Greg's super kind, generous folks took the fam up to Pigeon Forge last week. We stayed at the Wilderness Resort which we highly recommend!! I'll just say that Meadow cried when we had to leave. "I just want to live here because it is so awesome!" "I want to live here because the water fun is just so awesome."
It has a huge indoor waterpark with awesome water slides and a surf/body board wave area and 2 large outdoor water parks, one of which has a wave pool and a lazy river. So we pretty much lived in the water last week with some breaks to check out some great local attractions.
A brave Meadow and Parker hitting the waves! This was soooo much fun!
Gatlinburg Aquarium, Tennessee
I loved how this aquarium had a lot of little glass bubbles that the children could go into to "go into" the animal habitats. See Penguin picture below. The kids loved that. The penguins would come right up to the glass. One peguin followed Meadow's finger on the glass with its beak. She loved it.
The Forbidden Caverns
Original Cave Entrance (Daylight on Upper left part of the picture). This is how the cave was discovered. Indian Artifacts were found there dating back to the early 1800's. Also in the cave were parts and scraps from when the local people would go there to make moonshine.
Great Smoky Mountains National Park
On the way to Cherokee (what a lovely drive!) we saw a Mamma bear and two cubs in the forest just off of the highway. It was beautiful. Everyone was stopping to take pictures. The cubs were so very cute. Some people were getting too close and of course the mamma bear lunged forward. Everyone got back in their cars and the Park rangers came and used the bear horn to send the bears back into the woods.
Oconaluftee Indian Village, Cherokee, NC
This was awesome. We went on a guided tour of the Oconaluftee Indian Village; a replica of a 1750s Cherokee Village. While there we learned about how the Cherokee Indians lived and how they made traditional trade items like pottery, blankets, beads, canoes, bow and arrows etc. using centuries old techniques. In The Village Square Grounds we learned about traditional songs and dance and the clan system and beliefs. I especially thought it was interesting how the tribe shared so many things like hunted food, a community fish barrel, canoes, etc. You took what you needed and replaced it when you could. I also really enjoyed hearing about the tribe medicine man and the sweat house where they took the sick and crushed herbs and plants and let the people sweat out their sickness. The medicine man had cures for every illness until the small pox came. It wiped out over half of the Cherokee Tribe. The Cherokee Indians never used tepees, they built cabins out of wood and clay mixed with animal hair. The fiber from the hair strengthened the clay as it dried.
Playing in the River, Cherokee