball is the winner. At Tennessee Mountain Paintball, you can play with as few as two players and can join open play or walk-on games without a reservation. Anyone age seven and older can play. Sessions are available every morning and afternoon; stay for up to three hours, but two is certainly possible if you can tear yourself away.
Get hearts pumping at Sevier Air Trampoline & Ninja Warrior Park, where you’ll find 38,000-square feet of jumping, bouncing and flipping opportunities. The area’s largest park of its kind boasts 60 trampolines, an obstacle course inspired by the popular “Ninja Warrior” TV show, plus a three-story net system specifically designed for youngsters age two to ten—the first of its kind. There are also two competition dodgeball courts, a two-sided rock wall, three basketball goals, two tumble tracks for gymnastics, a rope swing, and a jousting area above a foam pit. There’s literally no excuse to sit still once inside here. Open daily; one- and two-hour packages are available.
Located at River Plantation RV Resort, this two-acre, double-decker course is packed with more than 55 elements to explore during a two-hour adventure. After safety training, choose your own route to climb, zip and swing through trees. Challenges include dangling bridges, swinging vines, hanging nets, zip-lines, tight ropes, and more. Two levels let you mix-up the amount of derring-do required: Easier challenges are 14- to 22-feet above the ground while second-tier excitement is 28- to 50-feet high. You can opt to complete favorite challenges multiple times or explore the course to try them all. Along the way, friendly, helpful guides are ready to lend a hand and encouragement as needed. All ages welcome; a little zipper course is specifically aimed at youngsters age four to seven. Easy to access from the Parkway, the course is open daily; reservations are strongly recommended.
Climb into a helicopter and soar up to 1,200-feet up into the air for an eagle’s eye view of the Great Smoky Mountains and surrounding farms, fields, waters, and other natural and manmade sights. Bring your camera! Whether you’re celebrating a special occasion, looking to take your relationship to a higher level, or simply longing to do something different, on this unforgettable aerial tour you’re bound to see some breathtaking vistas plus learn something new—all while hovering up in the clouds like a VIP. Scenic Helicopter Tours has flown FAA- and National Park Service-approved flights over The Smokies since 1972. Daily tour options range from eight to 100 miles, depending on your interests and time constraints, and are suitable for all ages.
Soar over The Smokies in an authentic piece of American history: A 1927 Waco Model 10 Straightwing biplane. There are just 36 such vintage biplanes registered in the U.S., and only a dozen still fly. This vintage biplane has been lovingly restored to “like new” condition. While soaring through the skies in the open-air cockpit, the wind whips through your hair as if you were riding a motorcycle or convertible. Before take-off pose for a commemorative photo wearing vintage leather helmets, goggles and silk scarves, then climb into the aircraft for a thrilling tour of the spectacular mountains. Tours of eight-, 15- and 30-minutes are available seasonally; operations shut down in cold months. All ages welcome and reservations are recommended but not required. After a biplane tour you’ll still have time to head to the Tennessee Museum of Aviation.
The history of human flight comes to life at the Tennessee Museum of Aviation. You can climb into an A-4 Skyhawk Cockpit for a pilot’s-eye view of flying and pose behind the controls for a souvenir image. While hundreds of historic artifacts and exhibits can be found throughout the museum, airworthy warbirds are the focus of the aircraft collection. Several vintage aircraft, radial and jet engines, plus military vehicles are on display in the hangar. The museum is the only one in the U.S. that houses two airworthy P-47 Thunderbolts; less than a dozen of these World War II aircraft still fly in the world. Outside is a runway of the Gatlinburg Pigeon Forge Airport, so you can also watch planes arrive and take off. The museum is open daily and exhibits change frequently since most of the aircraft in the hangar are still airworthy and may be up in the air somewhere.
Featuring over 600 live animals representing more than 130 species, the Rainforest Adventures Discovery Zoo is packed with creatures from cute to creepy that are sure to give you and your travel companions something to talk about (plus plaques and brochures help answer questions sure to arise). Among the exotic birds, bugs, reptiles, mammals and amphibians on display are a northern blue-tongued skink, African crested porcupine, and golden headed lion tamarins—some of the smallest and rarest monkeys on earth. Odds are that you’ll spot at least one creature that you never before knew existed, unless you happened to see it on Animal Planet. The majority of animals at the Zoo were born or hatched in captivity; some are on loan from zoos across the U.S. for educational purposes. The Zoo is open daily (except Christmas Day) and is suitable for all ages (admission is free for children under age 3).
For the quintessential Sevierville experience, visit Dolly Parton…or, at least, the statue of her that was unveiled 30 years ago and in that time has attracted millions of visitors from all over the world. Head first to the bronze statue of Dolly Parton—the most honored female country performer of all time!—on the Sevier County Courthouse lawn. This tribute to the superstar by her hometown community is the perfect place to snap a picture since it’s the only place on earth you’re guaranteed to get close to the living legend. Before you leave town, head across the street to Courthouse Donuts. At this design-your-own donut shop choose an icing like chocolate or vanilla, a topping like peanuts, coconut or sprinkles, and a sauce such as caramel or marshmallow cream then watch a fluffy vanilla cake ring prepared to your specifications. If Dolly and donuts isn’t enough to make you smile, you really need to spend more time in Sevierville having fun!