Tucked in the foothills of the Great Smoky Mountains lies the small town of Pigeon Forge, Tennessee. Home to just over 6,000 people, Pigeon Forge may seem quiet and unassuming to the untrained eye. However, dig a little deeper and you’ll find a world of wonder and excitement just waiting for you to explore. Pigeon Forge is home to a wide array of gift shops, museums, restaurants, and theaters. So no matter where your passions lie, you’re sure to find something to pique your interest. This guide to some of the best things to do in Pigeon Forge will help you make the most of your next trip to this wacky and wonderful town.
Located roughly 2,500 miles east of the infamous San Francisco prison, Alcatraz East Crime Museum delves deep into the history of American crime. Through interactive exhibits and exclusive artifacts, this museum provides visitors the unique opportunity to step into history and experience what life was like behind bars. Among the more recognizable artifacts on display at this museum include Ted Bundy’s VW Beetle and the white Ford Bronco from OJ Simpson’s infamous police chase. Visitors can test their skills in a Wild West-themed shooting gallery, attempt to beat a lie detector test, and use forensic science techniques to investigate a mock crime scene. For more information or to purchase Alcatraz museum tickets, click here.
WonderWorks will turn all previous notions of museums upside down—literally. Housed in an upside-down building, WonderWorks touts itself as an amusement park for the mind and invites visitors to interact and experiment with the world around them. Experience 70 mph winds in a hurricane simulator, put your courage to the test on a bed of nails or tap out a tune on a giant piano. You can also travel far beyond earth’s reach as you suit up in a life-size replica of an EVA spacesuit and attempt to safely land a space shuttle in a digital simulation. WonderWorks also houses a glow in the dark ropes course, 4D theater, and a laser tag arena.
Climb aboard one of the most famous ships to ever set sail and embark on a journey unlike any other at the Titanic Museum. This experience walks you through the events of that fateful day when the Titanic collided with an iceberg in the North Atlantic Ocean. Staff members wear early 1900s clothing and guide you through exact replicas of the ship’s ballroom, cabins, as well as upper and lower decks. Upon arrival, you’ll receive a boarding pass of an actual passenger or crew member. From there, you’ll be able to trace their story, attempt to send an SOS signal, and strap into a replica of the Titanic’s lifeboats.
Pigeon Forge was so named for its position along the Little Pigeon River. As such, it’s the perfect location to embark on a white water rafting expedition. You’ll find many different rafting companies located throughout Pigeon Forge and the neighboring town of Gatlinburg, all ranging in length and intensity. The company will generally supply equipment, and a skilled guide will accompany you on your voyage. Most rafts can accommodate up to eight people and require little to no prior rafting experience, making it the perfect outdoor activity for families.
If you’d rather fly than float, plan an excursion on one of Pigeon Forge’s many ziplining adventures. These ziplining adventures will allow you to soar through the trees and embrace the beauty of the Great Smoky Mountains from above. If cityscapes are more your speed, you can also zipline over downtown Pigeon Forge at the Dome Ziplines. Other zipline adventures even provide additional hair raising activities, such as a high ropes obstacle course and a suspended sky bridge.
No trip to Tennessee would be complete without a stop at Dollywood. Owned by Dolly Parton herself, this vibrant theme park is easily one of the very best things to do in Pigeon Forge. Dollywood is home to a wide variety of roller coasters and water rides for children and adults of any age to enjoy. Extreme thrill-seekers can take a ride on the Drop Line, a 20-story free-falling experience that provides you with stunning views of the entire park. Those seeking a more mellow ride can strap in for a ride on the FireChaser Express, the nation’s first dual-launch family coaster which travels forward and backward. Between the electrifying roller coasters, interactive education experiences, and toe-tapping theatrical performances, there’s never a dull moment at Dollywood.
Based on the true feud between the Hatfield and McCoy families comes the high-energy Hatfield & McCoy Dinner Feud. Telling the tale of one of the longest-running feuds in history, this dinner show allows you to become part of the action as you attempt to settle the dispute between the Hatfields and McCoys. This dinner show features original songs, diving dogs, and an endless buffet of Southern soul food favorites. You can even taste the moonshine which played an instrumental part in the livelihood of both families.
For many decades, lumberjacks have found their fortune in the forested mountains of Tennessee. Today, these lumberjacks are taking center stage at Paula Deen’s Lumberjack Feud Show. This entertaining event allows lumberjacks to display their strength, skill, and stamina for all to see. Members from two lumberjack teams compete in log roll, speed climb, boom run, and ax throwing competitions to see who will come out on top. During intermission, audience members can even try their hand at sawing logs and splitting wood.
Pigeon Forge may be several hundred miles inland, but that hasn’t stopped the crew of the Pirates Voyage Dinner & Show from setting sail. The crew encourages visitors to this show to join them before the performance and outfit themselves in pirate or mermaid attire. The staff then treats guests to a spectacular performance complete with swashbuckling stunts, daring high-dives, and amazing acrobatic tricks. Tropical birds and a silly yet sweet sea lion make this attraction a memory you won’t soon forget.