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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A myriad of exciting opportunities for fun and entertainment await your family in the Smoky Mountains. From theatrical dinner attractions to complexes with rides and amusements, there is no shortage of fun times that can be experienced throughout the area. Grab your family and go make some memories!


The local darlin’ of the Smoky Mountains is Dolly Parton. She was raised in Sevier County with strong family values and was taught to love and respect other members of the community and have fun together. One of the star attractions in Pigeon Forge, Dollywood, helps families build upon 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.

Interactive Museums and Attractions

In Pigeon Forge, the local museums 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.

While you’re in the area, take a tour of the Titanic Museum just a block or so away—with a likeness of the big ship as part of the building, 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.

For another interesting look at the past, visit 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 for a cool photo to take home!

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!

Active Games

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. 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. 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!


When it comes to theatrical entertainment, the venues in the Smokies are dazzling. And since you’re in Tennessee (home of “Music City”), musical performances are king! Take in some foot-tapping country music at the variety shows offered at Smoky Mountain Opry or the Country Tonite Theatre. There are even side-splitting comedy routines and intense magical shows that will leave you mystified.

For non-stop excitement for the whole family, don't miss Paula Deen's Lumberjack Feud Show and Adventure, opening in the summer of 2018. Featuring outdoor high-energy lumberjack competitions, audience members can also join the lumberjacks onstage for interactive participation.

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 Celebration; 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!

Animal Experiences

Get a little wild at Rainforest Adventures 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.

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.

Finally, there is probably not a better place for bird enthusiasts to visit than   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!

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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