Monday, April 11, 2016

New Developments in the Smokies For April 2016

Have you been to Pigeon Forge and the Smoky Mountains lately? If not, here's a whole bunch of new stuff in or coming in this season you should check out.

* New Publix
2016 seems to be the year of the grocery store! At least it feels that way with the new Publix grocery store coming to downtown Pigeon Forge right next to Wears Valley road. We've already seen increased competition from Krogers and Food City to gear up for it, and that means visitors and local consumers win all the way around!

* Goat Coaster
Goats On the Roof on Wears Valley Road has been one of those success stories where no one really saw it coming or expected it would be as big a hit as it is, but it has, and now the attraction is expanding to offer an alpine coaster on the premises as part of their "one-stop-fun" approach.

* Cal Ripkin Experience
This project was long in the making on Teaster Lane and it's finally open! The Cal Ripkin Experience is a sports complex with six baseball fields (made with synthetic turf), a 14,137 square foot clubhouse, a concession stand and more. There will be plenty of tournaments, events and more featured there.

* Pearl Harbor Ripley's Aquarium
Ripley's Aquarium keeps things fresh by having one section of their Aquarium change with new exhibits and themes, and this Spring we will see that exhibit turn into Pearl Harbor. Pearl Harbor is a changeable, interactive exhibit featuring models of ships, planes, President FDR, an Arizona BB-39 Forward Magazine, info on the attack itself and the animals native to Hawaii.

* Retro Running Weekend in the Smokies
April 29th to the 30th sees a throwback to our favorite eras - the 60s, 70s and even the 80s at LeConte Center. How will retro Running Weekend celebrate those eras? With entertainment by Woodie and the Longboards tributing Glenn Frey, the Eagles and the Beach Boys, a complimentary three hour running school by olympian and coach Jeff Galloway, workshops and more!

* New WalMart on Dolly Parton Parkway
For those who might find the Walmart SuperCenter too packed when it comes to needing groceries (which can happen once we get into the spring and summer months), the new Walmart Marketplace on Dolly Parton parkway just 5-7 minutes away offers an excellent and reasonably convenient alternative.

* New Chipotle in Sevierville
Can you believe we've never had a Chipotle in Sevierville before? It's true, but these days we're getting all kinds of new restaurants and chains we'd never had before and Chipotle is a welcome addition to our local palatte.

* Dolly Parton's Lumberjack Adventure Dinner and Show
The Lumberjack Feud was/is such a good show that the same management company owning Dollywood and Dixie Stampede decided to add it to their high quality brand of entertainment. The new Lumberjack Adventure will celebrate the Appalachian history of Tennessee lumberjacks, offer new content, food and more.

* New Show at Iris Theater in Gatlinburg
Starting on March 17th, the Iris Theater at the Space Needle complex welcomes The Impossibilities magic show featuring magical comedian Chris Collins and master mentalist Erik Dobell. You and the whole family will see magic, stunts and other things you could swear were impossible - expect to spend the rest of the night trying to figure it all out!

* New Escape Game in Gatlinburg
If 2016 is anything, it's the year of the Escape Game, or rather the year of the grocery store AND the Escape Game, and the new one coming to downtown Gatlinburg is The Captured coming to the base of the Space Needle. We won't spoil anything further other than to say any additional info you want to find will be at

* New Zaxbys in Gatlinburg
The city of Gatlinburg has surprisingly few chain restaurants when it comes to quick-service food, so it was a very pleasant surprise when Zaxbys moved into the ground level of the Mountain Mall. Up until now, the closest one was all the way out on Highway 66 towards Sevierville. A welcome edition and convenient place for food.

If you still need more good reasons to stay in the Smokies with Cove Mountain this season, check out many dozens more on our cabin page at