“Being your journey of the Great Smokey Mountains”
Begin your exploration of the park at a visitor center. Here you can pick up a park map or newspaper, have your questions answered by a ranger, and purchase books and guides to the park. Four visitor centers are located within the national park at Cades Cove, Oconaluftee, Sugarlands and Clingmans Dome. In addition, four information centers are located outside the park in the communities of Gatlinburg, Sevierville, and Townsend. Two historic grist mills are open seasonally in the park. Both provide demonstrations of corn meal milling. Visitor center museum exhibits tell the story of life in these mountains from native Americans and early European settlement time periods through the Civilian Conservation Corp and the development of the national park. The adjacent Mountain Farm Museum contains a fascinating collection of log structures including a farmhouse, barn, smokehouse, applehouse, corn cribs and others. Demonstrations of farm life are conducted seasonally.
I really enjoyed walking through the historic farm and talking with my kids (ages 13 and 11) about how people lived and what that would have been like. It was memorable and fun, even in the rain!
The family and I stop by every time we are in Cherokee. The Rangers inside are very informative inside the visitor center. Plenty of souvenirs to look through and buy. Nice porch with rocking chairs to sit and hand out until the elk come through or just enjoy the beautiful mountains, the historic farm behind it is also a plus. Take a walk thru the farm and imagine the days of our ancestors, you can even take a walk by the river on the way back up from the farm.
The visitors' center is nice, but the historic farm out back is the real attraction. They have multiple buildings, and they put on all kinds of demonstrations. Plus, it's got a gorgeous view of the river, and you can still spot lots of wildlife.
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Oconaluftee Visitor Center
- Sun - Sat: 8:30 am - 5:00 pm
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