Some of our favorite family vacations have been to places here in the US. One area we want to see is Tennessee, and this Fall, we’re going to get our wish. The more that I research and plan our trip, the more excited I get. Today, I am sharing a toddler-friendly planning guide for exploring the Great Smoky Mountains Region with your little ones.
Eat, Sleep and Play
First things first, we’ll need a place to lay our heads and hopefully, get some much-needed R-n-R. We’ll be partnering with Country Cascades Waterpark Resort in Pigeon Forge, TN. This place looks awesome, and we’re so excited to splash around in Splashaway Bay, enjoy a drink out on our balcony, and taste all the yummy offerings in Grandma’s Kitchen.
Sharks, Penguins, and Rays
A toddler-style vacation wouldn’t be complete without a stop at the exciting Ripley’s Aquarium of The Smokies. I can’t wait to take my kids underwater without getting wet. They’ll get up close and personal with a green sea turtle, giant stingrays, and huge sharks. Then, we’ll all waddle over to see the penguins. No seriously, my daughter literally waddles every time she sees a photo of a penguin. It is hysterical. I can’t imagine what she’ll do when she sees a real one for the first time. Laugh-inducing video to follow.
What mama doesn’t like “edu-tainment”?
I’m all about sneaky learning while having a ton of fun. WonderWorks offers 35,000 square feet of hands-on exhibits that will delight and challenge your Littles. I’m excited to let my kids enjoy the Light & Sound Zone. They love music, and I doubt I’ll be able to peel them away from the Giant Piano.
A ride on a choo-choo
In my house, trains are life. We read non-stop “choo choo” stories, and my feet are bruised from the train-laden floors in my house. When I found out that I could take my little ones on a real steam engine through the Smoky Mountains, I said, “sign me up”! The Great Smoky Mountains Railroad offers lots of toddler-friendly experiences on their gorgeous trains. Open air or climate controlled, they have it all.
Obviously, this is the ideal itinerary for our upcoming trip. All you toddler mamas out there know that nothing ever goes according to plan. My new mantra is “low expectations”. Join us on Facebook and Instagram for lots of adventures and bloopers.