Pigeon Forge, Tennessee is a favorite vacation destination for families. This not-so-small town is the perfect place for all ages. There are so many things to do with kids in Pigeon Forge. Popular attractions include enjoying nature in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, visiting Dollywood and Dollywood Splash Country, and, of course, their famous dinner shows! With so many family-friendly activities in the Pigeon Forge area, these are great attractions the whole family will love.
My family was invited to visit Pigeon Forge, Tennessee by the Pigeon Forge Department of Tourism. While they paid for our stay and the cost of our activities, all opinions are 100% my own.
What to Do in Pigeon Forge with Kids
Pigeon Forge is bustling with so many fun family activities that it will be difficult to plan just one weekend to do them all. This family-friendly guide to Pigeon Forge, Tennessee will cover where to stay, what to do, and why this unique location is worthy of a family vacation.
The best part about this list is how easy it is to tailor it to your family’s needs. Younger children may need more time for free play, while big kids will want structured activities that challenge their minds and bodies. Also included are fun things that take place indoors and outdoors.
A great way to ruin your family fun is to fail to prepare for the different types of weather experiences in East Tennessee. With that in mind, here are some things to do in Pigeon Forge with kids that entire family will love.
MagiQuest is an interactive, indoor game that combines the best of technology and “quests” revolving around wizards, knights, dragons, and medevil folklore. Pigeon Forge’s MagiQuest building consists of a mirror maze, glow-in-the-dark mini golf, and a “laser” maze.
Purchasing a ticket gets you into all four areas, but many spend the majority of the time playing MagiQuest. In short, it’s like Harry Potter meets cosplay meets video games.
Guests are given a magic wand to use to complete interactive missions and earn items to allow them to battle certain characters as they progress through the game. It can take some time to complete the missions, so don’t worry if not all are completed. Guest progress is saved each time you visit (by connecting to your email address), so next time you can pick back up right where you left off!
Pigeon Forge Snow
An indoor attraction that operates all year long, Pigeon Forge Snow is a great option for kids of all ages. Little kids can enjoy the snow play area, while older children can race down the hills as fast as their snow tubes can carry them! It is a unique experience because they make their own snow in a temperature-controlled environment. Pigeon Forge Snow is consistently one of the top things to do in Pigeon Forge year after year.
Dollywood and Dollywood’s Splash Country
Next on our “must do” list are Dollywood and Dollywood’s Splash Country. Dollywood is Dolly Parton’s awesome theme park and Splash Country is the sister water park. Both parks have family-friendly attractions for young children, big kids, and adults alike.
A family favorite activity at Dollywood is spending time in the play areas of Wildwood Grove. This new addition to the park has an indoor play place, several outdoor rides that are slower-paced, and one big thrilling roller coaster.
Dollywood’s Splash Country has several great attractions, including family water slides, thrilling water slides, a lazy river, and a wave pool. There is also an outdoor pool near the back of the park that does not have waves, and it is a great attraction for families with young children who aren’t quite ready to swim on their own just yet.
Outdoor Roller Coasters
Over the last few years, mountain coasters have taken East Tennessee by storm. Visitors can choose from several iterations of these throughout Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg. Two of the top coasters in Pigeon Forge are the Smoky Mountain Alpine Coaster and the Rocky Top Mountain Coaster.
Last, but certainly not least, visitors must make time for “The Track.” Located on Pigeon Forge Parkway, it’s right next to MagiQuest. Go-Karts, mini-golf, bumper cars, and an arcade are just some of the fun families will find when they visit.
“Kiddie Country” is a perfect area for young kids that features smaller rides and a small go-kart track that kids can drive on themselves (provided they’re tall enough). t!
Do not make the mistake of running out of time to visit Wonderworks. The odd-looking building houses a world of wonder and entertainment. Visitors will have no trouble spending all day exploring their multiple interactive exhibits.
Wonderworks was a pleasant surprise of interactive exhibits and pure fun. In addition to the science aspects, guests can tackle a ropes course or challenge each other to a game of laser tag. Certain activities are an extra fee in addition to the entrance fee, so prepare for that possibility before your visit.
The Island is a relatively new part of Pigeon Forge that houses hotels, shopping, dining, and entertainment. It is a great place to experience live music and some of the best Pigeon Forge attractions in the area. One of the free things to do is enjoy the music and light display at The Island Show Fountain. Pull up a rocking chair and enjoy choreographed water and light presentations timed to 14 different pieces of music.
Kids and adults alike will enjoy the arcade games at Arcade City and riding the Ferris wheel called “The Great Smoky Mountain Wheel.” Don’t miss enjoying some of the best restaurants in town like Margaritaville, Timberwood Grill, and Paula Deen’s Family Kitchen. Finish the day with a scoop, or two, of ice cream at The Island Creamery!
Hollywood Wax Museum
A little bit of Hollywood comes to East Tennessee in the form of the Hollywood Wax Museum. This interactive museum allows visitors to walk the red carpet and take photos with celebrity figures made entirely of wax.
Props are provided to make the photos even more fun! Some of the celebrity figures include icons of the past such as Lucille Ball and Marilyn Monroe or present-day figures like Sandra Bullock and Johnny Depp. One of these days we will visit the iconic museum!
Another museum that is still on our list to visit is the Titanic Museum. Located near WonderWorks and the Hatfield and McCoy Dinner Show buildings, it’s hard to miss the giant replica of the famous ship sitting right off the parkway.
Visitors are given a realistic look at what it would have been like to be a passenger on the RMS Titanic back in its heyday. Complete with a replica of the famous grand staircase, this museum is part educational tour and part interactive exhibit.
Get outdoors and explore the Appalachian Trail throughout different parts of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. A family favorite experience is exploring the Cades Cove area.
So much wildlife can be seen in that part of the national park that it’s worth the short drive from Pigeon Forge to experience it. There are also educational talks at the visitor’s centers in the park as well as so much scenic beauty to see on the natural trails. What better way to see the Smoky Mountains than being immersed in them?
At some point on your vacation, you have to eat. Pigeon Forge has no shortage of dining options to choose from. Several dinner theaters on the parkway offer a show in addition to their dining. Which one should you choose?
Dolly Parton’s Dinner Theaters
Possibly the most recognizable of all the dinner theaters is Dolly Parton’s Stampede. Enjoy a four-course feast while watching a show with music, comedy, live animals, and pyrotechnics.
Right next door to the Stampede is Pirate’s Voyage Dinner Show. Pirates, mermaids, incredible stunts, and fun surprises make this show worth attending.
McCoy Dinner Feud
Another notable dinner show is the Hatfield and McCoy Dinner Feud. Taking its cues from the age-old dispute between the Hatfield and McCoy families, the show involves the families trying to settle their differences “mountain-style.” I have it on good authority that this dinner is one of the best, especially their fried chicken.
The Comedy Barn
If you’re looking for a comedy show that is family-friendly, The Comedy Barn is the place for you. Over two hours of jokes and hilarious antics, other acts include magicians, jugglers, a ventriloquist, and live animals!
Other Good Eats in Pigeon Forge
Finally, good eats come in more than just a dinner show format. Believe it or not, it is easy to get great seafood in the Smoky Mountains. Harpoon Harry’s, right across the parkway from MagiQuest, is a unique restaurant that serves seafood, burgers, and sushi.
Another great dining option is Calhoun’s, which is a Tennessee staple in the world of barbecue.
Lastly, brunch is easily found at many of the pancake houses throughout this area of the United States. Other local favorites include Frizzle Chicken Farmhouse Cafe, The Old Mill Restaurant, and Red Rooster Pancake House.