Tag Archives: things to do in pigeon forge

5 Free Family Activities In Pigeon Forge

free things to do in pigeon forge

Smoky Mountain memories that last a lifetime don’t have to come with a steep price tag. In fact, you’ll find dozens of free things to do and enjoy all along the Parkway. Here are 5 of our favorite totally free things to do with the family in and around Pigeon Forge.

old mill pigeon forge

1. Visit the Old Mill District

Take a stroll back in time by exploring the Old Mill District in Pigeon Forge. Without spending a dime, you and your family can see a working flour mill nearly two centuries old, sample old-fashioned sweets and even feed the ducks. If you’re feeling spendy, consider splurging just $3 per person to see the mill up-close with a guided tour.

smoky mountain hiking

2. Take a hike and explore

The Great Smoky Mountains National Park is doesn’t charge an entry fee, which means you and your family can take in all of nature’s splendor at no charge. Hike more than 800 miles of trails, explore historical areas like Cades Cove, splash in waterfalls and interact with exhibits in the Sugarlands Visitor Center all without dropping a single dime.

3. Check Out The Glades

The Glades, located in nearby Gatlinburg, is a unique district of art studios, galleries and venues. Many of the artists at work here practice centuries-old folk arts and crafts, creating original pieces including candles, baskets, quilts, brooms, pottery, jewelry, dolls, ceramics, scrimshaw, silversmithing, leather, stained glass, wearable fashions, fine photography, frameable art, oils, watercolors and more. It’s free to explore the neighborhood – and you’ll likely find many opportunities to learn more from the artists at work as you wander. See demonstrations, hear histories and more as you interact with these skill artisans.

pigeon forge biking

4. Bike the greenway

There is no better way to see the beautiful sights Pigeon Forge has to offer. The greenway runs along the Little Pigeon River and stretches across four miles. The main entrances can be found in Patriot Park, Jake Thomas Road, and Butler Street at Ashley Avenue. Check out our map for more information on where to begin.

little river railroad company

5. Visit the Little River Railroad & Lumber Company

The Smoky Mountains have a rich history. Head back in time and learn about the region’s logging heritage at the Little River Railroad and Lumber Company in nearby Townsend. This free museum is open year-round and lets history buffs of all ages learn about a turn-of-the-century sawmill and the folks who worker there more than 100 years ago.

Smokies Scavenger Hunt 2017

Grab your favorite group of people and get ready to explore the Great Smoky Mountains like a true adventurer. This weekend (March 24-25, 2017) marks the Great Smoky Mountains Institute at Tremont's annual Smoky Mountains Scavenger Hunt, an exciting event for nature lovers and pathfinders alike.

Fun For All Ages

Since 2010, outdoor enthusiasts and explorers of all ages have teamed up every year to try and snag the winning title and their name on the Hunt Hall o’ Fame plaque. Teams include a range of different kinds of people, from groups of friends and coworkers, to families of children and adults. Some groups dress alike or wear matching team t-shirts to show everyone they mean business!

It's a little different than your typical scavenger hunt in that you're not actually taking things from the park; it's more about collecting information and photos, not physical items. Scavenger hunt rules encourage teams to be very careful about their impact on park resources. Different tasks are worth a different amount of points. For example, you might get the chance to snag a selfie with a park ranger, or take a pencil and paper to get a tombstone rubbing. Perhaps you can identify a certain carving in a certain pew at a certain church in Cades Cove. The questions engage people on the trail and encourage participants to explore the park, including new and unknown places.

A Race To The Finish

There are about 75 questions to complete in a 25 hour time period. Starting Friday afternoon by 3:30 PM, each registered team will receive the list of questions via email. Teams require a digital camera with a flash memory card that they can hand over to the judges at the end of the hunt when they meet back at Tremont no later than 4:30 PM on Saturday.

A Gathering of Nature Lovers

While the scoring is under deliberation, all the teams can enjoy a hot meal and a nice evening gathering under the pavillion. Some small randomly drawn door prizes are distributed among teams that competed, as well as some special prizes to recognize certain achievements. All teams must have completed the hunt and be onsite at the event during the giveaway to receive the prizes, so don't be late!

Jennifer Jones, President & CEO of the Great Smoky Mountains Institute at Tremont, says this is really meant to be a fun, low-stress event, and a unique opportunity to get to explore parts of the park that people may not have seen before. This year it takes place during the first weekend of spring, so what better way to celebrate the wonderful season?

To compete in this exciting event, you must register online and fill out a hunt waiver. Registration is $50 if completed by Thursday, March 23 and $60 if you register day-of. All proceeds benefit programs at the Great Smoky Mountains Institute at Tremont. You can check out the hunt rules and more information on the event website.

Ripley’s Glass Bottom Boats Launches Over Shark Lagoon

Glass Bottom Boat at Ripley's Aquarium of the Smokies

Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies in nearby Gatlinburg has opened up another window to a wondrous underwater world with its newest attraction. The Gatlinburg TN aquarium recently launched its Glass Bottom Boat Adventure, giving visitors of all ages a chance to set out over the calm waters of the Shark Lagoon and get a new view into the habitats of thousands of creatures teeming below.

Glass bottom boat

Travel Under The Sea

Ripley’s Glass Bottom Boat Adventure puts just 3-inches between visitors and the aquatic inhabitants of Shark Lagoon. The 16-foot boats feature a large pane of glass in the center of each vessel’s floor – allowing passengers to peer into the water below to observe the creatures swimming in the reef underneath.

