“The best way to see Gatlinburg”
Ober Gatlinburg Ski Resort and Amusement Park had its beginnings as the Gatlinburg Ski Resort in 1961. The Aerial Tramway, which was constructed in 1973, and the Ski Resort became Ober Gatlinburg in 1975, eventually becoming the year round attraction it is today. Family-owned and operated, Ober Gatlinburg continues to grow. A state-of-the art Snow Tubing Park opened in January 2009 and a Freestyle Terrain Park was added for the 2009-2010 season.
We went up to Ober by the tram. If you choose to ride the tram, I HIGHLY ADVISE YOU TO DO SO BEFORE NOON OR AFTER 5 pm. Otherwise the trams are jam packed and you may get stuck in the middle and see nothing. If you can, try to sit in front or in each corner of the tram. It has the nicest views. It's a bit expensive, use a coupon. We of course found the coupon after we paid in the coupon books found only on the main strip in Gatlinburg. When we got up there we bought tickets for the Alpine Slide only. (Which was super fun) My kids are 7 and 10. You take the lift up the mountain and get off halfway for the slide. Most people who ride the lift all the way up seemed bored on the way down. Save your $$ and just do the Alpine slide which includes a lift ride anyways. You can buy bracelets that include most activities. But in my opinion its more for younger kids. The coaster is extra $$ ($15 per person) and more expensive than the other 3 mountain coasters found in Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg. FYI: When you buy the tram tickets they are good for two consecutive days.
Ober Gatlinburg, frankly, is rundown and not worth your money unless you want to go ice skating. Think bowling alley level grimy/rundown in pretty much all areas.
Good things: The tram ride up has a really nice view. It is definitely the best part about visitng Ober. The ice skating is nice and not too crowded usually. The fudge shop looks clean and presentable, though I never had the chance to taste any of it. The best features of the amusement area are the maze and the mountain slide. Some of the staff are very friendly and personable.
Bad things: The amusements area is similar to the fair, but the fair looks more like Dollywood compared to Ober. The animal area has bears, otters, and other assorted animals. However, every time I have gone to Ober (at least 4 times) the animals were lethargic. The otters might come out for a feeding and then go right back to sleep. It should be noted that the animals do not look remotely mistreated but do look miserable.
*If you are wondering why I have been so many times if it is so bad, I had a free pass with my job, and my friends traditionally went there every time we went to Gatlinburg.
The tram is way cool, but the restaurant at the top is a little light on atmosphere. I'd recommend planning to eat before or after you venture up into the sky.
Eat before you. Need about 3 hours. Need a bathroom. Go to the back of the building and out side the bathrooms are larger.
You don't have to ride the tramway up to the resort. They don't make it easy to figure that out, but you can drive to the resort and pay the same to park up there as you would pay if you parked in town -- and you don't have to spend the money and time on the tramway if all you're interested in are the attractions up at the resort.
Comparable to a small roadside fair. Unless you’re under 10 years old, there isn’t much to do other eat or drink beer.
Pros: The tram ride is worth it. A tad overpriced. The children's play area was run down and costly.
It's better to drive to the top of Ski Mountain Drive and park ($5) at the amusement park. There's tons of great stuff to do, especially the alpine slide and alpine ski lift (not the tram pictured here; even higher!)
Then, having had tons of fun, you can take the tram up and down between downtown Gatlinburg and the amusement park.
The amusement park looks a little dated, but it's still fun. There's evena n ice skating rink.
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