Traveling Twins – Gatlinburg, TN (Part 2)

Traveling Twins – Gatlinburg, TN (Part 2)

Last week I wrote about some tips and tricks when planning a trip to Gatlinburg, I hope you enjoyed it!  I wanted to follow up with some tips on some good restaurants in the area and a few other fun activities to try out if you have time!

Ripley’s Aquarium

Ripley Aquarium

Children 2 and under are free!  Our twins were 2.5 when we went but still 2 years old!  Works for me 🙂   For adults it is around $30 people.  Here is the link to the website

~Tips on the Aquarium~

  1. BUY YOUR TICKETS BEFORE YOU GO! – You can buy your tickets online before you go.  We didn’t do that but when we got there the line was super long and it was HOT so I pulled the website up on my phone and I was able to purchase them right then and skip the line!  I even think that there was a discount if you purchased online, but I’m unable to confirm this :/?
  2. TIME? – Allow at least two hours to walk around.  That is about the time we spent there and it was perfect.
  3. COUPONS? – We didn’t have any coupons when we went but check out this guide and they do list a coupon that I think is worth a try!  Gatlinburg Guide
  4. FOOD? – We did not eat inside, but we did find a cute little mexican restaurant basically right in front of the aquarium.  Could be a nice break after you leave if you need a cool beverage or margarita!  I do recommend that if you have littles, you bring snacks 🙂 When my twins get hungry, it’s bad news bears if we don’t have goldfish or some kind of snack around!
  5. SAVINGS? – If you plan on going to some of the other Ripley attractions I would look here at the Ripley website to buy in bulk!  We didn’t go to any other Ripley attractions but they looked pretty cool when we passed them downtown.

~Restaurants in Gatlinburg and surrounding area~

So we had a kitchen in our condo and we utilized it as much as possible to save money on food.  Especially since our two year olds really didn’t like much restaurant food at the time.  So when our day permitted we ate cheerios or oatmeal at the condo for breakfast and/or packed a peanut butter and jelly for lunch!

Smokies Cuban Cafe – The first place I want to mention, which was our favorite, was a little cuban restaurant tucked away in a strip mall before you got into Gatlinburg.  It was so good that we went back two days later and got take out again!  Their cuban sandwich was amazing!  If you are looking for a fancy meal or a romantic quiet spot though, this is not your jam.  Super small and because it’s so small a little on the loud side because you can hear the kitchen pots and pans clinging and the table next to you talking.  BUT for us with 2 two year-olds…..It was perfection!

They don’t have a website but here is there Facebook page

No feeling bad that my son was crying because I opened his straw wrapper for him on accident, because if people could hear him it was muffled by all the other noises so it made it A-OK!  Please try this little gem out if you can while in Gatlinburg, you will not be disappointed.  Sorry I can’t find my pictures of the cuban!


Little Goat Pigeon Forge – We ventured to Pigeon Forge for lunch again because we weren’t finding what we were looking for in Gatlinburg.  Our condo was super close to Pigeon Forge so the drive was not super long.  We found this restaurant on Trip Advisor, where I find most of our restaurants while on trips.  (I am in the top 10% of reviewers in the Chicagoland area :))  I make it a point to review places because I rely on other reviews a ton when planning trips.

Little Goat is locally-sourced and sustained menu items and everything was super yummy.  They bake their own bread daily, they purchase food free of GMOs, antibiotics, steroids, and high fructose corn syrup!  I ordered the crab cakes and a lemon drop martini because it was a long day a tourism with our littles and was not disappointed!

Here is their website

Again, a place where we felt welcome with our two year olds and the manager even came over to compliment us on how well-behaved our children were.  I recommend this place for a nicer dinner out with littles.  The food is great and it’s not a white table fancy place so your kids won’t disrupt other diners 🙂

Here is a previous post on eating out with toddlers and some ammunition we carry to keep them occupied.  We have not started to give them our cell phones yet, but I think I see this happening in the future :/  Please share below if you have any go to tips on eating out with kids!

Calhoun’s – We visited this restaurant but unfortunately both….yes both children, had semi-meltdowns 🙁  So my dining experience was a bust so I don’t remember much of the food.  I surely wasn’t taking pictures of my food when my son was crying because the leaf he found for his nanny broke.  It was an experience.  But I will say I remember the service being great and the waitress trying to cheer up my exhausted children 🙂  This restaurant is right on the strip in Gatlinburg but towards the end so you can find parking a little easier with not a crazy walk!


If you do venture to Gatlinburg, I would do more research on the food in the area.  If you are food lovers like us, it was a little disappointing.  I mean I love a waffle as much as the next gal, but didn’t want to eat breakfast for every meal.  Waffles are definitely on point in this area, but besides the few places I mentioned above we had a hard time finding interesting eats 🙂


Good luck People and Happy Travels!




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12 thoughts on “Traveling Twins – Gatlinburg, TN (Part 2)

  1. I hear ya on the food. I do love a good waffle house, but there is only so much hash browns one can eat in a trip 🙂 Sometimes, esp with the small kids, a rowdy or kid friendly atmposhere trumps awesome food! The aquarium does look pretty sweet! Esp when the kids are old enough to enjoy it, but are still free!

    • Yes, I love breakfast food but not for every meal! 🙂 Love restaurants when they are a little louder so I don’t disturb our neighbors!

  2. Oh boy, kids make everything an adventure, even eating out! I loved your honest reviews of the restaurants. Isn’t it the best when you find a little hole-in-the-wall place like the Cuban Cafe? Sometimes those places have the best food…and are great for loud kids. Thanks for sharing your adventures!

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