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Tweetsie Railroad and Gravity Adventures – Blowing Rock Family Fun

fun things to do in Blowing Rock NC

When you and your visiting grandkids are looking for things to do in Blowing Rock, for a little fun and entertainment no matter your age, Tweetsie Railroad should be top on your list! Located at 300 Tweetsie Railroad Lane on Highway 321 between Boone and Blowing Rock, this family-oriented park has a long and cherished history in the mountain towns of North Carolina, stretching all the way back to 1957.  No wonder for decades Tweetsie Railroad had been a popular destination for those with mountain view cottages.  Who doesn’t love an old-fashioned theme park?

Tweetsie Railroad operates two historic steam locomotives, the No. 12 Tweetsie and the No. 190 Yukon Queen; both were brought back into top working condition by skilled engineer, Frank Coffey. Locomotive No. 12 was built in 1917 and is famous for being the last surviving narrow-gauge steam locomotive of the East Tennessee and Western North Carolina Railroad. From 1919-1940, Tweetsie operated from Johnson City, Tennessee to Boone, North Carolina.  The Tweetsie Railroad theme park opened with the Tweetsie as its sole locomotive ride in 1957.  The Yukon Queen was built in 1943 and came to the park in 1960 from Alaska’s White Pass & Yukon Railway.  It’s amazing to think you can still enjoy a wild west train ride on the No. 12 or 190–a three-mile adventure through the mountain towns of North Carolina!

And there’s so much more to do at Tweetsie! Experience the scenic aerial view of the park  on the chair lift to Miner’s Mountain for a nostalgic day of face painting, gold panning, gem mining, and amusement rides– a carousel, a Ferris wheel, free fall, tilt-a-whirl, twister, a mouse mine train, as well as boats and planes to “pilot.”  Arcade and country fair games await alongside a playground for those energetic little ones who need a day out from their mountain view cottages.

For the animal lovers in your life, who travel from the mountain towns of North Carolina, the Deer Park Zoo is sure to please with nearly a hundred different creatures.  Bring your camera for some amazing animal photo opportunities–African pygmy goats; European fallow deer; Nubian goats; emus; llamas, burros, miniature horses, micro mini donkeys; Olde English babydoll Southdown sheeps; and yellow bellied and red eared slider turtles.  Capture your grandchildren as they fall in love with these sweet creatures.

With all this activity, your family’s appetite will be at an all-time high.  Thank goodness Tweetsie has so many delectable eateries—Miner’s Diner has pizza, hot dogs, nachos, soft pretzels, popcorn, snacks and soft drinks—a paradise for all the kids in your life; Mountain Ice Cream offers sweets for your sweets—shaved snowballs, milkshakes, cotton candy and soft drinks and Dippin’ Dots—the ice cream of the future!  Other mouth-watering options–Cowboy Cantina;  the Funnel Factory; Fudge Works; Feed & Seed for indoor and outdoor dining; Tweetsie Palace; Sparky’s Southwestern & Barbecue for real NC barbecue and Tex Mex; and Arcades Refreshment Wagon. Make sure you arrive hungry!

For those in your family who enjoy a little retail therapy, there are plenty of shopping options at Tweetsie. Miner’s Mountain is where you can stop in at the quaint company store and gem mine store for souvenirs, rocks, toys, plush animals, apparel film, jewelry, and gem-panning kits; Tweetsie Junction boasts the Junction Store for etched glass and custom signs; Jamie Leigh’s Photo Parlor is the place to dress up in vintage clothing for that unique keepsake photo; the Sign and Glass Shop can create a custom sign to suit your taste; Western Mercantile will fulfill all your apparel needs, and be sure to visit Happy Trails Toy Shop and the General Store for all your needs and indulgences.

Here’s a few upcoming events:

• August 27th-October 28th, open Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays as well as Labor Day Monday, September 4th, 9am-6pm• September 21-22, 28-29, October 5-6, 12-13, 19-20,  26-27, open for Ghost Train, 7:30-11:30 pm—advance tickets required—“It’s safe, scary fun for the whole family! Kids will enjoy the Halloween shows and trick-or-treating. And take a chilling journey into the night on the Ghost Train—if you dare!”

Don’t forget to check Tweetsie’s calendar for a list of seasonal shows.

When you’re entertaining friends and family, there’s nothing better than being the perfect tour guide.  From Tweetsie Railroad you can zip right on over to Gravity Adventures at 215 Tweetsie Railroad Lane, Blowing Rock, NC.  The two parks even share a parking lot.  There could be no better neighbors when you’re looking for things to do in Blowing Rock.  High Gravity Adventures has been providing thrills in the outdoors to folks who in the mountain towns of North Carolina since 1992.

The NYT listed Gravity Adventures as one of “20 Family-Friendly Travel Ideas to Get You Going.”  The team of instructors are professional and place safety above all else.This fall Gravity Adventures is open weekends and reservations are recommended.  Observation deck and green spaces are perfect for photo opportunities.  Go Pros are permitted off the ground.  Be sure to wear comfortable and active wear clothing—pants or longer shorts, as well as closed-toe shoes.  Drinks and snacks are available for purchase or you can bring in your own picnic meal.  For your friends and family who want to remain on the ground, they can watch for free from the observation deck.  Children four and up can explore the course solo as long as an adult is at the park.  Children 7-10 need an adult to journey into more demanding courses, and children 11 and up can explore these courses on their own.

Adventure Options:

• Zip Line Tour—A tour through the tree tops with multiple zip lines, a sky bridge over a lush valley, and a 70 foot free fall for those who dare!  This is a two-hour adventure where you can sit back and enjoy the experience and let the guides do the work.

• Aerial Adventure Park—This Blue Ridge Course has over 75 aerial elements with various levels of difficulty.

• Giant Swing—the “icing on the cake” with a 45-foot high swing to make you feel like a kid again!

• The Ultimate Adventure—can last up to six hours beginning with a 2-hour zip line tour, and a 70-foot free-fall, followed by 3 hours of exploration of 75-plus aerial elements; end with the giant swing!

Don’t forget to subscribe for local deals via text message when you’re looking for things to do in Blowing Rock.  You’ll be the among the first to find out about great offers and discounts.

When your part of the community who enjoys the good life at The Coves Mountain River Club, waking up every morning in your mountain view cottages, or the larger cabins you had built to accommodate your children and grandchildren, you need no reminders of the beauty and simplicity of your life.  Just step outside your door and the incredible landscape will surround you.   Sip your coffee while you gaze at the Blue Ridge Mountains, and then take a short drive and you’ll find yourself with amazing adventures to choose from—whether it’s a nostalgic old-fashioned day at Tweetsie Railroad, or an exhilarating day at Gravity Adventures.  The Coves makes this all possible.

If you’re exploring the area for the first time, ask for our 70 page complimentary Western North Carolina Visitor’s Guide which provides more information about living in the foothills.

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Exploring the area for the first time?

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The Coves Mountain River Club magazine