Though the snowstorms and frigid temperatures may move out with the winter season, springtime can only guarantee more showers and chilly weather. When it’s just too cold and dreary to do anything fun in the outdoors, there is still a world of entertainment to be found within the warm walls of shelter! Plan your escape from the elements with these indoor things to do in Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg with kids.
Things to Do in Gatlinburg with Kids
Gatlinburg is a mecca of family-friendly activities that even adults will enjoy. Of all the vast and varied things to do in Gatlinburg with kids, you can never go wrong with magic, food and games!
At the base of the Gatlinburg Space Needle in the Iris Theater is a performance your kids will never forget. Master Mentalist and Magician Erik Dobell demonstrates the curious possibilities – or rather, impossibilities – of the world you thought you knew. How are his reality-bending antics, magic tricks, and mind-reading possible? A magician never reveals their secrets, but your kids will love trying to figure it out in this audience-interactive show. By the end of the evening, you may just have an apprentice of magic on your hands!
Sometimes, kids are only hungry because they’re bored. Sometimes, they’re genuinely bored of being hungry! Either way, Fannie Farkle’s Food & Fun Parlor gives them plenty to do and plenty to eat at the same time. Kids and adults alike will love chowing down on a legendary Ogle Dog or indulging in an ooey-gooey cheese-steak or sausage sub. This unique amusement center is an all-in-one place for lunch or dinner where playtime is also on the menu. The video game arcade features classic games like Pac-Man and Skee Ball, as well as state-of-the-art games like Ticket Time and Robot Storm. Just swipe your game card to play games or get food, and then turn in your card at the end to redeem prizes.
Ripley’s Entertainment can’t be left out of the picture when it comes to finding exciting indoor things to do in Gatlinburg with kids. Each of their nine extraordinary attractions is designed with kids’ curiosity and delight in mind. However, if you only have enough time to try a few, these three Ripley’s activities should be at the top of your list.
At Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies, there’s a high probability you’ll make friends with some fascinating and otherworldly creatures. On the upper level, you’ll encounter glimmering schools of fish in Ocean Realm and venomous amphibians and carnivorous swimmers in Tropical Rainforest. The top predators in the oceanic food chain might swim overhead in the 340-foot glide path tunnel in Shark Lagoon, and the smooth-skinned rays will let you pet them in Touch A Ray Bay.
Upon entering the lower level, you’ll meet fish species like Nemo and Dory at Coral Reef and come face-to-face with alien-like octopuses and lionfish at Gallery of the Seas. Move on to Stingray Bay to distinguish different stingray species, then come party with the penguins at their private beach resort at Penguin Playhouse. Don’t miss the daily live shows featuring all these stingrays, penguins, and residents of the coral reef. In addition to the exhibits, Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies also hosts one-of-a-kind experiences, events, and educational programs. With so much educational fun and animal interaction at the aquarium, it’ll be a challenge to get your kids to leave!
What do shrunken heads, art made from recycled scrap material, a vampire-killing kit, and the world’s tallest man have in common? All of them are some of the strangest oddities you’ll ever see, and they can only be found in Gatlinburg at Ripley’s Believe It Or Not! Odditorium. Throughout 16 themed galleries, this unusual museum showcases the rare, the eccentric, and the bizarre, sourced from the most remote corners of the world in over 200 countries. Explore interactive rooms like the Kaleidoscope Room or Optical Illusion Room to see the world through a wacky perspective. Point out your favorite tribal mask from the Tribal Mask Collection, meet a two-trunked African Elephant, and beware of the creepy 2,000-year-old ancient Egyptian mummy. The 500+ exhibits and artifacts at Ripley’s Believe It Or Not! Odditorium will delight young minds as much as they refresh older ones with off-the-wall weirdness!
Dive back in time to the 1980s at Ripley’s Super Fun Zone! Amid vibrant neons and totally rad patterns, you’ll battle it out on the laser tag arena, then continue the family competition with 18 holes of indoor mini-golf. The kids will have a blast perfecting their aim at the shooting gallery to see who can hit the most targets before finding a throwback souvenir of your favorite pop culture icons from the Retro Retail Store. Come with your wildest sense of fun, and go home with an ’80s band tee shirt, a retro framed poster, or a fancy new toy or game.
Indoor Activities in Pigeon Forge
Between the adventures at Ripley’s, the kid-friendly performances and fun centers, Gatlinburg alone could eat up all your vacation time. However, the indoor activities in Pigeon Forge are on par. If it’s easier for your family to stay in Pigeon Forge, you’ll still be able to treat your kids to an equally exciting world of magic and hands-on playtime.
Are your kids at the age where they get restless unless they get enough physical activity? If so, TopJump Trampoline & Extreme Arena is a must. Trampoline jumping is an excellent way to release all that pent-up energy while having fun and trying out cool tricks and flips! Yet, there’s so much more to TopJump than just the trampoline park. The Cliffhanger Challenges, Boneyard Stunt Tower, and Fire & Ice Ninja Course are sure to get the adrenaline rushing for daredevils. Meanwhile, the athletically-inclined will love competing with a group of other kids at Airstrike Dodgeball and Pro-Slam Basketball. Younger players will find plenty of safe and gentle fun at the Toddler Zone, and family members of all ages can try to win prizes at the Arcade Alley. TopJump is easily one of the best indoor activities in Pigeon Forge because the options for fun are endless!
MagiQuest is only for the bravest adventurers in the land! This interactive kid-friendly game journeys through friendly fairy forests and villages, as well as dangerous dragon dungeons and a Goblin Chamber. Heroes and heroines will use the Ancient Book of Wisdom to uncover hidden treasures. They’ll learn how to swish their magical wands to navigate the variety of allies and enemies along the way, from princesses to dragons to the evil Goblin King. An epic tale like this is bound to make Master Magi out of once aspiring youths! Upon completing this fantasy adventure, stick around to play an 18-hole round of pirate-themed mini-golf set to black lights, create new high scores at the latest games in the Adventure Arcade, or lose yourself in the kaleidoscopic mirage of the Odyssey Mirror Maze Adventure.
When you and your kids start to get bored on a streak of rainy days, it’s time to lighten up your world with a spontaneous trip to the Great Smoky Mountains area. Start considering all the possibilities for kid-friendly indoor entertainment in the Smokies, and see where it takes you! From Ripley’s entertainment to trampoline jumping and magic-making, the variety of indoor things to do in Pigeon Forge with kids will immediately bring smiles back to their faces, and the enchanting and fun-filled indoor activities in Gatlinburg will keep those smiles fixed for days.
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