Hopping Off the Parkway for Alternate Family Adventures in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee: Outdoor Gravity Park, a New Kind of Thrill
True Story: I was sitting in at my kids 4-H meeting at their school when a blue plastic hamster ball rolled into the room, the little gerbil inside running his little legs off. We all laughed. It was so cute! So when we hopped off the Parkway and drove down the winding drive of Sugar Hollow Road to the new Pigeon Forge attraction, the Outdoor Gravity Park and spotted the big plastic balls rolling down the hill, the first thing I thought of was that adorable gerbil-powered ball rolling into the 4-H meeting. And I had to laugh.
The Outdoor Gravity Park opened its’ 3 hillside tracks this past April (2015), sending visitors rolling down the green grassy hillside slopes in 11 foot plastic spheres ever since. Now the first thing I thought about was being bounced head over heels in a bubble ( the kids were actually delighted at that prospect!), but (luckily for me) the unique sphere-inside-a-sphere design and the addition of 20 gallons of water keeps you down and sliding inside the ball, not rolling and tumbling (kind of an inner gravity inside gravity situation). The whole rolling people inside huge balls down mountainsides idea began in New Zealand, (that cool place on the other side of the planet that gave us that incredible scenery in The Hobbit & Lord of the Rings movies.) The movies were fantastic, and so are the innovative OGO plastic balls in balls.
Okay, jokes aside (and there will be quite a few of them, as this is a fun-lovin’ type of adventure- how can you not laugh swishing and sliding around in a ball inside a ball?), a 1000 foot hill awaits and riders can choose up to two other nearest and dearest to share their adventure inside the sphere, or ride solo (prices are the same).
Then comes the track options: Straightaway, Zipper or Zig Zag. Zig Zag was the coolest, taking the sphere onto the side track like a ball in a pinball game- and we happen to all love those old fashioned pinball games! The OGO coasts to a stop at the bottom where you and your accompanying water are deposited onto the green field. It kind of looks like being burped out of a bubbly alien. Very cool!
In addition to the OGO downhill experience, the Outdoor Gravity Park also offers what they call “The Fishpipe” which, essentially, is like running in a hamster wheel- but in a plastic bubble! You can see it at the front of their building. I think I know what pets these guys had in their youth! So why let the gerbils and hamsters of this world have all the fun? Try the OGO experience for yourself!
Things to Know Before You Go
1. The Outdoor Gravity Park is located at 203 Sugar Hollow Road in Pigeon Forge. (Hop off Pigeon Forge Parkway at traffic light #1).
2. Parking is free.
3. Bring swimsuits and towels. This is a wet adventure!
4. Restrooms & changing rooms are located on site.
5. Beverages and & Outdoor Gravity Park t-shirts (videos too) are on sale in the check-in area. (They have the coolest hand chairs in their lounge if you wait there, but watching everyone else ride is too hard to resist.)
6. You must sign a waiver for you and any minors in your group in order to participate in this activity.
7. You must be at least 6 years old to ride in the OGO.
8. Hours are 10am to 6pm Sunday through Thursday, but the last rider sign up was at 5:15pm. Friday & Saturday they are open until 7pm. Get there before 6:15pm!
9. Prices are $19.95 per person for a roll. See their website here for details. They also offer coupons on their website. And it’s just an all out fun website to browse, much like their downhill adventure!