While Gatlinburg turns into a ski town in the winter, Ober Gatlinburg, a popular ski area, has found ways to entertain visitors in the summer.
Things To Know About Ober Gatlinburg:
- The main entrance to Ober is located right off the main street in Gatlinburg, called Parkway. In this building you will find a couple of small shops, a ticket booth for all of the Ober activities, and the loading platform for the aerial tramway.
- My recommendation for boarding the tram, as someone who dislikes cramped spaces, is to wait and be the last one to board in your group. This way you end up standing right next to the door that they close and you can clearly see out the window and enjoy the view. The line for the tram is not too bad earlier in the morning(I boarded it around eleven), and the line does move at a good pace but that is due to how many people they squish into the tram.
- Overall the food options in the Gatlinburg area lean more towards fast food and fast casual dining. So, I was happy to find that Ober has a sit down restaurant with probably the least “fast food” type food in the Gatlinburg area. Besides the sit down restaurant there is a bar right next door, and there are also carnival food options.
- I was disappointed with the shopping at Ober, only because it was a point of emphasis in their advertising. There was not many shops in the first place, and the shops do not stand out in comparison to the shopping you can find along Gatlinburg’s main street.
- Besides shops, there is also ice skating, a carousel, and a few arcade games for indoor entertainment. The inside of the building is dimly lit and could use some updates.
- The ski mountain coaster is a popular attraction and although you can ride with a child on your lap, I would not recommend it for smaller children. The coaster requires the rider to hold onto the gas and break levers, so your hands are full the entire ride. The safety strap is fine for adults, but it seemed that small children would easily slip through it. Also it is very high up and would definitely make those afraid of heights very nervous.
- Other outside activties include the alpine slide, scenic chairlift, mini golf, chair swings, water raft rides, and a maze.
- Ober also has a “wildlife encounter”, and I found it very depressing. It just feels cruel to put black bears in cages among the Great Smoky Mountains. I can just picture their bear friends and family frolicking through the mountains around them, while they feel left out. Also the enclosures seemed especially tiny, in comparison to zoos, and appeared in need of some updates.