Things to do around town
Take a trip to Cherokee, North Carolina and enjoy all that the Smokies have to offer. Cherokee offers beautiful drives, hikes, horseback riding, amusement parks, casino and museums. Both the Great Smoky Mountains National Park and Blue Ridge Parkway have entrances in Cherokee. Nearby you can take a scenic train ride, visit the tallest dam in the Eastern US or raft the popular Nantahala River.
Cherokee is the perfect great home base for your Smoky Mountain vacation. It’s only one hour through the National Park to Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge, or one hour East to Asheville and the Biltmore House and Garden. Here are a few of the many fun things to see and do while you stay in Cherokee
Cherokee Bear Zoo & Exotic Animals
1204 Tsalagi Rd. (US 19N), Cherokee, NC 28719
In addition to the Smoky Mountains Black Bear, you will observe many different exotic animals like tigers and monkeys. We also have grizzlies, and during certain times of the year, baby wild animals. At the Petting Zoo children actually hand feed some of our animals like the baby goats. Mini Golf, Gift Shop and Ice Cream Shop. Open daily March 1 – December 31. Open weekends in January-February (weather permitting). $5 per person. Tour packages available.
Cherokee Fun Park
Tsali Blvd. (US 441N), Cherokee, NC
The Cherokee Fun Park in scenic Cherokee North Carolina offers excitement enough for an entire day of action packed family fun. Whether you're in the mood for blazing around the corners of one of our state-of-the-art go-cart tracks, splashing and bumping friends in our gigantic playboat pool, or picking a slower pace by playing through one of our newly renovated miniature golf courses, the Cherokee Fun Park has a great day awaiting your arrival!
264 Casino Trail, Cherokee, NC 28719
828-497-5797 or 865-388-4324
Want to try something out of this world? Fly with Cherokee Helicopters and see the beauty of this wonderful area from above. Every flight takes off over Thomas Peak where you will enjoy views of mountains in all directions. Flights start as low as $15.00 per person with eight different flights including a trip to the top of Clingmans Dome the second highest peak in the eastern US. Call 828-497-5797 for reservations or just stop by.
Great Smoky Mountains Railroad
Depots in Bryson City & Dillsboro
800-872-4681 or 282-586-8811
Climb aboard for rail adventure. You’ll travel along cool rushing rivers, lush green valleys, rolling farmlands, around a man-made lake and through historic tunnels and bridges. Gourmet dining and mystery theatre dinner trains, train and raft combos, Thomas The Tank Engine, The Little Engine That Could, and The Polar Express.
Museum of the Cherokee Indian
Drama Road at Tsali Blvd (US 441N), Cherokee, NC
Open since 1948, the museum tells the story of the Cherokee people using high-tech wizardry along with an extensive artifact collection. The museum is fun for the entire family and an exciting, educational event. Open daily at 9 am except closed on Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s Day. Admission prices for adults and children, with children under 6 free. Group rates are available, as well as discounts for AARP or AAA members.
Nantahala River Gorge
Whitewater Rafting and Kayaking
S. Highway 19/74,West of Bryson City, NC
One of the most popular whitewater rafting and kayaking venues in the nation. With Class II and Class III rapids, the eight-mile course is popular with beginners and Olympic-class kayakers alike.
Native American Craft Shop
1847 Tsali Blvd., Cherokee, NC
Located in Cherokee, North Carolina, the home of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians, the Gallery sells limited edition giclée prints of the works of internationally known Native American artists and Western artists, as well as beautiful traditional and contemporary baskets, pottery and other works created by Cherokee and other Native American crafters. Custom framing and rustic home furnishings are also available, and so are corporate and residential art collection design services.
Oconaluftee Indian Village
Drama Road, Cherokee, NC
828-497-2111 or 828-497-2315
A live, authentic replica of an 18th Century Cherokee community. Cherokee artisans and guides demonstrate and explain the history and culture of their ancestors. Typical Cherokee homes and Council House of 1750. Open daily from 9 am – 5:30 pm, mid-May thru October. Group discounts available.
Oconaluftee Islands Park
Tsali Blvd (US 441N), Cherokee, NC
As the beautiful Oconaluftee River winds through downtown Cherokee, it creates two small islands accessible by footbridges. The Park is a lovely place to relax, take a leisurely stroll, listen to our talking trees, or enjoy a picnic lunch. There are plenty of benches, picnic tables, grills and covered shelters for your convenience.
Santa’s Land Family Theme Park and Zoo
571 Wolf Town Rd (US 19E), Cherokee, NC
One admission price covers all rides, zoo and entertainment. Over 60 things to see and do. Ride the Rudicoaster, Santa’s favorite ride. Paddle the lake and feed Santa’s fish, ducks and monkeys. Enjoy the Magic Show in the Jingle Bell Theatre. Watch the baby bears being fed. Bring your picnic. Visit with Santa and his elves. There’s something for everyone.
Smoky Mountain Gold & Ruby Mine
US 441 N – Downtown, Cherokee, NC
Pan for gold and precious gems including rubies, amethysts, emeralds, sapphires, garnets and topaz. All equipment is furnished, and we have free gemstone identification. Expert gem cutting and mountain are available. Have your precious stone set in a ring or pendant. Fun for the entire family. We even have special buckets for the kids. Mine with us, you could strike it rich.
Smoky Mountain Tubing
87 Big Cove Rd., Cherokee, NC 28719
828-497-4545 or 828-497-6790
Open Memorial Day to Labor Day. Seven days a week 10 am-6 pm. By the swinging bridge at Chief Saunooke Mini-Mall. Kid friendly! Fun for the entire family. Enjoy a refreshing ride down the gently flowing waters of the Oconaluftee River.
Unto These Hills Outdoor Drama
Mountainside Theater, Cherokee, NC
Ticket Office: Tsali Blvd (US 441N)
Live outdoor re-enactment of the story behind the Cherokee “Trail of Tears”. Witness Cherokee at this spectacular production — from the arrival of DeSoto around 1500 the story builds to a poignant climax with the cruel removal of all but a remnant of the Cherokee in 1838. Nightly, except Sundays, mid-June thru mid-August. Free parking. General admission and reserved seating.