After the wedding we left for our first honeymoon destination, Tennessee! This part was more my idea than Kyles. I wanted us to have a few days of calm after the wedding to just relax before venturing to Orlando, FL for Halloween Horror Nights. On our first night in town we decided to check out the Island. Think of the Island like a town center with carnival rides and water light shows. We spent the evening visiting the shops, finding our way out of a mirror maze & taking a ferris wheel ride.
The next day we went to Anakeesta in Gatlinburg, a theme-park of sorts dedicated to native- American cultures that sits atop the tallest mountain in the Smokies. Anakeesta is filled with cute artsy shops, picnic areas, games, zip-lines, mountain coasters, a flower garden & a treetop canopy where you can watch fireflies by the thousands in the summer. To get there you take a chair lift up the side of a mountain which is as beautiful as it is terrifying! I’m normally not scared of heights but being in a chair lift for the first time made me realize something: I don’t like dangling high off the ground on a park bench held up by a string.
If you’re scared don’t be! You also have the option of taking a bus (during certain hours) to the top or gondolas for large groups. One of the more enjoyable parts of the park for me was the treetop canopy. You walk on ropes and platforms built into the trees and mountain side from one end of the park to the other. As you journey across you have the opportunity to see the beautiful scenery of the Smokies as well as various wildlife. Sadly, we didn’t get to see any black bears which I looked forward to. I think this was mostly due to the time of day we visited as well as the noise of tourism in the area. I definitely want to visit here again in the summer to see the firefly light show! I urge you to click the link to see what I’m talking about, you won’t be disappointed! But, if you don’t get to go in the summer months they simulate the experience using lasers which is beautiful at night.
Next, we ventured to the flower garden. Vista Gardens is absolutely stunning! From the flower gardens to the cute black bear statues and the views of the surrounding Smokies, this is a part of Anakeesta you don’t want to miss.
Apart from these excursions we spent the rest of the day perusing the shops, playing giant Jenga and eating lunch at the CliffTop Bar & Grill.
Anakeesta is full of fun and adventure for everyone! There are activities for younger members of your party such as gem mining, movie night events and a play area, but I would say Anakeesta would be more enjoyable for young adults and older in my personal opinion.
We also went to the Titanic museum in Pigeon Forge, TN. If you know me you know my middle school years were spent obsessed with the movie Titanic but I also had a nerdy interest in the details of the actual ship as well. The museum is setup to look like the actual ship on the outside which makes it a major landmark in the Pigeon Forge area. You literally can’t miss it! Inside, you are greeted and given instructions on how to travel through the museum as it goes in chronological order from the creation of the ship through to the sinking and aftermath. I don’t want to give away too many details as I want you to go and experience for yourselves but even a Titanic nerd like myself learned many facts that I didn’t know before.
There were interactive areas where you can shovel coal in the boiler-rooms and feel how cold the water was in the Atlantic the night she sank. Of course like most attractions in Pigeon Forge the museum offered a photo op. Here you could drop the Heart of the Ocean into the sea just like Rose in the movie among other poses. We didn’t end up purchasing our photos because they were pretty expensive but I wish we had because they were the best we saw out of everything we did in Tennessee. The Titanic Museum is 10/10 a must see in Pigeon Forge!
With that, we packed up to travel to sunny Florida and Universal’s Halloween Horror Nights. I feel like we honestly could have spent our entire honeymoon in TN and not ran out of things to do. We definitely plan on making a second trip in the future! Some things we missed but plan to see next time are: WonderWorks, Alcatraz East Crime Museum, & The Hollywood Wax Museum.
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