Let’s go to Goats on the Roof, in Tennessee
“ It's the goat-feeding-est, gem-mining-est, fudge-eating-est, ice-cream-licking-est, cool-gift-shopping-est attraction in Pigeon Forge!” said the website of the place. Located in the Smoky Mountains, on Wears Valley Road, they promised live goats roaming around on the rooftop.
So we pulled on our trainers and headed out to Goats on the Roof. One can get a can of goat chow, hop onto their special "goat-cycle," which quirkily transports your can of goat feed up to the roof. It’s a bicycle-powered conveyor bike which when you begin pedaling it will deliver a meal to the roof-top goats. And then the hungry rooftop residents chowed down on their favorite snack. One has to buy the feed for 50 cents a scoop.
But the kids were able to enjoy the animals on the ground too, feeding them directly through the netting. For a closer view, one can also head up to the second level of the gift shop, where out the windows,the bearded goats can be seen. There's no charge to come in and watch.
There were lots of other things to do at Goats On The Roof... Mine for rare gems like rubies, sapphires or emeralds at their old-time gem mine, was something the girls were looking forward to. Alaina was keen on mining for gems and reminded me of her Dad at that age, who loved shiny stones.It was 15 $ for one try and just like the old style of collecting soil in a bucket and sieving it for the precious stones, she used a scoop and keep sieving the soil and excitedly looking for a hidden gem. Annika could not bear not enjoying it herself too, so off she went to get an added bucket for 5$ and they both enjoyed sieving the sand and collecting their gems in ziplock bags. Amethysts, topaz, tourmaline, they really enjoyed stumbling on their hidden treasures.
Happily clutching their packets with the stones,we wandered into the shop to look at the millions of souvenirs on display and sale.Inside the two-level gift shop there were postcards and magnets and all the goodies one could desire to take home as souvenirs and gifts.
To make your sweet tooth happy there were hunks of homemade fudge and homemade ice cream on sale. It’s something we Indians have to sadly avoid, as most of us are diabetic and cannot look that way. However the rest of the crowd at the store were savouring their sweet treat, sitting comfortably in the shade of the front porch, in one of their authentic Amish rocking chairs. Little Aiden loved the rocking movement, while we waited for his sister and mum, to enjoy their mining experience.
There were plenty of T-shirts to choose from, and they came in a wide ranges of sizes, styles and colours, for all ages. The most popular were the exclusive Goats On The Roof T-shirts.
Lots of children's toys, old-fashioned candies, hot sauces, locally made moonshine jelly and authentic Amish-made jellies as well. They also had distinctive hillbilly-themed novelty items and other Smoky Mountain gifts.
I for one found the most wonderfully carved catapult with the head of a racoon and the bottom of the V -- it’s tail for 6 $. Such a beauty and I hoped Andrew would use it rather than the air gun, for the marauding cats of the neighbours, attacking their baby robins fledglings. Hate those over fed evil creatures.
“Why the name Goats On A Roof?” I asked one of the owners.
“The concept of having live goats on a roof dates back 40 years to the legendary Al Johnson's Swedish Restaurant in Door County, Wisconsin,” he said.
“The Johnson family began letting goats graze on the sodded roof of their Sister Bay, WI eatery to attract crowds, and boy has it worked well for them. Four decades later, the restaurant is still going strong, and the goats (and the Swedish pancakes) are as popular as ever.”
Now, with a licensing agreement with the restaurant, the Pigeon Forge attraction, is able to share the same fun and unique feature with visitors to the Great Smoky Mountains. The eye-catching nature of this attraction makes it a worthwhile stop and adds to the ever growing list of must-see places in the Smoky Mountains.
Goats on the Roof is located on Wears Valley Road in Pigeon Forge. As you head toward Gatlinburg and the National Park in Pigeon Forge, turn right off the parkway onto Wears Valley Road. The attraction is about 2.3 miles up the road on the left side.
It is definitely worth a visit! one of the most reasonable, affordable tourist traps in the area. However, there is no restaurant and food on sale.
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