8 (Budget-Friendly) Things We Love To Do In Pigeon Forge: Kids’ Edition


Coming from a family with 5 children and 2 teachers for parents, vacations were tactfully planned out down to the very cent. My mom still managed to orchestrate the most fun vacations, however, without a big budget and before the internet was something we had 24-hour access to. After years of Smoky Mountain budget-friendly cabin vacations and hundreds of memories with my siblings that still crack me up to this day, I know there are plenty of ways to experience Pigeon Forge without spending a fortune!

Here are our top 8 favorite things to do with kids in Pigeon Forge (in no particular order) without the Dollywood price tag but with all the fun the kids can stand to have during your cabin vacation:

*Tax not included

  1. Parrot Mountain and Garden of Eden
    1471 McCarter Hollow Rd
    Pigeon Forge, TN 37862

    This magical place will have the kids’ mouths open in constant awe! For just $9.95* for children ages 2-11 and $19.95* for adults ages 12+, tour the pristine gardens filled with approximately 70 exotic birds from all over the world. Touch and feed these amazingly beautiful creatures with the assistance of knowledgeable resident professionals. The talkative inhabitants are very photogenic if you would like to take some selfies with them, too!

    As an added feel-good extra: most of these birds are rescues from bad or neglectful situations and have found a good home among the aviary and gardens. A visit to the nursery is heartwarming as you and the little ones can watch hatchlings wrestle their way out of their eggs, cheer them on as they make their first steps, and cup them in your hands. In the large aviary, the Cockatoos and Macaws will tell you that they “love you” and whistle for your attention. Bring a few quarters to buy seed from the bubble gum machine!

  2. The Island in Pigeon Forge
    131 The Island Drive
    Pigeon Forge, TN 37863

    With no entry fee and free parking with a shuttle service, you can spend as little or as much as you would like. All the kid-friendly fun is relatively cheap or free inside The Island! My family and I recently traveled to Pigeon Forge, and we loved the Show Fountains. Snag a few rocking chairs a little before the top of the hour or half hour (the shows start approximately every 30 minutes) and settle in for a spectacular musical with pop hits choreographed with hundreds of lights and streams of water shooting high into the air. My siblings and I are all in our 20s, and we could easily have sat there for the same show for multiple hours.

    If your little ones aren’t too little, the evening shows are really awesome in the night sky with the Great Smoky Mountain Wheel in the backdrop. Explore beyond the fountains and discover a unique, giant jungle-gym with ziplines, rope courses, and a bungee jump! Rides, snacks, meals, and shopping, it’s easy to make a day of The Island!

  3. Wears Farm City Park
    623 Wears Valley Rd
    Pigeon Forge, TN 37863

    For families with young kids who really need to be tired so you can peacefully enjoy your cabin’s hot tub, this big, FREE park is your saving grace. Stationed along the Pigeon Forge Fun Time Trolley route, the beautiful Wears Farm City Park boasts tons of playground and recently-installed equipment for your little ones to run themselves ragged with other kids. All the while, you can relax under the pavilion with snacks and water, watching them build-up to a fantastic nap back at the cabin. Again, this attraction is totally free with a huge pay-off for everyone.
  4. The Coaster at Goats on the Roof
    1341 Wears Valley Rd
    Pigeon Forge, TN 37863

    These single-car coasters pack a whole lot of fun! From the slow climb up the mountain to the curvy descent down the mountainside, you are in for a wild ride. Take a single or double car through the forests as you control the speed of your car with the cart’s hand brakes. Kids as young as 3 to 6 years old can ride with a parent for $5 with the purchase of the adult ticket for $15. Kids ages 7 to 12 years are just $12 and can zoom down the mountain solo if they are at least 4 ½ feet tall.

    This is another one my siblings and I recently did and had a blast while talking smack to one another the whole way up the mountain and screaming the whole way down. I was terrified, while the small children behind me were beyond excited. Afterwards, check out the cute gift shop and, of course, the goats on the roof! My mom got a huge kick out of purchasing the cheap food pellets and using the metal pulley system to feed them; she enjoyed it so much so that we had to remind her to let the “other kids” have a turn.

  5. Pigeon Forge Snow
    2533 Teaster Ln
    Pigeon Forge, TN 37863

    It may be cold weather fun, but you can play in this snow in shorts! Made with real snow from 100% water (NO additives) and maintaining interior temperatures of 60 to 70 degrees, it is the first attraction of its kind in the U.S.! It’s practically a guarantee your kids will love it, as many reviewers report going back twice in the same day at the kids’ request.

    Tube down the frosty slopes or play in the Snow Play area making snow angels and snowmen with the kids without ever having to make a reservation, unlike outdoor snow tubing in the area. Tickets at $21.99* give tubers as many rides in an hour as they’d like, as long as they are at least 38” tall. Smaller children can play in the Snow Play area for 30 minutes for just $7.99*; if their older siblings wanted to join them, purchase a combo ticket for them at a discount of $3 ($26.99*). At Pigeon Forge Snow, you won’t have to worry about cold temperatures dampening their snowy thrills!

  6. MagiQuest
    2491 Parkway
    Pigeon Forge, TN 37863

    The geek in me really wishes this attraction was around for my awkward, Lord of the Rings obsession pre-teen years, but your kids will get a huge kick out of this. For an hour to an hour and a half, they will enter into a magical world with a new identity and a wand where they will have to work together with their other magic friends to complete each task and save the kingdom.

    Known as LARP-ing (live action role play), kids will use their minds and “powers” to solve puzzles and defend their “fellowship” against evil inside the castle that is MagiQuest. $26.99 gives them a wand of their own to keep and the 90-minute adventure, while $21.99 provides your little LARPer with a loaner wand and access to the other 3 attractions inside of MagiQuest: Pirate Golf, Odyssey Mirror Maze, and the Vault (think Mission Impossible laser room).

  7. The Tomb
    2528 Parkway
    Pigeon Forge, TN 37863

    Sister to the attraction MagiQuest, The Tomb is an awesome escape game the whole family can do together. Children ages 4 to 12 years old are only $10.99*, while adults are just $3 more! Inside the pyramid, your group must solve the puzzles and keep your wits among the ominous corridors while trying to escape in under 45 minutes before feeling the vengeful wrath of the Pharaoh. Using state-of-the-art effects and equipment, The Tomb is a unique experience with reviewers and journalists boasting its thrills and fun. As these escape game attractions grow in popularity, The Tomb is one of the more reasonably priced experiences of its kind, while touting an impressive reputation. So, band together and escape The Tomb before you and the kids become the Pharaoh’s new roommates!
  8. Big Top Arcade
    3275 Parkway
    Pigeon Forge, TN 37863

    Did you think we could create this list and not include at least one arcade? This is Pigeon Forge, people; arcades from 20 years ago are still alive and well! Well, with new games, of course. That was something my mom knew well. A little money goes a long way in an arcade if she paced us. That taught us a valuable lesson: stop putting our money in those coin drop and claw machines and have as much fun as possible. And boy, is it very possible at Big Top Arcade! Another consistent contender on the “Best of” charts on TripAdvisor, Big Top boasts all the classics and the newest games along with a staff so great, that they are applauded just as much as the fun in the reviews. Work together as a family to earn some of the more awesome prizes; Big Top has a huge selection that includes iPads!

So, there they are, our favorite cheap-ish, fun things to do in Pigeon Forge with kids, besides the obvious of playing games in the rec rooms and watching movies in your cozy Pigeon Forge Tennessee Cabin or exploring the beauty of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park!