A few years ago, we took the kids on a road trip to the Smoky Mountains during Fall Break. We usually like to take those few days each October to get away and enjoy some beautiful fall foliage. Pigeon Forge is the perfect place to do just that, especially if you’re traveling with kids. There is truly no shortage of things to do to keep the whole family entertained. To help you start planning your vacation, here are some of the best things to do in Pigeon Forge with kids.
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15 Things to Do in Pigeon Forge with Kids
When the sun sets behind the majestic Smoky Mountains and the stars twinkle over Pigeon Forge, you know you’ve found a special place for family fun. Nestled in the heart of Tennessee, this charming city offers an array of activities to keep both young and old entertained. Here’s your guide to making memories in Pigeon Forge with your little adventurers. This article features a list of fifteen fun things to do in Pigeon Forge with kids organized by outdoor escapades, indoor adventures, educational explorations, evening excitement, and nighttime wonders.
Fun Outdoor Things to Do in Pigeon Forge with Kids
With the stunning backdrop of the Smokies Mountains, Pigeon Forge is the perfect place to enjoy the great outdoors as a family. Here are a few fun outdoor things to do in Pigeon Forge with kids on your Smoky Mountain getaway.
Soar through the Treetops at Smoky Mountain Ziplines
Kick off your family adventure with a heart-pounding canopy zip tour. Glide from tree to tree at speeds reaching 25 mph, gaining a fresh perspective on the stunning Smokies. With seven thrilling lines and 4,200 feet of cable, it’s no wonder this tops the list as the area’s premier outdoor activity..
Hike to Laurel Falls
For families seeking an immersive nature experience, lace up your hiking boots and venture to Laurel Falls. This family-friendly trail covers a mere 2.5 miles round trip, making it accessible to all ages. Morning hikes provide picture-perfect lighting. Start your morning with a hearty breakfast at Sawyer’s Farmhouse and then head out. Keep an eye out for local wildlife, as bears are a common sight in the Smokies. When in the mountains, it’s always a good idea to brush up on bear safety.
Cycle Through Cades Cove
Explore the scenic wonders of Cades Cove on two wheels. Rent bicycles and follow the Scenic Loop Road, where you’ll encounter historic landmarks amidst the Great Smoky Mountain National Park. Choose to complete the full 11-mile loop or opt for shorter rides with picturesque turn-offs.
Indoor Fun for the Whole Family
While Pigeon Forge is an outdoor playground, there are also plenty of fun things to do with kids indoors. Here are a few fun places to hop inside when you need to warm up in the winter or beat the heat in the summer.
Ignite your family’s imagination at WonderWorks, a marvelously unique attraction where more than 100 hands-on exhibits and four floors of interactive wonder zones await. Dive into scientific phenomena, engage in weather simulations, and uncover the mysteries of light and sound. For the daring, tackle the world’s largest indoor ropes course, a four-story glow-in-the-dark challenge that will test your strength and courage. Don’t miss the 4D theater, laser tag, and a mesmerizing magic show.
Titanic Pigeon Forge
Step back in time and embark on an educational journey aboard the Titanic exhibit. As you stroll through the meticulously recreated decks, cabins, and parlors, you’ll encounter original artifacts and experience the ship’s sinking with sloping floors. Each visitor receives a boarding pass representing an actual passenger or crew member, culminating in a moving moment at the memorial wall where you can learn about their stories and fates.
Alcatraz East Crime Museum
For fans of crime-solving dramas like Law and Order or CSI, the Alcatraz East Crime Museum is a captivating experience. Delve into America’s most iconic criminal cases and discover how they were solved. The museum showcases the history of crime in America, from consequences and investigations to crime-fighting and pop culture. Authentic evidence and artifacts related to infamous criminals like O.J. Simpson and Ted Bundy add an intriguing dimension to the exhibits.
Kid-Friendly Educational Activities in Pigeon Forge
Pigeon Forge offers more than just thrilling attractions; it’s a destination that mixes education with entertainment. Here are a few things to do in Pigeon Forge with kids that promise both insight and excitement.
The Old Mill
Take a step back in time at The Old Mill, a historic site that provides a window into traditional Southern craftsmanship. As you explore the fully operational grist mill, you’ll witness the art of grinding grains using water-powered equipment. The mill has been in operation since the early 1800s, and guided tours offer fascinating insights into the history of milling and the importance of the mill to the local community. This educational experience is a blend of history, engineering, and culinary heritage that’s both enlightening and enriching for the whole family.
The Salt and Pepper Shaker Museum
It’s a pinch of history and a dash of artistry. Discover a quirky yet fascinating destination in Pigeon Forge—the Salt and Pepper Shaker Museum. Delve into the history, art, and cultural significance of these humble kitchen staples. With thousands of salt and pepper shakers on display, each with its own story, this museum offers a unique perspective on art, design, and culinary history. It’s a delightful blend of education and whimsy that’s sure to pique the curiosity of young minds.
Pigeon Forge Snow
Pigeon Forge Snow is a unique indoor snow facility where kids can experience the magic of snowfall no matter what time of year you are visiting. Here, they can learn about the science of snowmaking and snow maintenance while engaging in exciting activities like tubing and snowball fights. The facility maintains a comfortable temperature of 60-70 degrees, so you don’t even need to worry about a coat. This indoor park is a great opportunity to blend fun with meteorological education, teaching youngsters about the art and science of creating winter wonderlands.
