One of the greatest joys in life is introducing your kids to activities, sights, tastes and sounds they’ve never experienced before. Even if you have done these things a thousand times before, something about the fresh-minded innocence of children makes it brand new again for everyone involved. Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge are ripe with family fun that will capture the imagination, intrigue the intellect, and awaken the senses!
Pigeon Forge Family Fun
Fun times with the kiddos are best started at comedy shows, mini-golf, roller coaster rides and brain teasers. These are just a few of the most exciting activities for young children and parents to enjoy together in Pigeon Forge.
For a mini-golfing experience as sweet as the day after Halloween, check out Crave Golf Club on the Parkway in Pigeon Forge. The 19-hole rooftop course treks across mountains of rock candy, jungles of jellybeans, and a garden made of bubblegum. Meanwhile, the indoor course is a wonderland of chocolate cliffs, ice cream canyons and a candy safari that will have you drooling as you play through 19 holes. Don’t let the friendly sugar-cone characters fool you, though! Playing the optional Spin Zone tasks makes the game that much more difficult. Crave Golf Club also hosts two unique escape room games and a mini-bowling alley. Before you leave, make sure to visit the sweet shop to treat yourself and the kids to your favorite classic candies!
Humor doesn’t have to be crude to be hilarious. For over 25 years, Comedy Barn has been delivering punchlines and tickling funny-bones with age-appropriate content. Settle in for some bona fide slapstick involving only the most talented barnyard animals, ventriloquists, magicians, and jugglers. Nicknamed the “night of a thousand laughs,” the show features nationally-renowned comedians alongside costumed dancers and singers of bluegrass and gospel music. The clean drollery at Comedy Barn will have you rolling on the floor and quoting inside jokes for weeks to come!
When Professor Wonder’s tornado experiment went terribly wrong, the storm blew his lab away from its remote island. Though it landed upside down in Pigeon Forge, all of his experiments miraculously survived. At WonderWorks, you can investigate the variety of scientific topics that Professor Wonder left behind. Explore your senses in the Light & Sound Zone, or try your hand at astronaut training in the Space Discovery Zone. Play around with mechanical gears at the Imagination Lab, and do double-takes at the Wonder Art Gallery. Curious minds of all ages are sure to learn something new about natural phenomena like electricity, earthquakes, light, mechanics and much more!
Named for renowned country singer-songwriter and philanthropist Dolly Parton, Dollywood brings families together for a world of amusement. The theme park features over 50 exciting rides suitable for various age groups, such as Tennessee Tornado, which spirals to nearly 70 m.p.h. through an old mountain mining company, and Frogs & Fireflies, where frogs sweep you in circles to chase pretty lightning bugs. Dollywood also hosts festivals and events for holidays like Christmas, Halloween and summer vacation. Plus, musical performances and shows are scheduled all year round. In addition, Dollywood even offers lodging, on-site shopping, dining, and celebrations.
Clocking in at over 9 minutes as the longest coaster in East Tennessee, Rocky Top Mountain Coaster is a one-of-a-kind ride that allows you to control your speed. Zoom up to 30 mph to catch those sensational thrills, or take it slow and steady enough for even the littlest of munchkins. You’ll cut drastic turns, twist every which way, and dive through four themed tunnels over 20 acres of jaw-dropping Smoky Mountain beauty. The ride becomes a dazzling whirr of vibrant colors at night as hundreds of lights illuminate the rails and scenery. Rocky Top Mountain Coaster is one of the most fun ways to spend family quality time in Pigeon Forge!
Things to Do with Kids in Gatlinburg
The outdoor adventures at Big Creek Expeditions are just as fun as the indoor games at Fannie Farkle’s and Ripley’s in Gatlinburg. Plan to embark on a family field trip, rain or shine!
Outlandish adventures at any of the Ripley’s activities are bound to christen Gatlinburg as number one on your list of family vacation destinations. Ripley’s Mirror Maze offers a particularly dream-like experience with its labyrinth of mirrors. Designed to make you question your own eyes and ears, this maze implements infinity mirrors, LED lights, rotating mirrors and continuous circles to jumble your sense of direction. Get lost together in a psychedelic dimension where your perception is put to the test!
When you finally find your way out of the polychromatic illusions, you can regain your senses with some sweet treats at Ripley’s Candy Factory. Browse hundreds of tempting candies, including both timeless classics and interesting new flavors to try. Remember to check out the other eight Ripley’s adventures next time you take the family to Gatlinburg!
The laughter and entertainment don’t have to stop just because your bellies are rumbling! At Fannie Farkle’s Food & Fun Parlor, dinner pairs well with family game night at the arcade. Treat the crew to some tasty foot-long Ogle Dogs, melty cheesesteaks and hunger-banishing sausage subs, and then wash it all down with some refreshing sweet tea or lemonade. In the meantime, you could bet your teens a Hawaiian shaved ice that you’ll win at PacMan, Skeeball and any of the racing games. After you’ve shown them how it’s done at the classics, let the youngsters earn their revenge at newer games like Ticket Time, Sink It and Robot Storm. Fannie Farkle’s in Gatlinburg is as yummy as it is entertaining!
There’s no greater way to experience the natural wonder of the Pigeon River than by relishing in marvelous views, right? Actually, you could appreciate the river’s beauty up-close while triumphing on the thrill ride of a lifetime! At Big Creek Expeditions, you can choose between three whitewater rafting tours, all of which come with certified professional rafting guides and safety gear. If you’re new to whitewater rafting, try the Lower Pigeon Scenic Float of Class I and II rapids, appropriate for children age 3 and up. Depending on your family’s comfort level, you might prefer the Class III- and IV-rapid Upper Pigeon River trip, suitable for kids age 8 and older. For more advanced rafters or challenge-happy families over age 8, the Full-Day Whitewater Adventure cruises through both the Upper and Lower Pigeon River sections. After just one splash-filled adventure at Big Creek Expeditions, the kids will be begging to do it again and again!
Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg are practically bursting at the seams with fun things to do with kids. While each of these activities is a fountain of family fun in and of itself, the best part will undoubtedly be the way your kids grab hold of what they experience and run with it creatively! After all, eyes lit up with wondrous delight and giggles bubbling up from the depths of sheer happiness are more precious than anything money can buy.
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