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What's New At The Island?

Posted by Leif Palmer in Pigeon Forge Attractions

Last week, we introduced you to several popular theme restaurants in the Great Smoky Mountains of Tennessee. One of them was Jimmy Buffett's Margaritaville, which is located at The Island, a fairly new and definitely popular multiuse destination in Pigeon Forge. Having visited there recently, we realized how many new shops, restaurants and attractions had been added since our previous visit there a year earlier.

So for those of you who have never been to The Island or haven't been there in a while, we're here to offer a quick overview of its highlights – both old and new – to anyone who might find themselves stranded (on purpose or by accident) in Pigeon Forge for a few hours. And if you're planning a visit there, remember that our Pigeon Forge cabins are conveniently located within just a few minutes' drive of The Island.

Let's start with the attractions. Most of the fun activities at The Island are small-scale theme park-style amusements, including the 7D Dark Ride Adventure, Mirror Maze, Arcade City, Funny Cars, Flying Horse Carousel, Happy Swing, Li'l Ribbits (a frog ride), a shooting gallery and Thunderdome, a bungee-assisted trampoline jump.

The main attraction at The Island is The Great Smoky Mountain Wheel, a 200-foot-tall Ferris wheel that gives passengers awesome views of the Smokies from climate-controlled gondola cars. Each of the 42 glass-enclosed cars can hold as many as eight passengers.

A slightly newer attraction is The Island Show Fountain, a state-of-the-art multi-tiered show fountain (like the Bellagio fountains in Las Vegas) that offers stunning presentations of water and colored lights, all choreographed to music.

What's really grown the most at The Island is the number of shops located throughout the site. Most of them are very much targeted toward niche markets, which has resulted in an interesting collection of retail opportunities. There really is something for all tastes.

We won't list all of the approximately 60 shops here, but some of the products and brands to look out for include Tervis tumblers, candies and sweets, rustic furniture, Pepper Palace (home of all things spicy), the Toychest Company, Natural Comfort Footwear, a beef jerky store and Puzzled, which is home to just about any kind of jigsaw puzzle you could imagine.

In addition to Jimmy Buffett's Margaritaville (see last week's post), there are several other sit-down dining experiences to be had at The Island. Among them are Timberwood Grill, which specializes in the flavors of the mountains, Dick's Last Resort, which prides itself in breaking all the rules, and Mellow Mushroom, which has some of the best pizza in this neck of the woods.

Also look for food stands like Island Yogurt, Cinnabon, Auntie Anne's (pretzels), The Island Creamery, Poynor's Pommes Frites and Margaritaville Coffee, just to name a few. Soon, Paula Deen's new restaurant, Paula Deen's Family Kitchen, will open its doors, offering her trademarked brand of Southern cuisine to the hungry masses.

Finally, the Margaritaville Island Hotel is close to being ready for occupancy. In fact, you can even make your reservations now online. But if you're more in the mood for a peaceful and spacious place to spend the night, our cabins may be more to your liking.

Leif Palmer - Smokies blogger

About Leif Palmer

Leif Palmer loves residing in the Smoky Mountains. He is an avid outdoorsman: rowing for exercise on the lake, trail hiking, and free climbing rocks in the mountains. He indulges his arty side by periodically beating up pieces of marble by sculpting. He is always frustrated by his inability to sink long putts, and hates his curly hair (but his wife loves it). Leif has been known to muster enough courage to change a diaper, and hopes his son will become a chip off the old block.


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