While Cinco de Mayo, Mother’s Day, and Memorial Day usually get all the holiday spotlight during the month of May, there is a fun day devoted to all those detour side-of-the-road attractions and destination cities! May 7, National Tourism Day, quietly goes unnoticed because, hey, we don’t really need a reason to want to vacation. However, while visiting Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg during your cabin stay in the Smoky Mountains, some of the more authentic and kooky touristy destinations may have slipped your notice- just like this holiday.
So, in honor of all those weird giant rubber back balls or “proof” of bigfoot sightings that have ever gotten overlooked or underappreciated, because let’s face it, America has her quirks, we want to lead you to our top 5 most touristy attractions to photograph, make some silly memories with friends and family, and spend next to nothing to do so…
Goats On The Roof
It is literally what it says it is: there are goats and they are on a roof. As ridiculous as it may sound, visitors absolutely love this place! The kids are appalled and entertained at the audacity of these goats for hanging out on top of a house, and their laughter comes without paying a dime. Spend a couple dollars for the goats’ special food, and you can feed them through the gates when they are not hanging out on the shingles.
Even if they are up top, though, there is a mechanical pulley system where you set your food in and crank it right up to the goats. Walk upstairs and snap pictures of the goats through the windows; they are super photogenic, (probably for the prospect of food). Peruse the quirky gift shop that has all the personality of a Smoky Mountain tourist stop, try some deliciously decadent fudge, mine for gems, or get your thrill on with a ride on the mountain coaster!
Smoky Mountain Cat House
Ever wondered what would happen if a “cat-lady” married her soulmate? Well, look no further than Cheryl and Phil Anderson’s Smoky Mountain Cat House! Since 1985, this charming local couple have welcomed thousands of visitors to the area into a truly unique home for cat lovers and the cat curious. Find every kind of cat-themed décor you could ever imagine while live felines saunter about the shop. They are more than used to the company, so loving pets are welcomed. Snag some cat apparel or find a uniquely beautiful piece of cat jewelry handmade by Cheryl! You may just leave the Smoky Mountain Cat House encouraged as a new cat lover, yourself!
Family owned and operated, Hillbilly Golf lets you experience some Southern hospitality while playing on a hilariously unique putt-putt golf course built into the side of the mountain! Ride the trolley up the side of the hill before hopping out at the top to begin your 18-hole course through wagons, a misplaced bath tub, an outhouse, and more. Each hole offers a little background history to this somewhat misunderstood subculture tucked away into the Smoky Mountains. Through farming equipment and barrels, if the Southern life is foreign to you, this putt-putt course is a charmingly good way to “get learned” about some hillbilly ways of life!
Salt and Pepper Shaker Museum
How exciting could seasoning be? The collection of 20,000 unique, impressive, and hilarious salt and pepper shakers at the Salt and Pepper Shaker Museum may surprise you with the answer! Another family owned and operated attraction tucked into downtown Gatlinburg, the Salt and Pepper Shaker Museum was founded by an archeologist who sees the value in these handmade pieces of the American dinner table. After seeing thousands of unique, handmade salt and pepper shakers, “Pass the salt” will have a whole new meaning and spark future conversations, for sure! With shakers ranging from historical moments to toilet seats, this quirky museum is the perfect stop on your tour of touristy stops through the Smokies!
Hollywood Star Car Museum
Your kids will have absolutely no clue why you are going to be excited about the futuristic DeLorean, but they are sure to quickly recognize Bumble Bee from the Transformers trilogy! Looking over cars driven by famous icons like Dolly Parton is a great way to connect your childhood with your kids’ as they “oooohh” and “aaaahh” over the Batmobile. You can even climb inside some of these famous automobiles, making for some perfect pictures during your little side-road touristy stop before heading to ride roller coasters at Dollywood or go shopping at The Island.
All of these attractions are touristy, quirky attractions, best experienced first-hand – and they are great family activities when you finally pull yourself away from your cabin’s flatscreen TV or hot tub. There are tons of attractions that were considered for this list for their Smoky Mountain personality, so there are plenty more to check out! Stay on budget by investing in a unique, cheesy, touristy attraction, but discover they are well worth the experience with the people you love.