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’s New in Pigeon Forge

whats new_shortFamilies return to Pigeon Forge, Tennessee year after year for the town’s unique character and fun attractions. But this year when you plan your visit to East Tennessee, be ready to check out what’s new in Pigeon Forge. The parkway has many great additions that will make your 2016 vacation to the Smoky Mountains better than ever.

Here is a list of what’s new in Pigeon Forge 2016:

Pigeon Forge Welcomes New Lodging in 2016

Pigeon Forge is particularly well known for its lodging accommodations. Between cabin rentals, campgrounds, hotels and motels, there is a great variety of places to stay in Pigeon Forge. But in summer 2016 you can expect a Courtyard Marriot to open and offer a new upscale hotel to the area.

New and Improved Dinner Shows and Theaters

Hatfield and McCoy Dinner ShowThis year when you are planning your vacation, consider saving dates to go to a dinner shows and theaters. One fresh act that is a big hit so far this year is the Impossibilities: Magic, Mindreading and Mayhem show. Another longtime favorite is the Hatfield & McCoy Dinner Show, only this year you can expect an exciting twist. Starting this summer, they now present Diving Hillbillies. Fan’s say it is “a splash of fun for the whole family!”

Heart Pumping Attractions

As the weather gets warmer, vacationers love to enjoy outdoor activities like white water rafting, ziplining and other adrenaline rushing attractions in Pigeon Forge. Some thrilling attractions that are new in Pigeon Forge 2016 are the Sevier Air Trampoline Park, TopJump Trampoline Park and Dome and Monster Bust.

Even More Team Building Activities

Team Building in Pigeon ForgeThe Smokies is a great destination for teams and groups to come and work together. 2016 is offering even more bonding opportunities with the opening of Cal Ripkin Experience in the spring. Other new team building activities in Pigeon Forge may also include Trapped Escape Game, The Captured, or America’s Escape Game coming to Gatlinburg this year.


When you plan your vacation, be sure to save time for what’s new in Pigeon Forge 2016.