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10 Amazing Things to Do in Pigeon Forge with Kids

There are so many fun things to do in Pigeon Forge with kids – you’ll never have a dull moment! The town is packed with rides, museums, tours, dinner shows, shopping, dining, and more.

We spent a weekend in Pigeon Forge and couldn’t believe all of the attractions the city has to offer!

Pigeon Forge with Kids

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Where is Pigeon Forge?

Pigeon Forge, Tennessee is a mountain town located in the foothills of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. It’s an easy road trip for families, as two-thirds of the US population lives within driving distance of the park. 

If you are driving, Pigeon Forge is about 3 hours east of Nashville, 4.5 hours north of Atlanta, 4.5 hours south of Cincinnati, and 7.5 hours southwest of Washington, DC.

Pigeon Forge has approximately 7,000 full-time residents, but there are an endless number of fun attractions for families. 

What to Do in Pigeon Forge with Kids

When people think of Pigeon Forge attractions for kids, you might think of the famous Dollywood theme park or Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Both of these are great places to visit with kids, but there are a ton of other super fun places that shouldn’t be missed. Here are some of our favorite things for kids in Pigeon Forge TN! 

1. The Island in Pigeon Forge

The Island in Pigeon Forge should be your first stop. Parking is free at this entertainment complex with shopping, dining, and family fun. 

Boy walking into Arcade City.

Take a ride on The Great Smoky Mountain Wheel for a stunning view of Pigeon Forge and the Smoky Mountains beyond. Play arcade games at Arcade City, ride The Flying Horse Carousel, or try some thrill rides. 

When everyone has had their fill of attractions, grab a bite to eat at one of the many restaurants, like Dick’s Last Resort or Paula Deen’s Family Kitchen.

2. Alcatraz East Crime Museum

There are several attractions at The Island, including this crime museum which houses memorabilia from some of the world’s most notorious criminals.

The museum features crime through the ages, from torture instruments of medieval times to OJ Simpson’s white Ford Bronco.

Know that there is a lot of reading, so this activity might be better suited for older kids. There are a few interactive experiences including The Heist, where kids attempt to make their way through a laser maze. My son enjoyed visiting the museum but liked the hands-on activities the best.

3. Paula Deen’s Lumberjack Feud Show and Adventure Park

One of the more unique activities in Pigeon Forge, your kids will love spending time at the Lumberjack Adventure Park!

Boy balancing on a rolling log in the water.

After gearing up, families can try the ropes course, enjoy rolling logs over water, and even try axe throwing. The highlight of the park is The Flying Ox, a zip line roller coaster, unlike anything you’ve ever experienced before!

Don’t miss the Lumberjack Feud Show, where professional lumberjacks compete in different events as the audience cheers them on. It’s the perfect day out in Pigeon Forge for families.

4. Ride an Alpine Coaster

If your family loves alpine coasters, you’re in luck, as there are three different ones in Pigeon Forge.

Hop in and take a thrilling ride through the mountains of East Tennessee! There’s the Coaster at Goats on the Roof, Rocky Top Mountain Coaster, and Smoky Mountain Alpine Coaster. Try them all and choose your favorite!

5. Crave Golf Club

My kids always request a stop at the local mini golf course on vacation. Crave Mini Golf is right on the Parkway (the main street in downtown Pigeon Forge) and offers indoor and rooftop miniature golf courses, all decked out in a Candyland theme. 

Each hole has a spinner with different twists to the spot, such as standing on one foot while putting or closing your eyes when you swing. It takes the game to a new level of fun, and adults and kids alike will love it.

6. Pink Jeep Tour

For a unique tour of Great Smoky Mountains National Park, head out in a Pink Jeep. There are four different adventure tours to book, including the Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail and the Newfound Gap. 

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We took an amazing tour of Newfound Gap with Jeanie, who wowed us with her life stories and knowledge of the area. 

Pink Jeep in a parking lot surrounded by lush trees.

Next, we headed into the park, where we kept an eye out for black bears, hiked a couple of different trails looking for waterfalls, and eventually made our way to Newfound Gap.

Located on the borders of Tennessee and North Carolina, this spot sits around 5,000 feet in elevation and is definitely cooler than Pigeon Forge.

Waterfall and rocky stream at Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

Jeanie took us off-roading just outside the park to wrap up our Great Smoky Mountains tour. After shifting the car to 4-wheel drive, she maneuvered the Jeep like a champ on steep inclines while we flew around the back seat. This is one tour families will be talking about for years to come!

Want to explore the park on foot? Don’t miss these day hikes in the Smoky Mountains!

7. Beyond the Lens!

One of the biggest surprises in Pigeon Forge is Beyond the Lens! Family Fun. We didn’t know what to expect but loved all of the exhibits.

The entrance is a life-size kaleidoscope followed by a Hollywood red carpet (complete with paparazzi)!

Boy standing in life-size kaleidoscope.

There’s a video game room with the evolution of gaming systems, including a giant Pac-Man and a VR game, Beat Saber, where you try to keep the beat to the song of your choice.

Other fun interactive exhibits included the Big Foot experience, the Alien egg pit, and an escape room. There are photo opportunities everywhere, both with exhibits and VR animals. 

If you’re looking for things to do in Pigeon Forge for kids, this is one spot you shouldn’t miss!

*Other fun indoor attractions that are perfect for a rainy day in Pigeon Forge include the Titanic Museum, WonderWorks (and its Wonder Zones), one of the area’s escape rooms, Ripley’s Aquarium, or Pigeon Forge Snow.

