Thrill seekers see the world from on high with Skydive Smoky Mountains. The wind rushes past and the patchy landscape below rushes to meet them as they plummet from up to 12,000 feet in the air. Tandem jumps help individuals with little training experience the thrill of free falling. A video team will record that pivotal moment when skydivers realize why they call gravity a law.
The course at the private Wolf Laurel Country Club leads players on a secluded retreat into the Blue Ridge Mountains, with mature forests and alpine vistas dappling climbs to elevations of more than 5,000 feet. Designer W.B. Lewis planned the fairways so that no two run directly parallel to each other, allowing players to explore every angle of the sprawling resort that’s bounded to the north by the Appalachian Trail. With tee-to-green elevation changes of as much as 300 feet, golfers must make careful club selections to give themselves the best shot at the par of 74. The signature sixth hole, a par 3, couples a downhill tee shot that plummets more than 200 feet with a dramatic vista from the tee box, spelling doom for shots that fly long and golfers who recover slowly after tee-to-green barrel rolls.
Course at a Glance: * 18-hole, par 72 course * Total length of 6,301 yards from the back tees * Course rating of 72.6 from the back tees * Course slope of 144 from the back tees * Four sets of tees per hole
Upon arriving at the USA Raft site—which is located in Marshall, about three hours from Charlotte—whitewater explorers over the age of 8 can change into appropriate apparel and receive the provided gear (helmet, personal flotation device, and paddle). After an instructional orientation describing the itinerary and proper rafting techniques, riders will be shuttled to the river drop-in point 15 minutes away. Voyagers in search of frothy spumes will spend the next two to three hours conquering frequent rapids with nicknames such as Pinball, Sandy Bottom, and Ledges. Stops will be made along the way at Jump Rock to allow jumping jocks the opportunity to leap into the river, and also at Swimmers Rapid to let rafters cool off with a few laps. Afterward, a small snack will be provided. A skilled rafting guide will be in the boat at all times, which means no experience is necessary for this trip. If a half-day isn't enough for you, you can upgrade to a full day of rafting ($79.95 per person) for an additional fee. Call to make a reservation.
Wolf Ridge Ski Resort rises from the mountaintops of western North Carolina, topping their natural spires with its own elegant construction of wood, stone, and shingled peaks. In the resort's surroundiings, guests glide down any combination of 22 exciting ski runs, including nine greens for beginners and three black diamonds for experts. Five ski lifts chauffer snow-riders from the mountains' base back to the peaks for repeat runs or just to enjoy majestic views of the rolling stone- and forest-scapes.
Nestled in the scenic shadows of the Smoky Mountains, Bent Creek Golf Course's 18-hole layout stretches across 6,182 yards of fairways that rise and fall among rolling foothills and pristine valleys. Golf legend and course designer Gary Player made deft use of a babbling mountain stream by running it through the course and seamlessly uniting two distinct nines: a front nine that sprawls across the valley floor and a back nine that roams the hilly mountainside like a forlorn sasquatch. The overall effect is a course that does justice to both the sheer scope of the rising peaks with bottom-up views and the panoramic splendor of Great Smoky Mountains National Park when seen from the cresting hilltops of the back-nine. The inventive layout is perhaps best characterized by the 11th hole, a 362-yard par 4 where a 90-degree dogleg-left plays into a green completely surrounded by the creek's rippling waters. A blend of bent and bermuda grasses grows resiliently for golfers striving to play all year-round, and fragrant wildflowers blossom at every tee to warm the hearts of world-weary nine-irons.
Bent Creek bolsters the pin-hunting prowess of its golfers with a staff of PGA-certified instructors that conducts lessons and presides over the domain of their full-service pro shop. A practice putting green helps players trim their score by reading dicey slopes, and the Creek Side Grill hosts postround revelry and community gatherings to decry the historical hardships of the mashie niblick.
From the outside, Professor Wonder?s WonderWorks Pigeon Forge laboratory appears to have flipped completely on its head. When visitors enter the upside-down edifice, they must first pass through the psychedelic spinning lights of the Inversion Tunnel, which turns the building right-side-up so that families can embark on a day of entertaining educational activities.
More than 100 interactive exhibits spark excitement around natural phenomena. The facility houses a replica of an astronaut's space suit that visitors can climb inside, a gallery of mind-bending illusions, and a caf? where human beings transform food into energy through the process of digestion. There's even a display that allows guests to experience the aftershocks of the San Francisco earthquake of 1989, as well as one where they can lie down on a bed of 3,500 sharp nails without receiving so much as a scratch. Additional activities include the Indoor Ropes Challenge Course, which exercises bodies and minds as challengers navigate four stories of swinging beams and suspension bridges, and the The Wonders of Magic, a variety show starring illusionist and Merlin Award winner Terry Evanswood.