April 9, 2013
(NewsUSA) - Two out of three adults age 55 and older fondly remember family vacations from as young as age five, and 93 percent of today's kids believe vacations offer quality time with their parents.
TravelEffect.com shows research-based proof of the benefits of family travel, but you don't need statistics to recall why family vacations are a great way to reconnect and share adventures. If you need a reminder, take the family to explore a fun destination such as Pigeon Forge, Tenn., and experience it for yourself.
Pigeon Forge, located in East Tennessee next to Great Smoky Mountains National Park, is a memory-making machine. It offers the delights of Dollywood, like the Wild Eagle roller coaster, and quiet walks along mountain rivers. Mom and Dad can even play along with an audience-participation gag at a family friendly comedy show.
"This is a ready-made place for fun and good times. The only ingredient visitors need to add is themselves," said tourism director Leon Downey.
According to Downey, the opportunities for family fun are growing this year.
Dollywood's Splash Country waterpark is opening Tennessee's first water coaster this spring (it's 1,175 feet long and lifts four-passenger toboggan-style boats 237 feet in the air), and the Dollywood theme park is inaugurating the "Great American Summer" on June 22 with six weeks of extended nighttime operation and nightly fireworks.
Visitors can also experience the thrills of an ascent while devouring the Smoky Mountain scenery on the Wonders of Flight, a gigantic helium balloon that lifts a 30-passenger gondola 400 feet high. The Great Smoky Mountain Wheel, which towers 200 feet in the air, is another romantic way to view the lush green sights.
The list of family friendly activities is nearly as tall as the Ferris wheel. WonderWorks is a science-oriented center in an upside-down building, where magician Terry Evanswood presents a new version of his "Wonders of Magic" show. There are more than a dozen theaters in Pigeon Forge offering a wide scope of entertainment.
Some families keep going long after sunset, reveling in go-cart tracks, miniature golf courses, bumper boats and bungee jumps along the city's main thoroughfare, the Parkway.
"I can promise you that kids will long remember staying up past their regular bedtime to race a tandem go-cart with Mom and Dad," Downey said.
Ideas for more ways to have family fun in Pigeon Forge can be found at MyPigeonForge.com, or call 800-251-9100.