13 Things to do in Pigeon Forge with Kids

by Jenna Lee
Visiting Smoky Mountains, Pigeon Forge with kids

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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.

This post is part of a paid partnership with the Pigeon Forge Tourism Department. As always, all opinions are my own. For more information on Pigeon Forge, you may visit their official website.

The Island is one of the best things to do with kids in Pigeon Forge, TN. The Ferris wheel is beautiful at night!
The Island during winter.

Top Places to Have Fun in Pigeon Forge with Kids

One of the best things about visiting Pigeon Forge with kids is that you’ll never run out of things to do. This little city on the edge of the Smokies offers plenty of ways to play.

The Island

Did you know there’s an island in Pigeon Forge? Ok, maybe not exactly the type of island you’re used to visiting. Nonetheless, it’s totally worth the trip if you’re visiting Sevier County. The Island in Pigeon Forge is an oasis of family-friendly fun smack dab in the middle of town. You can shop for souvenirs, play in the arcade, sample moonshine, and plenty more.

It’s open all day, but my favorite time to visit is after the sun sets. There’s just something magical about a Ferris wheel with all the bright lights.

The Track

If you’re visiting Pigeon Forge with kids, The Track definitely belongs on your list of things to do. Grab lunch and head to their location near The Island and spend the rest of the afternoon at the fun park. 

At The Track, you and your family can race go-karts, challenge each other at mini golf, or play tag with bumper cars. If it’s hot outside, battle each other with water cannons on the blaster boats or head inside to the arcade. For thrills, there are plenty of exciting rides for both children and adults.

The Alpine Coaster

Visit the Smoky Mountain Alpine Coaster to “Ride the Hill & Feel the Thrill.” This one-mile, downhill thrill ride is the longest Alpine Coaster in the USA. You won’t have to go far to find it either. The Smoky Mountain Alpine Coaster is less than 2 miles from the Parkway in Pigeon Forge. Go fast or go slow. You’re in control! 

Dollywood Theme Park

If you’re taking the family to Pigeon Forge, be sure to pay a visit to Dollywood. Dolly Parton planted a piece of her big ‘ole heart in Pigeon Forge when she helped reopen an old theme park in 1986. That theme park, renamed Dollywood, was just the beginning of an expansive amusement destination. Sprawling over 150 acres, the property now includes a water park and the famous Dolly Parton’s Stampede Dinner Theater. It also features a beautiful resort to stay close to the fun. 

The culture and artistry of the Smokies found in Dollywood is part of what makes it such a unique destination. Find unique Appalachian arts and crafts from the tradesmen in Craftsman’s Valley, indulge in truly southern baked goods at Tennessee’s first fully operational Grist Mill, or take a ride through the mountains on an old coal-fired steam engine.

There are plenty of places to dine in Pigeon Forge but for extra fun, book a seat one of the dinner theaters.

Dining in Pigeon Forge Can be More than Just Dinner

There are plenty of places to enjoy a good meal in Pigeon Forge, but dinner theater takes the fun meter up a notch. Take the family out for a special meal full of hearty laughs. As a kid, my grandparents would take me and my cousins to dinner theaters while on vacation. To this day, those evenings are still some of the most memorable times of my childhood. Here are a few of the most popular dinner theaters in Pigeon Forge.

Hatfield and McCoy Dinner Show

Nobody wants to be part of a family feud. Unless, of course, it’s the Hatfield and McCoy feud. You won’t watch the hillbillies spar mountain style without a full belly either. Dinner is the full Monty. Your family will be served an appetizer of soup and bread followed by unlimited fried chicken, pulled pork and an array of southern country sides. Eat your heart out but save enough room for dessert!

Dolly Parton’s Stampede

The Dolly Parton Stampede, like its namesake, is high spirited, hilarious, and just a tad extravagant. By far, it is the most popular dinner show in area. The Dolly Parton Stampede offers families an evening full of fun, excitement, and even a bit of friendly competition in an arena split into “North” and “South”. Be sure to come with an empty stomach. The dinner portions may just make you a little too big for your britches, for real.

