Pigeon Forge is a mountain town located at the edge of the Great Smoky Mountains in Eastern Tennessee. Known for being the hometown of the lovely Dolly Parton, Pigeon Forge has grown into a fun-filled city with many attractions for kids and adults alike. The city’s multiple amusement parks and proximity to the Smokies offer a unique range of tourist activities, making it the perfect holiday destination for families.
To give you an idea of the fun and adventure that awaits you at Pigeon Forge, let us guide you through our favorite things to do with the family while in town.
Best Time to Visit Pigeon Forge
Before we get started, it is important to talk about when you should plan your Pigeon Forge trip. While the city and most of its attractions are open all year, the best time for planning a trip is either early spring or late fall. Since late spring to mid-fall is the busiest season for tourists in Pigeon Forge, planning your trip right before or after the season will help you avoid the crowds and make the most of your holiday.
An Immersive Dining Experience
As a tourist, there are several unique experiences that this city will offer you, but at the top of that list is our favorite live dinner show in Pigeon Forge, Dolly Parton’s Stampede. Set in a 35,000 sq ft arena, the Stampede is an all-immersive experience for viewers of all ages. The show comprises a variety of entertaining acts ranging from aerial acrobats and horse stunts to live music and storytelling. The best part is that you enjoy the show while feasting upon a delightful southern-style 4-course meal.
Dolly Parton’s Stampede offers a regular season show and a special Christmas show during the holiday season. You’ll want to visit twice during the year so you can experience both! However, remember that tickets sell out fast, so book them in advance.
Family-Fun at Dollywood
Pigeon Forge is brimming with amusement parks with various fun and thrilling rides and activities that the entire family can enjoy. The most well-known of Pigeon Forge parks is Dollywood, which is again named after the legendary Dolly Parton.
Dollywood is spread over 150 acres and hosts what is considered the number 1 theme park in the country by a top reviewing website. You and your family can try out over 50 world-class rides in a friendly space. What’s great about this park is that there are rides for all ages. So, while some might restrict to people tall enough to ride, some rides allow parents to bond with even their toddlers in a comfortable but exciting experience.
You can also take a quick trip to Dollywood’s Splash Country, a water park with activities and rides targeted toward adults and children of all ages. Our favorite ride is the Fire Tower Falls, the world’s tallest and fastest water slide!
Dollywood also has wonderful family-style restaurants and shopping outlets where you can find lovely souvenirs to take home after your travels.
Outdoor Adventure at Anakeesta
If you want to use this vacation to have a family adventure full of thrill and excitement in the outdoors, Anakeesta near Pigeon Forge is the place for you. An award-winning theme park in the mountains, Anakeesta is home to many adrenaline-pumping activities. You can take your pick from hiking trails, the Rail Runner Mountain Coaster, or the dueling zipline to satiate your adventure bug.
You may be wondering what is there for children and those members of your family who want to use this outdoor adventure to connect with nature. We recommend the Astra Lumina night walk or the Treetop Skywalk, which are great Anakeesta attractions for those looking for a more relaxing experience. As for the children, we’re sure they’ll find plenty to occupy themselves at the Gem Mining station or in the Treehouse Village Play Area. These activities are great for children and families who want to connect with nature.
Fun and Play at the Island
The Island is a 23-acre fantastic entertainment complex in Pigeon Forge centered around the iconic Great Smoky Mountain Wheel. The mountain wheel is a 200 ft. tall observatory wheel that offers a gorgeous aerial view of the Great Smoky Mountains and the city of Pigeon Forge, making it a must-visit attraction for tourists.
In addition to the observatory wheel, the Island is home to many carnival-themed activities and arcade-style games that the whole family can enjoy. You can also visit the Alcatraz East Crime Museum on the Island, get lost in Gatlin’s Mirror Maze, or enjoy the Island Show Fountain. With dozens of things to choose from, a family vacation on the Island can be full of fun and entertainment.
Zorbing at the Outdoor Gravity Park
The last activity on our list that will end your Pigeon Forge holiday with a bang is a visit to America’s online zorbing center at the Outdoor Gravity Park. Zorbing, also known as globe riding, was created in New Zealand as a recreational sport. It involves entering a giant transparent orb and letting yourself roll around in an open area, preferably downhill. While it may sound dangerous, zorbing is so safe that children as young as five can go for a roll.
A typical zorbing session is around 10 minutes long. However, you can take a break and return to the Outdoor Gravity Park at Pigeon Forge. The Outdoor Gravity Park has three zorbing tracks you can pick, depending on whether you want to zorb solo or in a group. We recommend booking ahead to ensure you don’t miss out on this unique experience.
If you had to make a brochure for family vacations, Pigeon Forge should be on the front page. The variety of fun and enthralling activities and attractions in the city make for a wonderful holiday experience for all ages and help you bond with your kids.