Whether you’re making your way to the Great Smoky Mountains for the weekend or planning for the perfect multi-family vacation, Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg are home to loads of things to do with kids — including outdoor activities, rides, games, museums, interactives, shows, and cabin fun! As the premier destination of the South, it can get a little overwhelming when trying to decide what to do with your time in the Smokies that fits your family’s tastes, interests, and budget. We are here to help make planning your kid-friendly itinerary as easy as booking your Pigeon Forge, TN, cabin!
Top 5 Kid-Friendly Activities in Pigeon Forge
Our top 5 kid-friendly list of fun activities includes what each age group will love about the activity, how much it costs, and ways you can save!
Best for: Families with kids of all ages
Cost: Varies by season
Dollywood has been a long-standing staple of the South, and it’s easy to see why — when you walk into the fantastical world that was all part of Dolly Parton’s grand vision. This Southern wonderland is home to over 40 rides, ranging from cutesy rides like Black Bear Trail and Busy Bees to high-flying roller coasters like the Lightning Rod and FireChaser Express.
Theatrical events like you’ve never seen, down-home musical performances from talented singers and dancers, and mouthwatering food only add to the incredibly fun rides. Insider tip for those families who don’t want the fun to end after just one day: if you enter the park after 3 p.m. with a single-day pass, you are granted access to the park again the next day!
Best for: Families with kids of all ages
Cost: $25/child & $33/adult
You are likely to leave WonderWorks not only having had an awesome amount of fun after climbing the rock wall and playing laser tag but also gaining tons of new knowledge you didn’t even realize you were learning! Get “edu-tained” through 150 interactive exhibits that take you and the kids exploring through the rings of Saturn and outer space, geological layers of rock and lava inside the earth, the surreal sciences of physics, and more. Just be sure to give yourself plenty of time to hang out in the upside-down attraction because you can easily spend hours having a blast inside those upturned walls!
- Short Hikes
Best for: Families with kids of all ages
Over 800 miles of trails wind throughout the Great Smoky Mountains leading to waterfalls, breathtaking overlooks, and stunning rock formations. It is one of our favorite attributes of this national park: variety! And speaking of variety, there are short trails that are flat or a quick climb, moderate trails varying in elevations, and long trails that encompass all the different terrains!
If you have kids from 5-10, consider taking short hikes like the 2-mile paved walk to Laurel Falls and the well-maintained 3½-mile trek to the mountaintop prairie of Andrews Bald. These hikes may be short, but they still reward your exercise with soul-stirring views! If you want the low-down on all our favorites, check out these hikes in the Smokies!
- The Escape Game
Best for: Families with kids 7+
Choose your adventure and work against the clock to beat the mob to hidden treasure, save your shuttle and get back to earth, catch the thief who stole an irreplaceable work of art, complete an impossible mission, or bust out of prison — Shawshank Redemption style! With clues all around you and a ticking clock, the whole family will have to use their wits and unique strengths to solve each task to move through the game and beat time to win The Escape Game.
Reviews on The Escape Game are consistently filled with soaring positives like, “awesome” and “best time in Pigeon Forge.” So, during peak season, you will definitely want to schedule your escape ahead of time!
- Ripley’s Attractions
Best for: Families with kids of all ages
Cost: Bundle & Save!
Don’t let the touristy name deter you; Ripley’s attractions are some of the most novelty fun to be had in the Smoky Mountain area. From the award-winning Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies to the supernatural scares of Ripley’s Haunted Adventure, these attractions provide a wide variety of entertainment. The younger ones will love the incredible exhibits and interactive learning of the Ripley’s Odditorium and putt-putting their way through Davy Crockett’s Miniature Golf Course.
Best Kid-Friendly Shows in Pigeon Forge
Pigeon Forge, TN, shows cover several different genres and include musical performances, comedy shows, magic shows, mysterious entertainment (like Murder Mystery), and acrobatic theater. Dinner shows offer a dazzling show combined with good ole country food for families to enjoy, and non-dinner theaters offer great stadium seating plus fantastic entertainment. For the top kid-friendly shows in Pigeon Forge, read on! Of course, these aren’t the only kid-friendly Pigeon Forge shows, but they’re a great start.
As one of the longest-running shows in Pigeon Forge, enjoy watching the hilarious mishaps and fumbles of these Smoky Mountain characters in a show the whole family will love! The Comedy Barn in Pigeon Forge is known for its spunky comedic flare that is also appropriate for young children. This fun, family-oriented Pigeon Forge show is sure to keep YOU and the kids laughing!
Dolly Parton’s Stampede Dinner Attraction
Dolly Parton’s Stampede is a dinner theater experience that is unique in Pigeon Forge. The audience is separated into the North and the South. Each side is represented by a group of trick horse-riding performers. The Pigeon Forge, TN, show performers do some fun horse tricks, play games, and sing and dance for the crowd. By the end of the night, you’ll have a full belly and a smile on your face.
Sweet Fanny Adams Theater
This unique show offers family-friendly comedy and an intimate interaction between the audience and the actors of this 1890s-style theatrical experience. Little ones and teens will be tickled when mom or dad end up dragged onto the stage…
MORE Things to Do with Kids in the Smokies
With a Pigeon Forge cabin in the Smoky Mountains, there are tons of ways to have some kid-inspired fun for the young and young-at-heart. Surprise the kids or let them help plan their Smoky Mountain dream vacation with our awesome extended list of favorite kids’ activities in Pigeon Forge, Gatlinburg, and Sevierville!