Great Smoky Mountain Murder Mystery

The Great Smoky Mountain Murder Mystery Theater is perfect for those that enjoy a little more interactive experience. Of course, you’re not required to participate but you’ll miss out on the full experience if you don’t. With various shows rotating throughout the week, you’ll get to choose which murder mystery your family wants to help solve. Whatever show you choose, it will surely have you on the edge of your seat one minute and doubled over in laughter the next. A three course meal is served to each guest with the first course beginning 30 minutes before showtime.

If you're looking for things to do with kids in Pigeon Forge with kids, getting outdoors is a no-brainer. #smokymountains

Explore the Great Outdoors with Your Kids in Pigeon Forge

In Pigeon Forge, you’re only a hop and a skip away from one of the top national parks in the country. That means, there’s plenty of outdoor activities for the whole family to enjoy. Read on for just a few ideas on how you can explore the great outdoors in Pigeon Forge.

Soar through the Treetops

If you’ve never done a canopy zip tour, now is the perfect time to add one to your travel plans. At Smoky Mountain Ziplines you can soar treetop to treetop at speeds up to 25 mph and experience the Smokies from a whole new perspective. The course features seven lines and 4,200 feet of cable making it one of the largest canopy tours in the area. With these kind of thrills, it’s obvious why Smoky Mountain Ziplines is the top rated outdoor activity in Pigeon Forge.

Hike to a Waterfall

Immersing yourself in nature is one of the best ways to experience a destination and reset your senses. If you’re looking for outdoor things to do with kids in Pigeon Forge, hike to one of the many waterfalls. One of the most popular hikes when visiting Pigeon Forge is the Laurel Falls Trail

Hiking to Laurel Falls is only 2.5 miles round trip. The relatively short distance makes it a great option for most families who want to explore. Hit the trail in the morning for picture perfect lighting. If you leave early enough, you can make it back in time for a late breakfast at Sawyer’s Farmhouse. Bears are common in the Smokies so be sure to brush up on bear safety before heading out.

Cycle to Cades Cove

Enjoy a scenic adventure on two wheels by exploring Cades Cove on bicycle. Rent a bike and follow the Scenic Loop Road to discover a number of historic establishments throughout this stunning area of the Great Smoky Mountain National Park. Complete the full 11-mile loop or utilize one of the turn offs for a shorter ride.

WonderWorks in Pigeon Forge is an interactive museum full of excitement, learning, and challenges.
Image Credit: My Pigeon Forge

Plan a Day of Fun-Filled Discovery

Do you like combining fun with a little education? If so, Pigeon Forge offers plenty of ways to discover history, science, imagination, and more. These attractions will engage minds both young and old and provide hours of fun and entertainment for the family.

WonderWorks

More than 100 hands-on exhibits keep guest’s minds and imaginations busy at this unique attraction. The building itself is built to appear as though it is upside down. Once inside WonderWorks, you can take your pick from four floors of various exhibits and activities. The interactive wonder zones will allow visitors to explore various scientific phenomena through weather simulations, light and sound exhibits, and more.

Daring visitors can see if they can make it to the top of the world’s largest indoor ropes course. It’s four stories, glow-in-the-dark, and features over 50 obstacles to challenge your strength and test your courage. Other indoor attractions include a 4D theater, laser tag, and a magic show you won’t want to miss.

Titanic Pigeon Forge

Step into history when you board the Titanic exhibit in Pigeon Forge. You’ll receive a boarding pass as you enter the ship but it won’t be for you per se. It will represent one of the actual passengers or crew members of the original Titanic. As you pass through the decks, cabins, and parlors take time to observe original artifacts. The exhibit even features sloping floors to help you experience what it may have been like to travel aboard the sinking ship in 1912. 

At the end of your tour, you will have the chance to match the name on your boarding pass to a memorial wall. Here, you can learn a bit about that individual’s story and fate. If you’re looking for things to do in Pigeon Forge with kids that will introduce them to important historical events, the Titanic is both engaging and educational.

Alcatraz East Crime Museum

Do you like to binge watch shows like Law and Order or CSI? If so, the Alcatraz Crime Museum is right up your alley. Take a look deeper look into some of America’s most iconic criminal cases and discover how some of the complex cases were solved. The various exhibits shed light on the history of crime in America, consequences, investigation, crime fighting and pop culture. You’ll even get to see authentic pieces of evidence and artifacts associated with some of the most high profile American criminals like OJ Simpson and Ted Bundy.

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