Smoky Mountains, TN - Sevierville, Pigeon Forge & Gatlinburg - Vacation Travel Guide

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Smoky Mountains Area Features

Family Fun in the Smokies

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Family fun and entertainment await you in the Smoky Mountains. This is a place where exciting activities are everywhere. From captivating shows to cool exhibits at an interactive museum, the Smoky Mountains is a great place for families to explore and play. The best part is the great memories you’ll take home with you.


Since you’re in Tennessee (home of “Music City”), musical performances are king! And when it comes to theatrical entertainment, the venues in the Smokies are dazzling. Take in some foot-tapping country music at the variety shows offered at Smoky Mountain Opry or the Country Tonite Theatre. To see some interesting friendly competition, buy tickets to Paula Deen’s LumberJack Feud Show And Adventure. The challenges performed by the lumberjack’s are amazing! There are even side-splitting comedy routines and intense magical shows that will leave you mystified.

Dinner Shows and Attractions

Several shows in the Smokies offer dinner, serving up great food along with fantastic performances. These include: Dolly Parton’s Stampede Dinner Attraction; Dolly Parton’s Pirates Voyage; the Hatfield & McCoy Dinner Feud; and the Great Smoky Mountain Murder Mystery Dinner Show. Take your pick (but don’t forget to buy combo tickets) and watch some unforgettable acts!


Country music legend and Hollywood star Dolly Parton was raised in Sevier County with strong family values. She was taught to love and respect other members of the community and to build relationships through fun activities. One of the star attractions in Pigeon Forge, Dollywood, is formed around these core principles with amazing rides, entertaining shows and the chance to spend time together. The excitement doesn’t stop at this brilliantly themed park, especially when you’re crashing down into the water on the Daredevil Falls log flume ride or looping around the Tennessee Tornado roller coaster. There’s even a waterpark, Splash Country, with thrilling slides and tubing rides that are sure to delight. Everyone is bound to have a sensational time at Dollywood.

Rainforest Adventures Discovery Zoo

Get a little wild at Rainforest Adventures Discovery Zoo. The nearly 600 animals, reptiles and birds that reside here are a sight to behold at both indoor and outdoor exhibits. Watch as monkeys and lemurs frolic before visitors, amusing them with their antics. Ever heard of the mata mata? It’s here and one of the strangest turtles you’ll ever see! Other species including the golden-headed lion tamarin and the South American kinkajou are hard to see in the wild—even if you travel to the animals’ native homelands. However, the Rainforest Adventures Discovery Zoo gives everyone the chance to see these remarkable creatures up close.

Smoky Mountain Deer Farm Exotic Petting Zoo

At the Smoky Mountain Deer Farm Exotic Petting Zoo, you interact with many of the animals! Watch the kids’ eyes light up as they feel the velvet antlers of a real-live reindeer. They’ll think they’re visiting Santa! This one-of-a-kind zoo also lets its visitors feed a few of the more docile animals, play among the baby deer and pet exotic zebras and llamas. Horseback riding is also offered at the Deer Farm Riding Stables. The experiences that can be had at the zoo and stables will last a lifetime!

Ripley’s Aquarium

For aquatic species, take another exploration of the wild in Gatlinburg at Ripley’s Aquarium. Learn about fish, amphibians and creatures of the sea as you walk past the many tanks in which they reside. You’ll even have the opportunity to interact with some of the sea creatures such as starfish and horseshoe crabs.

Parrot Mountain and Gardens

Bird enthusiasts should definitely plan to visit Parrot Mountain and Gardens. This sanctuary for our feathered friends offers visitors the chance to wander landscaped gardens while meeting and feeding the resident birds. True to its name, parrots, toucans, and other tropical birds fly overhead and climb on your arms. Visit the hatchery where there may be a chance to see a baby emerging from its shell. And if you’ve ever dreamed of owning your own singing parrot, Parrot Mountain even sells some of its birds. They’ll teach you how to care for your new pet and can even transport it to your home—talk about a souvenir!


Local museums in Pigeon Forge are all about having fun while learning. At WonderWorks, an interactive experience awaits families with older children and teens with hours of educational activities in a playful setting. You can be a human lightning rod in one “experiment” or feel yourself flying while watching a movie in the 4D XD Simulator Ride Motion Theater. You can also see The Wonders of Magic show, try an indoor ropes course, and play laser tag! Hours can be spent exploring all of the “Wonder Zones” at WonderWorks.

Alcatraz East Crime Museum

Glimpse back into sordid tales from the past at the Alcatraz East Crime Museum. Young and old detectives in the making may want to snoop around the exhibits that delve into notorious crimes that took place in America. Inside the “prison,” visitors can solve crimes with tools typically used by detectives and police. You can see how crime doesn’t pay while learning about consequences that have been enforced over the years. There are also interesting artifacts including actual getaway cars, prohibition badges, celebrity mug shots, and “Old Smokey”—Tennessee’s electric chair. At the Salem Witch Trials exhibit, stick your head and hands in the stockades.
Don’t worry, you won’t be convicted of witchcraft!

Titanic Museum

Just a block or so away is the Titanic Museum. With a likeness of the big ship as part of the building’s exterior, it’s hard to miss this destination! Once aboard, you’ll see the Titanic as it was in its former splendor—from the grand staircase to the intricate clothing that would have been worn by the ship’s elite passengers. Artifacts including silverware, life jackets, and personal items that have emerged from the 1912 tragedy are on display, providing glimpses of the people who sailed on the ill-fated vessel.

Hollywood Wax Museum

Meanwhile, pop culture awaits those who visit the Hollywood Wax Museum in Pigeon Forge. Feel free to stand beside one of the many celebrities you’ll “encounter” such as Taylor Swift, Dale Earnhardt Jr., or even John Wayne. Sit on the bus stop bench with Forrest Gump and pose for a memorable family photo. This building, which has King Kong and a Hollywood version of Mount Rushmore on its exterior, also contains: Hannah’s Maze of Mirrors; the scary zombie attraction, Outbreak: Dread the Undead; and Castle of Chaos—a 5D adventure! It’s possible to play all day here!

Competitive Games & Sports

When was the last time the parents challenged the kids and putted around a mini-golf course in search of that elusive hole-in-one? Sometimes it takes a vacation to find time to play these competitive games. Wind past waterfalls and through ancient ruins and caves at Professor Hacker’s Lost Treasure Golf. The family can also engage in some friendly rivalry at Dubby’s Lazer Port Fun Center in a thrilling game of laser tag or a round of blacklight mini-golf. Another fun, safe place where both children and adults can expel their energy while jumping, climbing and playing is TopJump Trampoline Park. Here, you’ll find an arcade, the Clip ‘N Climb obstacle course, and of course, some springy trampolines. The kids will literally be bouncing off the walls!


At MagiQuest, try your skills at any one (or all) of the attraction’s games. In addition to a huge mirror maze and mini golf, there’s also The Vault—where the daring try to navigate around a laser-light obstacle course—as well as the MagiQuest adventure itself. Using a magic wand, participants are able to reveal clues that will help them complete their epic quest.

While visiting the Great Smoky Mountains, we hope you make time to explore these fantastic places. Offering educational interactions, cool exhibits, fabulous shows, and countless opportunities for good old-fashioned (and modern) fun, this area is packed with superb prospects for exceptional family-bonding activities.

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