Family Friendly Dinner Theaters in Pigeon Forge
Dolly Parton’s Stampede
Kick off the evening with a visit to Dolly Parton’s Stampede, a show that epitomizes Southern entertainment at its best. This high-spirited dinner show is a top-rated attraction in the area and promises an evening filled with excitement, laughter, and a hint of friendly competition. The arena is divided into “North” and “South,” and as you enjoy a delicious four-course feast, you’ll watch skilled riders perform stunts on horseback.
Pirates Voyage Dinner & Show
Ahoy, mateys! Prepare to be transported to the high seas with the Pirates Voyage Dinner & Show. Join Captain Blackbeard and his crew for a thrilling pirate adventure filled with acrobatics, special effects, and even a full-scale pirate ship battle in an indoor lagoon. As you feast on a hearty meal fit for a pirate, your family will be immersed in a world of swashbuckling excitement. Kids will be wide-eyed with wonder as they cheer for their favorite crew and become part of the action.
Hatfield and McCoy Dinner Show
Step back in time to the legendary Hatfield and McCoy feud, but this time with a full belly. The Hatfield and McCoy Dinner Show offers an unforgettable evening of laughter, rivalry, and a hearty feast. As you enjoy a mouthwatering appetizer of soup and bread, witness the hillbillies spar in true mountain style. Unlimited fried chicken, pulled pork, and a selection of Southern-style sides will keep your family fueled for the festivities. It’s not just a delicious meal; it’s a chance to learn about a unique piece of Appalachian history while being thoroughly entertained.
Things to Do with Kids in Pigeon Forge After Dark
Nighttime Mini Golf
Extend your day of outdoor fun by indulging in a game of nighttime mini golf. Several mini golf courses in Pigeon Forge offer the unique experience of playing under the stars. Glow-in-the-dark golf balls, neon obstacles, and blacklight effects create an otherworldly atmosphere that adds a touch of magic to your evening.
The Great Smoky Mountain Wheel
As the sun sets, the Great Smoky Mountain Ferris wheel transforms into a mesmerizing spectacle. Your children will be captivated by the magical atmosphere as they take in the city’s twinkling lights from above. During the day, you’ll be treated to panoramic vistas of the magnificent Smoky Mountains, completing the wheel’s dual allure. It’s a family adventure that combines wonder and excitement, creating lasting memories for all.
If you visit Pigeon Forge during the winter months, you can’t miss Winterfest. This annual event lasts three months and transforms the city into a winter wonderland. It’s one of the largest free outdoor festivals in the country and features upwards of six million lights. Hop in the car to take the Winterfest Driving Tour or bundle up and meander through the dazzling displays on the walking tour. It’s a magical way to experience the holiday spirit, especially with your little ones.
FAQ About Things to Do in Pigeon Forge with Kids
Are there any outdoor adventures suitable for kids in Pigeon Forge?
Yes, Pigeon Forge offers plenty of outdoor fun for kids, including horseback riding, ziplining, and exploring the Great Smoky Mountains National Park with family-friendly trails.
What are some indoor attractions in Pigeon Forge that are kid-friendly?
Yes, Pigeon Forge offers plenty of outdoor fun for kids, including horseback riding, ziplining, and exploring the Great Smoky Mountains National Park with family-friendly trails. The arcade and indoor go karts are also popular choice to keep kids entertained, rain or shine.
Are there any free or budget-friendly things to do in Pigeon Forge with kids?
Enjoy free activities like exploring The Island in Pigeon Forge with its dancing fountains and shops, hiking along one of the many trails, or feeding the ducks at Old Mill Square. You can also consider the walking path at Patriot Park that is lined with the flags of all fifty states as well as various memorials that honor our veterans.
What are some educational and interactive experiences for children in Pigeon Forge?
Kids can enjoy educational experiences at Ripley’s Aquarium, the Alcatraz East Crime Museum, the Rainforest Adventures Discovery Zoo and more. These attractions offer interactive exhibits and opportunities to learn while having fun.
What are some of the best family-friendly shows or entertainment options in Pigeon Forge?
Pigeon Forge is known for its family-friendly shows like Dolly Parton’s Stampede, Pirates Voyage, and Hatfield & McCoy Dinner Feud. You can also catch exciting magic shows and musical performances in the area.
Where can we find information about special events or festivals suitable for kids in Pigeon Forge?
You can check the official Pigeon Forge website or local event calendars for information on special events, such as the Winterfest Kickoff or seasonal festivals with kid-friendly activities.
Are there any water parks or swimming areas for families in or near Pigeon Forge?
Yes, you can visit Dollywood’s Splash Country, a popular water park in the area, or take a dip in the Little Pigeon River. One of the most popular spots to take a dip is in the Middle Prong in Greenbriar. Another popular spot is near the intersection of Laurel Creek Road and Little River Road where the West Prong meets up with the Middle. You can also book a rafting or tubing trip.
How can we plan a memorable family vacation in Pigeon Forge with kids, including accommodations and transportation options?
To plan your trip, start by booking family-friendly accommodation at one of the many hotels, cabins, or resorts in Pigeon Forge. For transportation, you can drive to Pigeon Forge or consider flying to nearby airports and renting a car for convenience during your stay. Be sure to plan activities in advance and check for any discounts or package deals to make the most of your family vacation.
Jenna Walker is a travel writer from Oklahoma who lives with her husband, two children, and three rescue pets. While out and about in the world, she loves spending time outdoors, exploring local culture, and trying new foods. Jenna knows that, often, we overlook our own backyard. You can also find her stories and guides on the website, The Oklahoma Experience.