Travel Articles and Tips
Family Friendly Things To Do In Pigeon Forge Tennessee
Bright Lights, Big City. You probably think I’m referring to New York City, but in fact I am talking about Pigeon Forge, Tennessee. Pigeon Forge, Tennessee?! Nestled in the heart of the Great Smokey Mountains, there it is, in all its glory—a six lane, five mile long strip filled with anything and everything a child could ever want. Arcades, amusement park rides, attractions, Nascar inspired Go-Kart tracks, waterslides, restaurants, ice cream parlors and the list goes on and on. Recently my two children, including my daughter with special needs, and I traveled to Pigeon Forge and had a blast discovering its many personalities. Here are some of the highlights from our trip including some great tips for those who have a special needs traveler:
- Dollywood: If your family loves rides, great food and live entertainment then a trip to Dollywood is a must! Take a ride on the Dollywood Express, a 1938 steam locomotive that is the oldest attraction in the park. When you return to the station after your ride, be sure to catch the live magic show and encourage your kids to raise their hands when asked to help out. They will learn magic! Visit the Country Fair section of the park were you will find old school rides and games. For those kids seeking a little more thrill, check out one of the five rollercoasters in the park. The Tennessee Tornado, a looping coaster, and the Wild Eagle, a steel Wing Coaster that is 210 feet high and goes up to 61 miles per hour, are two of the most heart-pounding rollercoasters in the park! A great family show to catch is at The Dreamland Drive-In where you can hear fun music and see costumes from the 50’s and 60’s. When you are ready to grab some lunch, if you have a hot dog lover in your family, be sure to stop at Dogs N’ Taters. They serve foot-long corndogs and yummy hand cut tater twirls. The menu also includes a delicious, piled-high one-third pound all beef chili cheese dog. It's delicious!
- Wonder Works: Your family’s adventure begins the moment you pull into the parking lot. Standing before you is an enormous upside down building! As you enter through the front door, you feel as though the whole building is going to collapse around you! Wonderworks has over 100 hands-on exhibits that will test your imagination, skill and intelligence. There is something for all ages, including mom and dad. Learn how natural disasters occur, take a ride in a space shuttle, lay on a bed of nails, play in the bubble lab, or see how your athletic skills compare to the pros in soccer, baseball and football in the virtual sports exhibit. Climb high in the largest indoor ropes course that glows in the dark! For thrill-seekers, try out the Xtreme 360 bikes and the Wonder Coaster. Wonderworks will keep you and your kids busy for hours!
- The Great Smoky Mountains National Park: When you and your family are looking for some quiet time away from the hustle and bustle of Pigeon Forge, spend an afternoon in The Great Smokey Mountains National Park. The Smokies cover over 500,000 acres and are filled with wildlife, beauty and rich history. Take a hike, rent bikes or pack a picnic and enjoy the beautiful scenery. Ten miles from Pigeon Forge is the Sugarlands Visitor Center where you can begin a nice hike with your family on the Gatlinburg Trail. The flat trail travels 1.9 miles one-way toward the outskirts of Gatlinburg and follows along Little Pigeon River. You will be sure to see lots of joggers, walker and bicyclists. A wonderful way to unwind and refresh.
- Dixie Stampede: What a fabulous night of family fun! Great entertainment with horse stunts, magic tricks, musical productions and a friendly North vs South competition that engages and energizes all of the nightly guests. This is also a dinner theatre, so while enjoying this wonderful entertainment, you will be a served a four-course southern style meal that will set your taste buds on fire! Be prepared to eat the entire meal with your hands because no silverware is provided. The evening closes out with a video of Dolly Parton singing “Color Me America” and you can’t help but feel proud to be an American. This is a great night of family entertainment and something to definitely put on your list of to-do’s.
- RiverStone Resort and Spa: What a great place to stay and play! The resort offers log cabin and condominium rentals. All condos come with a full kitchen and washer and dryer. You can choose from 1, 2, 3 or 4 bedroom units. The resort is conveniently located on Dollywood Avenue, about a block away from the main Parkway strip. It is nice and quiet. They have a world class Spa, where they offer massage therapy, facials, pedicures and body treatments and a fitness center for mom and dad. For the kids, they have an indoor pool, playground and game room, as well as an outdoor Lazy River, which was a big hit! The resort was a nice place to come back to in the afternoons for some down time where the kids could swim, relax and have more fun.