8. Pirates Voyage Dinner & Show

Dinner theaters in Pigeon Forge are a must-do activity and there are an endless number to choose from. We had to choose between Dolly Parton’s Stampede and the Pirates Voyage Dinner and Adventure Show. We chose the pirate-themed show and were not disappointed.

Inside the venue is a giant pirate ship, and guests sit on either side, rooting for the Sapphire or Crimson pirate teams. Pirates Calico Jack and Blackbeard play major roles in this fun and mostly friendly competition among pirates. 

Everyone will love the pirates, mermaids, live animals, and amazing acrobatics by the cast. The wait staff will expertly serve a four-course meal during the show, so everyone leaves with full bellies. 

Be sure to add this to your Pigeon Forge itinerary!

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9. Dollywood

Dollywood is one of the more popular attractions in Pigeon Forge and it offers fun for the entire family. This theme park is part-owned by Dolly Parton and offers everything from thrill rides to water slides. Located in the foothills of the Great Smoky Mountains, this is consistently voted one of the top amusement parks in the US.

For families that love roller coasters, be sure to head to Dragonflier, Drop Line, and Lightning Rod for a ride you won’t forget! During the warm summer months, head to Dollywood’s Splash Country, a water park with a massive wave pool and some incredible water slides. Young kids are sure to love Little Creek Falls Splash Pad and The Cascades lagoon with waterfalls and small slides.

10. Zorbing at Outdoor Gravity Park

If your kids ever wondered what it’s like to be a hamster in a plastic ball, then zorbing is something they need to try! Kids can take turns rolling down the track completely out of control! If this is something they want to do, wear a swimsuit and bring a towel because they are sure to get wet! Be sure to book your tickets in advance.

Where to Eat in Pigeon Forge with Kids

The good news – there are a ton of places to eat in Pigeon Forge with kids. These were some of the ones we enjoyed.

The Old Mill Restaurant is actually built on the site of a former grist mill built in the 1830s. The entire area has restaurants, candy shops, and a general store. Come to the Old Mill with an empty stomach, because meals are ginormous.

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We tried the fried chicken platter and the turkey dinner. Both were excellent and came with mashed potatoes, green beans, corn fritters, soup, and melt-in-your-mouth biscuits. See, I told you it was a lot of food!

Local Goat features menu items that are sourced from local farms. It bills itself as a “New American restaurant with a scratch-made kitchen”, and it does not disappoint.

Try their fried green tomatoes or deep-fried deviled eggs with bacon jam to start. We recommend ordering one of their gourmet burgers, Pimiento Cheese Cheeseburger or the TN Whiskey Glazed Burger. Both are mouth-watering!


Where to Stay in Pigeon Forge with Kids

Pigeon Forge lodging comes in all shapes and sizes, from mom-and-pop bed and breakfasts to vacation rental condos and mountain cabins. Whatever you are looking for in a family vacation to Pigeon Forge, you are sure to find it!

There are so many hotels, condos, and rentals in Pigeon Forge, it can be hard to choose the perfect one. We highly recommend RiverStone Resort and Spa. This condo property offers rentals of all sizes.

Riverstone Resort Hotel rising above a pool with rock waterfalls.
Photo: RiverStone Resort

Our condo had 3 bedrooms and 2 bathrooms, with a view over the neighboring golf course. There was also a full-sized kitchen, dining table, living room, and balcony.

This condo in Pigeon Forge was the perfect place to come back to after a long day out. They had excellent WiFi, so my son could complete his virtual schooling at the end of the day.

RiverStone Resort sits away from the Pigeon Forge crowds, but it’s close to all the action. It never took us longer than 10 minutes to get anywhere we needed to go. It occupies an excellent position overlooking the Little Pigeon River.

Some of the resort amenities include a spa (which I really wanted to try, but couldn’t find the time), a lazy river, an indoor pool, an awesome playground, and a giant kids’ bounce pillow. We promise your kids will never be bored on this property.


Other places to stay in Pigeon Forge:

Pigeon Forge combines the scenic beauty of the Great Smoky Mountains with an endless number of fun and unique family-friendly attractions. We can’t wait to return next year with the rest of our family.

Book Your Flights – You can find discounted fares using sites like Momondo or Skyscanner. If you want to keep an eye on discount fares, we suggest signing up for Going, a daily newsletter with flight sales around the world.

If you travel frequently, consider investing in a Priority Pass for airport lounge access. It’s nice to have a space where you can relax before your flight.

Book Your Accommodation

We regularly use Expedia.com and Hotels.com to find lodging when we travel. It’s a great way to compare vacation rentals, hotels, and resorts.

If your family knows they want to stay in a vacation rental, we recommend looking at VRBO and Plum Guide.

Book Your Transportation

For rental car agencies, try Rentalcars.com. We tend to use Hertz simply for the quality of service.

Book Your Tours and Travel Photos

We regularly used companies like Viator and GetYourGuide to book tours when we travel. Both have great communication and a large variety of activities that work for all ages.

If you’re visiting a city with multiple attractions, be sure to check out a discount pass, such as CityPASS or Go City. Both are worthwhile investments.

Context Travel is another option and they offer more educational-based activities. The former teacher in me loves their tours.

One of our favorite things to do annually is taking photos with Flytographer. They have photographers around the world and we’ve used them on four separate occasions. This is our favorite travel souvenir.

Don’t Forget Travel Insurance

With the state of travel these days, it’s important to have some type of travel insurance to cover any unforeseen accidents, illnesses, threats, or cancellations. We always travel with insurance and would recommend SquareMouth, Travelex, or Medjet as good options. And if you want to compare different insurance options, use Travel Insurance Master to find the best policy for your group.