Pigeon Forge, Tennessee, home to Dollywood, abundant wildlife, and plenty of exciting activities, is a must-see vacation destination. Nestled in the foothills of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, visitors can enjoy rugged outdoor adventures or vacation at a slower pace. However you choose to explore, there are a few must-do things on your visit to Pigeon Forge.
Must-do Activities in Pigeon Forge
Because of its proximity to the Great Smoky Mountains, many visitors to east Tennessee choose to enjoy an abundance of outdoor activities. There are, however, activity choices for visitors who prefer a more leisurely vacation.
Outdoor Fun in Pigeon Forge
1. Parrot Mountain & Gardens
Parrot Mountain and Gardens is four acres of landscaped gardens across the street from the Dollywood theme park. This beautiful outdoor experience and attraction features hundreds of tropical birds and thousands of flowers, plants, and trees.
It is open from March 7th through the end of December, except for Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Eve, and Christmas Day.
Dollywood is one of the best theme parks in the country. Built to show off the beauty of the mountains, it works with the hilly landscape instead of against it. Rides and attractions for all ages make Dollywood a worthwhile visit for the whole family.
3. Dollywood Splash Country
Dollywood Splash Country is the place to be during the hot summer months. Though it is open seasonally, the water park is worth the cost of admission.
This Tennessee destination is a great place to cool off. It features multiple slides, a giant wave pool, a long lazy river, and other notable attractions.
4. The Island at Pigeon Forge
The Island at Pigeon Forge contains both indoor and outdoor activities. It offers free parking as well as several restaurants and shopping choices.
Visitors can enjoy the outdoor fountains complete with nearby rocking chairs, and wander through the shops, moonshine distillery, or arcade on the property.
5. Smoky Mountain Alpine Coaster
Outdoor coasters are prevalent in Pigeon Forge, but the Smoky Mountain Alpine Coaster is the best. Visitors can race downhill at speeds of up to 27 miles per hour.
It prides itself on being the longest downhill ride in the US, with over one mile of track. The track has unique night lighting to give riders a different experience from a daytime ride.
6. Outdoor Gravity Park
This park offers multiple track options for a unique Zorbing experience every time. Zorbing is rolling downhill in a giant 11-foot inflatable ball. It was invented in New Zealand.
The minimum age requirement is five years or older. Some tracks allow up to three people to ride together in one inflatable ball.
7. The Great Smoky Mountain Wheel
Another feature of the Island at Pigeon Forge is the Great Smoky Mountain Wheel. Riders will have incredible views of Pigeon Forge and the Great Smoky Mountains.
Tickets for ages 12+ are $15 per person, and children ages 3-11 are $10 per person. Discounts are available for groups, military members, and senior citizens.
8. Rowdy Bear’s Smoky Mountain Snowpark
Rowdy Bear’s Smoky Mountain Snowpark is home to tubing, outdoor axe throwing, and a ride called Ski Lift Shootout Coaster.
The tubing hill has snow in the winter and a sliding mat for summer tubing. There is also a playground on the property for kids to burn off extra energy.
9. The Track
Several different attractions are available to enjoy at the Track Family Fun Park. Smaller children can enjoy rides perfect for their height in Kid Country. Older children will enjoy Blaster Boats, Bumper Cars, and Go-karts.
10. Pink Jeep Tours
Tour the Smoky Mountains differently by taking an open-air Pink Jeep Tour. Tours can take visitors through the Great Smoky Mountains, on the Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail, or to see Christmas lights.
Tickets are $48 per adult and $40 per child ages 2-12. A private tour of up to seven people is available for $336.
Indoor Activities in Pigeon Forge
While Pigeon Forge offers plenty of natural outdoor fun, there are times when the weather in east Tennessee does not cooperate. When the weather isn’t great, indoor activities are a great way to continue enjoying your vacation.
11. Titanic Museum
Honoring the RMS Titanic, Pigeon Forge has the world’s largest Titanic museum. Featuring more than 400 artifacts directly from the ship and its passengers, the Titanic Museum gives visitors a personal look at one of history’s most famous sailing tragedies.
12. Ole Smoky Tennessee Moonshine Tasting
No visit to Tennessee is complete without sampling some moonshine. Ole Smoky Tennessee Moonshine has a tasting room on the island.
For $5, guests 21+ can taste a wide variety of moonshine flavors. Afterward, consider purchasing some moonshine and Ole Smoky merchandise.
13. Alcatraz East Crime Museum
On the main parkway next to the island is the Alcatraz East Crime Museum. This two-story building contains over 100 interactive exhibits that deep-dive into criminal profiles, the penal system, crime prevention, victims’ stories, forensic science, and law enforcement.
The museum offers general admission for ages eight and up, with additional options. An audio tour, “Top Detective Challenge,” and “The Heist” experience are add-ons to admission. Visitors can also choose a VIP route and combine admission with extra options.
14. Pigeon Forge Snow
Indoor tubing all year long? Yes, you can do it! Pigeon Forge Snow offers visitors an hour of tubing, thirty minutes of snow play, or a combination of the two.
Everyone can play in the snow, but guests who wish to play on the tubing hill must be at least 38 inches tall.
15. Big Top Arcade
Another favorite at the Island is the Big Top Arcade. This arcade has new and classic games that adults and children will love.
You can find Big Top Arcade to the left of the Great Smoky Mountain Wheel.
16. SkyFly Soar America
Before arriving at the Great Smoky Mountain Wheel, check out SkyFly Soar America. The ride theater suspends guests in the air while their feet dangle, and they take in scenes from across the United States.
This attraction is very similar to Soarin’ at Epcot or Disney California Adventure.
17. Pirate’s Voyage or Dolly Parton’s Stampede Dinner Show
Pigeon Forge, Tennessee, might be the dinner show capital of the country. If not, it is close. Pirate’s Voyage and Dolly Parton’s Stampede are two of the best shows in town.
The food and shows are different. However, the quality of the shows and food is virtually the same.
18. The Escape Game
The Escape Game has several locations across the US, including Pigeon Forge.
Teams work together to solve puzzles and unlock clues to solve a crime or break out of one. Escape games can be pricey, but it is worth it because of their friendly staff, clean facilities, and interactive games.
Visitors to Pigeon Forge could spend all day in Wonderworks exploring everything it has to offer. It is open daily from 10 am to 9 pm.
Wonderworks features interactive, hands-on attractions, laser tag, a ropes course, a 4D simulator ride, and an art gallery, all of which are included in the price of admission.
20. Jurassic Jungle Boat Ride
Jurassic Jungle Boat Ride is a classic Pigeon Forge staple. It’s cheesy and fun and not very expensive compared to other area attractions.
The ride features animatronic dinosaurs that “pop up” during a dark boat ride through the jungle. While not scary for older children or adults, it may be too frightening for young children who can’t tell the difference between reality and animatronics.
MagiQuest is an entertaining indoor attraction. Combining “spell” casting, riddle solving, and other fun challenges, MagiQuest is a massive hit with older children and adults.
Inside the building, they also have a laser maze, mirror maze, and glow-in-the-dark mini golf. Save a few dollars on your total cost by purchasing admission to all of the activities.
This article originally appeared on Wealth of Geeks.
Sarah is an expert travel writer and founder of On The Road With Sarah, a travel website with a focus on family experiences in the travel sector. She created her website as a resource for families looking to make the most of their vacations together. In addition to managing her own site, Sarah is a freelance writer for outlets such as Insider, Conde Nast Traveler, YahooLife, MSN, and Wealth of Geeks.