Tubing (or Whitewater Rafting!) on the Pigeon River
What better way to cool off in summer than a day on the river? Enjoy the gorgeous scenery while floating lazily down the river on an inflatable tube or get your thrills on with the whole family (kids 7 and up) with a rafting trip down the class III and IV rapids on the Upper Pigeon River!
Nature Scavenger Hunts
While parents are all about the beautiful scenery and lovely mountain views, the kids may be a bit less entertained with a hike. Make it fun with a scavenger hunt involving the hundreds of unique species of birds, trees, and bugs found in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park!
Go-Kart Racing at LazerPort Fun Center
Race the kids along the indoor and outdoor go-kart tracks found at LazerPort Fun Center — a huge facility dedicated to family fun! Squeeze in a few games of laser tag and blacklight miniature golf, too.
Pet Deer, Zebras, and More!
Just down the road in Sevierville, Tennessee, rests the unique Deer Farm and Exotic Animal Zoo the kids are going to love, where little hands can pet and feed all kinds of exotic animals and a few farm animals they recognize, too!
Gem Mining & Goats on a Roof!
Sift through the dirt to find hidden treasure with the kids or ride the mountain coaster before buying some food to feed the hilarious goats found on the roof using a pulley system the little ones are sure to get a kick out of at Goats on the Roof of the Smokies.
Game Night in the Cabin
After numerous adventures and excursions throughout the Smoky Mountains, slow down a bit (but keep the good times rolling) with games like pool, foosball, air hockey, and arcade classics in the rec room at your entertaining Pigeon Forge cabin. Pop some popcorn and let curfews run a little late while the laughs keep filling the cabin.
Roller Coaster on the Mountainside
Smoky Mountain Alpine Coaster is not your average roller coaster! Race down the mountainside in a 2-person cart along the winding tracks with your little one as your screams and laughs fill the forests you fly through.
Horseback Riding Through Waldens Creek
Tour the gorgeous Smoky Mountain terrain on horseback with Waldens Creek Riding Stables where the littlest members of your family (20-40 lbs) can even join the tour on a doubled-up ride.
Carnival Fun at Fannie Farkle’s
Play all your favorite throwback arcade games at Fannie Farkle’s for a carnivalesque day of fun, Ogle Dogs, and funnel cakes in the heart of downtown Gatlinburg!
Outdoor Games at the Cabin
Many of our cabins boast large, spacious decks or landscaped yards where the family can host a big cookout, along with all your favorite outdoor games, surrounded by the beauty of the Smoky Mountains!
Kids’ Obstacle Course at Foxfire Mountain
Foxfire Mountain Adventure Park has something for the whole family, from ziplining to a Kid’s Rope Course! No matter the age of your children, they are sure to be impressed by the Bridge to Prosperity that hangs 70 feet above the river.
Meet 100s of Colorful Exotic Birds
Parrot Mountain and the Garden of Eden is an incredible botanical garden filled with hundreds of brightly colored birds the kids can meet and feed! There’s even a secret garden…
Fight Dragons & Wave Wands in Magiquest
This live-action, role-play game is a unique experience where the kids can be the heroes of their fantastical story as they wield their wand and save the kingdoms!
Train Ride Through the Smokies
Your little ones will love riding the steam and diesel-powered train engines like in the Western movies while parents can sit back and enjoy the scenic views aboard the Great Smoky Mountains Railroad.
Brand-New Lumberjack Feud
With an all-new look and a revamped lumberjack competition, the whole family is totally going to dig this climate-controlled outdoor show. Plus, there’s an intermission that could include one of your own kids in one of the lumberjack competitions!
Magic, Views, and Arcade Games
There may be more to the Gatlinburg Space Needle than you knew. While each ticket lends 2 rides in the glass elevator to the viewing deck over Gatlinburg, standing over 400’ above the streets, there is also a giant arcade, magic shows, and more at the base of the giant needle!
Snow Tubing in Shorts
Pigeon Forge Snow is the first attraction of its kind…in the country! Enjoy watching the kids speed down the snowy lanes and build snowmen in the snow play area while wearing shorts in the 60- to 70-degree temperatures of this awesome facility.
Giant Trampoline Playground
TopJump Trampoline & Extreme Arena in Pigeon Forge is over 5,000 square feet of trampolines, dodgeball arenas, obstacle courses, and so much more! With all this exercise, you are sure to get some quiet time while the kids nap back at the cabin.
Magical Candyland Mini-Golf
Crave Golf Club is one of the coolest miniature golf places in downtown Pigeon Forge, featuring indoor and rooftop courses with 36 holes of play. Plus, there’s an awesome sweets shop, escape rooms, and mini-bowling.
Biking Cades Cove
Rent bikes at the Cades Cove Trading Company store and tour one of the most beautiful areas of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park while the road is closed to cars every Wednesday and Saturday before 10 a.m. (typically May – September). Check out more bike trails!
Family Cabin in Pigeon Forge
So there you have it! There are TONS of ways to have fun with the whole family while staying in a Smoky Mountain abode with Pigeon Forge TN Cabins. Plus, many of these ideas are easy on the wallet…just like our budget-friendly cabins! Pigeon Forge is packed with entertainment, and you should get out and experience this wonderful city, but when you book one of our family cabins with indoor pools or impressive large lodges with rec rooms and home theaters for family reunions, you don’t have to spend ANY extra money to keep the kids entertained and happy while you relax!
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