Visit: Aerial Tramway, Ober Gatlinburg {Tennessee}

by Cate on December 3, 2014

Visiting Tennessee? The Aerial Tramway at Ober Gatlinburg will give you some of the best views of downtown Gatlinburg and the Smoky Mountains that you could ask for.

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I am not exactly scared of heights.

They’re just not my favorite.

But I try really hard not to let it impede on my activities with the kids.

See Exhibit A.

And Exhibit B.

And countless other to-be-blogged activities.

And today’s topic is another example.

There are two things that help me deal with getting over my issue.

1 – My kids

2 – A photo opp

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Which is exactly how I found myself high up in the air during our Spring Break visit to Tennessee.

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Because it sounded like fun (minus the up in the air issue), the kids agreed, and I knew it would be ripe for good photos of the Smoky Mountains.

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Nestled right in the middle of the bustling downtown section of Gatlinburg, the tram and parking was easy to find. We paid our admission and queued up to board the next tram.

Built in 1973, it cost $5.5 million for the tram and its construction, and another $1.3 million later on for modernization. Made in Switzerland, each car (there are two) holds 120 people. And by “hold,” it mainly means grabbing for the ceiling strap and hanging on.

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There is a bench at both the front and back of the tram car, but only a handful of seats. Both times we went on it (going there and back to its destination of Ober Gatlinburg), I angled for the best spot to be near a window. The counter-balanced tram cars were originally put in place to give skiers an easier way to head up the windy hill when they wanted to go skiing.

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The infamous Smoky Mountains

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Tram - view down below-001

Tram - up up and away-001

Heading up the hill, it’s a 2.1 mile trip at 16 miles per hour. Slow and steady wins the race. The tram drops you off at the top of the hill, at Olde Gatlinburg, which is a quirky little destination that time seems to have forgotten. It kind of reminded me a bit of the resort that was in the Dirty Dancing movie. In a very small way.

There is an indoor ice skating rink. A carousel. And some random food stalls (skip the pizza, it was eh at best). While we were up there, we poked around a bit, rode the carousel, grabbed some fudge, and killed a little bit of time until the next scheduled tram back down the hill.

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Be sure to watch your time to make sure you don’t miss the last tram for the day. It’s a long walk down, if you do, in the dark, and the tram operator said something about bears.

Which is pretty much when I became anal-retentive about keeping an eye on the time.

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Because, you know, bears.

Ober Gatlinburg Ski Area & Amusement Park
1001 Parkway, Suite 2
Gatlinburg TN, 37738
(865) 436-5423

Hungry for more Tennessee?
Our visit to RainForest Adventures was fun, with questionable vending machine prizes.
The Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies is right down the street from the Ripley’s Believe It or Not! museum and was a great kick-off to our vacation on our first night.
The kids loved riding The Great Smoky Mountain Wheel, and it gave us awesome views from the top (gulp).
The Ripley’s Believe It Or Not! Museum was a favorite of Nick’s, of course.
The Chocolate Monkey was a sweet spot we enjoyed near one of our hotels.
Jack’s Bar-B-Que in Nashville was a highlight and not-to-be-missed.
Our favorite Tennessee eats can be found here.
And lastly, some highlights from our week-long adventure.
And you can also check out this Tennessee-themed board on Pinterest.

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