*Caution, affiliate links ahead…Don’t worry, I’ll use the money for something practical, like wine…. or a pony!
Pigeon Forge is one of those places that you aren’t quite sure about going to, but once you go you completely fall in love. I admit it, I was a Pigeon Forge skeptic. I was pretty sure I was going to hate it the first time we went. Turns out it was great! Only problem was, the first time we visited I was 6 months pregnant and toting around a 15 month old so I felt like we missed out on so much while we were there. That’s why when we had the chance to go back, we jumped at it! I couldn’t wait to visit all the places we loved before and finally get to try the ones we had missed the first time around.
If you go to Pigeon Forge/Gatlinburg/Sevierville (try saying that 3 times fast!) these are the things that you MUST do!
My husband has been dying to go here for years. He grew up in the snow and sledding was a weekly activity for him and his brother, he wanted our poor southern kids to experience the thrill of soaring down a mountain on a sheet of snow and ice, and boy did they! We happened to go on a beautiful day, it was 55 degrees and sunny when we hit the hill. Perfect snow tubing weather, from the first run we were all hooked and couldn’t wait to get back to the top of the hill. It’s best to go on a weekday when it’s less crowded. When we went there were only about 20 other tubers so we got plenty of time to fly down the hill. Keep up to date on the latest snow info by liking their Facebook page.
I cannot say enough good things about this museum! From the moment we walked in we were in awe of this amazing exhibit. From the very first exhibit you are drawn into the lives of the people aboard the titanic. They have some of the only photographs of the passengers aboard the ill-fated ship. You literally are stepping back in time as you gaze at these long lost souls. You feel a connection with them that is almost surreal.
Once you are able to tear yourself away from the photographs, you can walk through the other galleries and see the genuine artifacts that were collected from the debris shortly after the Titanic went under. It is overwhelming to be surrounded by pieces of one of the worst disasters in history.
One of the best things about this museum is how interactive it is. You do not just read about the workers shoveling coal into the engines, you get to do it too and see what it was really like to do that for 10 hours a day. In one room there is a stairway that floods while the lights flicker on and off, giving you a glimpse into Titanic’s final moments. My absolute favorite interactive exhibit was the recreation of the deck of the Titanic, complete with a real 10 foot iceberg and freezing water. My kids couldn’t stop touching the iceberg and putting their hands in the 28 degree water. Tip, there is no photography of any kind allowed inside the museum, so you can leave your camera back at the hotel for this one.
If you can only visit one museum while you are there, visit this one!
One of the best restaurants in the area! Mama’s is our family’s favorite place to eat. This is good old fashioned southern cooking at its best. Everything they serve there is delicious! Meatloaf, fried chicken, dumplings, creamy mac and cheese, mashed potatoes and green beans served to your table family style, don’t worry about running out of food or fighting for seconds, they will always bring you more, but don’t forget to save room for dessert!. The food is perfection and the service is top notch. If you ever miss Sunday dinners at Grandma’s house, this is the place for you! This is hands down our absolute favorite restaurant in Pigeon Forge. Don’t forget to like them on Facebook 🙂
I was pretty sure I was going to hate this place, it really didn’t sound appealing to me at all. World’s biggest ball of ear wax is not really something I want to see, my kids on the other hand were dying to go. 6 against 1, not good odds at all…. I reluctantly walked inside and was greeted by an animatronic 8 foot 11 inch tall man (the world’s tallest man!) along with actual video footage of him from the 1950’s. Okay, this was going to be pretty cool.
Inside was a fascinating journey of world’s records. Many of the exhibits were completely interactive, you could see if you could hold your breath as long as the world record holder, try to beat the world’s record for fastest hopscotch game. Replicas of the world’s largest woman, fattest man, and longest neck (15 inches!!!). My kids are now determined to break a world’s record. Love it!
Excellent aquarium!. I love places that are interactive because the kids learn so much more when they can explore in a hands on way. This aquarium was full of learning opportunities. Walking under the sharks was something my kids won’t soon forget! They loved feeling like they were underwater, they talked about the sharks they saw for days.
One of the highlights is the stingray exhibit where you can reach out and touch stingrays. Some of these suckers are HUGE! The kids were completely fascinated, they didn’t want to leave, and I can’t blame them, these rays were coming right up to them. We stayed and pet them for a good half hour, then it was time for them to eat and they wanted nothing to do with us. Tip, get to the stingray tank about 30 minutes before the Stingray Bay Dive show to get the best interaction with the rays.
Part country store, part pancake heaven this place is a must do in Pigeon Forge or Gatlinburg. There are many locations throughout the area, our favorite location is the one at 146 parkway in Gatlinburg. You have to get the pancakes here, the warm, fluffy stacks are like happiness on a plate. Throw in some eggs, bacon and grits and you will be full for days. Everything here is so good! I truly think this may be the best breakfast place in Tennessee. Check them out on Facebook to stay in the breakfast loop!
My 3 year old laid on a bed of nails and learned why it didn’t hurt, the big kids climbed 50 feet in the air on a spacewalk ropes course and then participated in a military training exercise. The little kids created pictures with a giant Light Brite Board (OMG! This was straight out of my childhood! Awesome!)
We landed space shuttles, played with bubbles, pedaled a bike upside down, sat in a café during an earthquake and scaled a rock climbing wall. We spent all day at this place and practically had to drag the kids out. Wow! What an adventure!
After a long day of snow tubing and attempting to break world records, my husband and I were just plain wore out! We stopped at Big Daddy’s pizzeria on our way back to the hotel. We ordered pizza and let the kids loose in the arcade while we kicked back and enjoyed a much deserved glass of wine. I admit we delayed ordering the pizza for a while so we could enjoy the peace and quiet. Thank goodness for game rooms!
We ordered pizza for the kids, hubs and I had a sandwich. The pizza was wood fired yumminess that the kids devoured. Usually we have leftovers, not this time, they ate every last piece. I ordered the chicken alfredo sandwich, just the name had me drooling, I couldn’t wait to sink my teeth into it. It was good on its own, but paired with a glass of pinot it was perfection, just what I needed after a long day of “vacationing”. This place is at the top of our list for next time we come back! Check them out on Facebook to find out about the latest specials!
My kids could not wait to try this place out! They were so excited about the thought of a Harry Potterish scavenger hunt. For the next 90 minutes they ran around trying to complete as many quests as they could. The quests start off fairly easy and get increasingly difficult as you go on. My 9 year old completed 3 quests while my 14 year old dominated the leader board that day by completing 8 quests. She was in her element, fantasy role play and puzzles to solve, oh yeah it was on. This is something that you have to try at least once while you are here. So fun!
This place gets a shout out because the staff was fantastic and the Friday Happy Hour is a great deal and a lot of fun for the kids. The melting Pot is located in downtown Gatlinburg within walking distance to all the popular attractions which makes it ideal for a quick family treat. From 5-7 every Friday you can treat yourself to come chocolate or cheese fondue for just $5 a person. The kids had a great time dipping yummy treats in chocolate. Definitely a must do in Gatlinburg.
There are so many fun things to do in the Pigeon forge area, this is just the tip of the iceberg (no pun intended lol). If you add some of these attractions to your touring plans, I promise you won’t be disappointed!
*Disclosure- Parts of this post were based on complimentary visits to some of the destinations listed above, however all opinions are entirely my own.