The quaint town of Pigeon Forge is known for its family friendly fun. Between the outdoor activities available at The Great Smoky Mountain National Park and attractions teeming with entertainment it’s easy to please the whole family on your vacation – including your children. If you’re searching for the best things to do in Pigeon Forge for kids read on.
Explore the Smoky Mountains
There are over 500,000 acres to explore in the Smokies, and almost as many ways to make the experience uniquely yours. Several easy hikes, such as Laurel Falls, give you a glimpse of the beauty of the mountains while not being too strenuous for the kiddos. Plus, they usually have more energy than mom and dad anyway! You can also hitch a ride on a horse at outfits like Sugarland Riding Stables. Giddy up and take to the trails on a gentle mare to see some of scenic sights of the Smokies.
Make a Splash Rafting or Tubing
You might think white water rafting is too much adventure for your kids. Don’t worry, though, as Pigeon Forge rafting companies offer a trip on the lower Pigeon River ideal for families. The 5 ½ mile rafting trip runs about 50 class I and II rapids, with one class III at the very end. With calm waters, and just enough rapids to make a splash, kids ages 3 and up can go on this float. Another super fun thing to do is tubing the river. River Romp and River Rat offer affordable ways for families to enjoy old-fashioned river tubing. Along the way you’ll find swimming holes and rope swings. So. Much. Fun.
Families with kids of all ages will find something to love at Dollywood. There are roller coasters like Wild Eagle ideal for big kids, and traditional fair rides for little ones at the Country Fair section of the park. Make sure you visit during the Great American Summer Festival for even more kid-themed fun. The Smoky Mountain theme park has extended operating hours during this festival and features nightly fireworks, special shows and fun geared just for kids.
Dollywood’s Splash Country
Cool off during your vacation at the only waterpark in the Smoky Mountains. Add aquatic adventure to your day on attractions like RiverRush or take it easy and lounge in the lazy river. The Cacades are a favorite of kids as the lagoon area has over 25 interactive water features. Get ready for a splash battle! The 35 acres of water park fun is the perfect way to cool off on a hot Tennessee day. From mild to wild thrills, Splash Country is a place where families can dive into summer fun.
Become a Junior Ranger
Kids ages 5-12 can become a Junior Ranger on their Pigeon Forge vacation. Pick up a Junior Ranger booklet at any park visitor center. Complete the activities in the booklet then return to the visitor center, talk to a ranger and receiver your Junior Ranger badge. The Junior Ranger badge is available any time of year. In every season but winter Junior Ranger programs designed especially for children are offered as well.
Immerse yourself in the aquatic wonders of Ripley’s Aquarium. Even though you might be miles from the sea this attraction deftly navigates the waters of our world, highlighting a variety of species and exotic sea creatures. My favorite element is the Shark Lagoon, which includes a 340-foot underwater tunnel. Hop on the glidepath through the tunnel and gawk at the stingrays, sawfish, tarpons, sharks, eels and more. Interactive and educational exhibits challenge children while keep their interests. Be sure to touch a stingray and pose with a penguin during your trip.
Kids of all ages find WonderWorks to be engaging, entertaining and educational. Dubbed an amusement park for the mind, the attraction lets you experience an earthquake and hurricane, design your own roller coaster, explore outer space, ride an extreme 360 bike and so much more. There’s even a ropes course and laser tag course where families can challenge each other.
Are any of your kids Harry Potter fans? Then MagiQuest is for them. Using a magic wand visitor’s journey through an interactive magical adventure. Various challenges, puzzles and brave feats let you advance through levels, gaining skill and knowledge along the way. Plus, you can purchase your wand and keep it for return visits to MagiQuest locations across the nation. It remembers everything you accomplish so you can keep playing for years!
Ashley is Reserve Direct’s travel expert, visiting Pigeon Forge to find the best travel tips, money-saving deals and insider information. With over 10 years of experience in first-hand-travel adventures, she shares her stories, advice, and current events to help you stay in the know.