Imagination is your child’s greatest gift. Not only does it help them to make sense of this strange and ever-changing world, but it even inspires you to reconnect with that sense of wonder and awe. For a region already bursting with the magic of nature, the Great Smoky Mountains are rife with enchanting all-ages attractions and imaginative things to do with kids. From Pigeon Forge to Gatlinburg, interactive activities like mini-golf whisk you away into exciting lands of adventure, while local theatrical performances and other family-friendly endeavors prove that magic is real!
Adventurous Pigeon Forge Mini-Golf Courses
Have you ever told your kids they will only be allowed to do something “when pigs fly?” You may end up eating your own words after a visit to Ripley’s Old MacDonald’s Farm Mini-Golf in Sevierville, which is just a quick, 15-minute drive away from Pigeon Forge. On this impressive 54-hole course, animated barnyard animals like flying pigs, kooky chickens and grazing cows accompany you through tricky water features and other interactive challenges. Throughout the course, you’ll also get to test your pro golfing skills at each hole’s spinning course challenge. Afterward, cool off from an intense match with a competitive video game tournament in the arcade.
Quality time with family can look like many things. Yet, an adventure across an exotic land to find hidden gold is, without doubt, the most fanciful way to spend it. At Professor Hacker’s Lost Treasure Golf, you’ll venture through the Fogclift Islands of the South American coast in search of ancient gold and diamond mines. Professor Hacker invites you to join him on an old German mining train from WWI to reach the top of the mountain, where two 18-hole courses descend through caves, waterfalls, mines, a pirate ship and even a volcano. Only the brave will find the lost treasure and come out of this Pigeon Forge mini-golf course with a win!
Explore Mini-Golf in Gatlinburg
The following two popular locations for mini-golf in Gatlinburg can be stimulating ways to get a bit of exercise while exploring strange new worlds. Ripley’s Davy Crockett Mini-Golf takes you on a forested tour among friendly wildlife critters, much like the adventurous Tennessean hero Davy Crockett once did. As you putt along two courses totaling 36 holes, try your best to get a hole-in-one to win a free game. Located right on the Parkway in Gatlinburg, Ripley’s Davy Crockett Mini-Golf is easy to reach via the Gatlinburg trolley or with their free on-site parking.
Meanwhile, at Circus Golf & Amazing Mirror Maze, you’ll wander through an 18-hole course among animatronic circus characters lit up in special FX 3D blacklight. This colorful circus house is indoors and temperature-controlled, making it a fun family activity for a rainy day or blistering afternoon. After a round, don’t miss out on Gatlinburg’s largest mirror maze. Inside the Amazing Mirror Maze, you’re bound to lose your sense of direction and reality as you navigate a labyrinth of infinite mirrors, vibrant dancing lights and upbeat music.
Magical Things to Do with Kids
Stories are the bread and butter of the imagination. For kids, theatrical performances and storytime can be a source of inspiration later during playtime. At the same time, it’s a fun way for parents and adults to wind down while keeping the kids happily entertained.
The classic tales of high fantasy are no longer confined to the imagination at a place like MagiQuest. In this interactive game, young heroes must venture through fairy forests, battle dragons and goblins, meet a dazzling princess, and befriend mystical creatures. Armed only with a clue book and a wand, they will come to find the hidden treasure and ultimately grow into powerful Master Magi! Aside from this epic magic-filled challenge, MagiQuest also houses three other attractions, including Pirate Golf, Adventure Arcade, and the Odyssey Mirror Maze Adventure.
The Grand Majestic Theater is open year-round to stage four original shows plus a seasonal Christmas special and other exciting performances, like the “Elvis” tribute. Shows like “Soul of Motown” and “Hit Parade” connect audience members across generations over timeless musical hits. The musical comedy “Hazzard Hoedown” will have you clutching your sides in laughter, and the headlining magician Terry Evanswood will wow you with mind-blowing sleight of hand tricks and grand scale illusions.
Incredible magical talent also abounds at The Parkway Playhouse. Joined by Blake Walker from “The Little Mermaid,” TikTok star Freckled Zelda doesn’t just dabble on the Ocarina of Time. She harnesses the power of illusion, coupled with original musical score and the state-of-the-art special effects of an impressive Broadway-scale set. Plus, she’ll show you that unicorns exist and participate in magic tricks, too!
Impossibilities Magic Show makes you question what you thought you knew about reality. Master Mentalist Erik Dobell has brought magic to the screen on national networks like FOX and NBC and across the world from Las Vegas to South Korea. Today, you can witness his talent at the IRIS Theater inside the Gatlinburg Space Needle. Settle in for an evening of audience participation, jaw-dropping magical illusions and mind-reading that will give you goosebumps!
A full day of family-friendly activities would not be complete without a snack break at the Smokies’ most beloved ice cream shop. Mad Dog’s Creamery serves 24 types of ice cream, including classic varieties like Chocolate, Strawberry and Moose Tracks, and original flavors like Smoky Mountain Fudge, Super Cow, and Yellow Brick Road. Order several scoops to sample your top picks, or try them in a milkshake, sundae or banana split. Mad Dog’s Creamery also makes fresh donuts and specializes in original desserts, such as the cotton candy burrito, ice cream nachos and funnel cake. Stop by either location in Pigeon Forge or Gatlinburg, and don’t forget to bring your pupper along for a sweet treat, too!
Even aside from the natural beauty of the mountains, magic is abundant in the family-friendly activities of the Smokies. From local magic shows to musical theater performances, mini-golf adventures to family and pet-friendly sweet treats, there are more incredible things to do with kids in Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg than you can possibly imagine!
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