Shark Lagoon

Nearly 85,000 animals reside in the Shark Lagoon, according to information from Ripley’s Aquarium. Visitors will have a chance to see 75 unique species from tropical Atlantic and Caribbean reefs swimming about the Lagoon, including: Green Moray Eels, sawfish, nurse sharks, sand tiger sharks and even a sea turtle. As the boat travels across the lagoon, knowledgeable guides narrate the scenes below and share facts about the creatures below.

The attraction is the only one of its kind in Tennessee and the only similar attraction indoor attraction is at the sister Ripley’s Aquarium of Myrtle Beach in South Carolina. Boats launch approximately every 20 minutes and each ride accommodates approximately 10 guests.


  • What: Glass Bottom Boat Adventure at Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies.
  • Where: Traffic Light #5 on the Parkway in Gatlinburg.
  • When: Open 365 days a year from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday - Thursday and 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. Friday-Sunday.
  • How Much: Tickets are $29.99 for adults and $15.99 for children.
    The Glass Bottom Boat Adventure is not included in the cost of aquarium admission.
  • More Info: Visit the Ripley's Aquarium website to learn more.

Don’t be a landlubber! Make Ripley’s watery wonderland part of your Smoky Mountain experience! Looking for things to do you’ll only find in Pigeon Forge and the Great Smoky Mountains? Explore our Pigeon Forge attractions and start planning your next adventure!

What Type of Pigeon Forge Vacationer Are You?

Pigeon Forge has so many incredible sights and sounds of all varieties that deciding on just a few things to fill your vacation can be nearly impossible. While repeat visits are always the best remedy for that particular problem, it helps to narrow down your interests so you can pick the attractions that appeal most to your idea of “fun.”

To give you a solid idea of what your dream Pigeon Forge vacation could have in store for you, answer the following questions and then total up your corresponding score to see where on the scale your vacation inclination falls!

Question 1: If you could go anywhere in the world for free for one activity, what would it be?

A.    France to sip on wines of the finest vintage (+1)
B.     England to visit Madame Tussauds and Buckingham Palace (+3)
C.     New Zealand to hike along the green hills and mountains from Lord of the Rings (+2)
D.    Does the moon count? Because I wanna go to the moon! (+4)

Question 2: If you were a car, what type would you be?

A.    A Trail Rated Jeep Wrangler (+2)
B.     A Dodge Viper strapped with a jet engine (+4)
C.     A Mercedes Benz with a champagne cooler in the backseat (+1)
D.    A GMC Yukon with a third row seat and a roof rack (+3)

Question 3: What would be your superpower if you could have one?

A.    The ability to read minds (+3)
B.     Teleportation (+2)
C.     Eternal youth (+1)
D.    Super speed (+4)

Question 4: What describes your dream home’s best feature?

A.    A kitchen that prepares your meals autonomously (+1)
B.     A 60-foot water slide (+4)
C.     A noise-proof game room for the kids and one for you and your friends (+3)
D.    A roll up ladder to keep people out of your two-story treehouse (+2)

Question 5: Which of the following celebrities would best be described as “your idol?”

A.    Dolly Parton (+3)
B.     Evel Knievel (+4)
C.     Bear Grylls (+2)
D.    Coco Chanel (+1)

Question 6: You see a bug scurrying across the floor in your house. What do you do?

A.    Call the exterminator and rent a hotel room until they arrive (+1)
B.     Smash it with the closest flat object (+3)
C.     Gently scoop it up and bring it outside (+2)
D.    Try to pick it up and throw it on the nearest person (+4)

Now add up your score!

6–11: Laid-Back Lingerer
Your idea of a vacation is a true “vacation.” You try to exert as little effort as possible while enjoying the finer things. An ideal day for you in Pigeon Forge would involve tasting wine, eating at a nice restaurant and watching a show or a performance. Through it all, the highlight will be the Jacuzzi bath when you get back to the hotel.

Your favorite attractions might be:

  • Mountain Valley Winery
  • Smoky Mountain Opry
  • Parrot Mountain & Gardens
  • Museum of Salt and Pepper Shakers

12–17: Backpacking Buff

You don’t really care much for crowds. When you visit the Great Smoky Mountains, you intend to see them first-hand. An ideal day for you would end with you still in the woods, zipping up your tent flap while the frogs and crickets serenade you to sleep.

Your favorite attractions might be:

  • Great Smoky Mountains National Park
  • Roaring Fork
  • Gatlinburg Sky Lift
  • Big Rock Dude Ranch at Ponderosa

18–23: Family Fun Fanatic

You like a great time, but you don’t want it to be too exhausting. It is a vacation, after all. An ideal day for you would be seeing some interesting museums, enjoying something you haven’t done before like a roller coaster ride and finishing it off with a big meal before heading back to the hotel.

Your favorite attractions might be:

  • Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies
  • Dollywood
  • Dixie Stampede
  • Rock’n Raceway Arcade

24–30: Amped-up Adrenaline Addict

Whoa! Take a few steps back there, wild child! You crave adventure and thrills in any form you can find them. When someone sees an attraction at Pigeon Forge and wonders, “Who in their right mind would ever do that?” you jump out of the bushes behind them and scream, “MEEEEE!!!” Your ideal day in Pigeon Forge would actually be three days, because sleep is for the weak and who wants to miss out on something cool?

Your favorite attractions might be:

  • Outdoor Gravity Park
  • Thunder Dome Bungee at the Island
  • Flyaway Indoor Skydiving
  • Smoky Mountain Ziplines

We hope these suggestions were useful to you and actually gave you some idea of what you would enjoy during your visit to Pigeon Forge. Book a cabin in Pigeon Forge to give some of these attractions a try, and feel free to sample some of the suggestions given to other people to see if maybe you have broader interests than you thought you did.