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Pigeon Forge: Family entertainment in the Great Smoky Mountains

November 1, 2016
By Kristy MacKaben - For Mirror Moms , Mirror Moms

Nestled in the Great Smoky Mountains sits Pigeon Forge - an eclectic hub of nonstop entertainment. The flash and hustle of Pigeon Forge is akin to a family-friendly, more low-key Las Vegas.

Take in a myriad of shows - magic, comedy and country music. Amusement rides are plenty, including those at the Dollywood theme park, and there are plenty of restaurants to try and shops to explore. Nearby, explore the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, and hike parts of the Appalachian Trail.

You'll need more than just a weekend to experience Pigeon Forge and the kids will be begging for a return trip.

Margaritaville Island Hotel

This fun hotel sits in the middle of the hustle and bustle of Pigeon Forge's newest entertainment complex, The Island. The hotel, which features a rooftop pool and margarita makers in every room, is within walking distance of restaurants, shops and rides at the Island.

Dollywood's DreamMore Resort

Perfect for families planning to visit the Dollywood theme park, the DreamMore Resort is situated on 100 acres next to the parks. When you're not playing at the theme parks, unwind at the pool or relax around the fire pit or lounge in the hammocks outside.

RiverStone Resort & Spa

Get pampered at the RiverStone Resort & Spa. Situated on the Little Pigeon River with views of the Smoky Mountains, the RiverStone Resort features a lazy river spanning the property, and an onsite spa. Stay in one of the condos or cabins with full kitchens and fire places.

The Old Mill

Get your fill of southern eats at The Old Mill Restaurant, located in a charming shopping village off the main drag in Pigeon Forge. Homemade fritters and maple butter are served in baskets before each meal. Try the southern fried chicken, fried catfish sandwich or chicken and dumplings, and leave room for the "made from scratch" pies.

Paula Deen's Family Kitchen

The famous chef doesn't disappoint at this southern cooking restaurant, which recently opened in the new Island entertainment complex in Pigeon Forge. Stuff yourself with fried chicken, pot roast, fried pork chops, okra, creamed corn, biscuits, and mac and cheese, which is all served family style. The ooey gooey butter cake can't be passed up.


Ask for breakfast suggestions, and most people in Pigeon Forge will point you in the direction of Flapjack's. True to its name, Flapjack's is a pancake house serving up phenomenal, from-scratch pancakes. The more unique the better--try the southern pecan, sticky bun or Grandma's peanut butter and banana pancakes. Eggs, waffles, French toast, and other breakfast goodies are also on the menu. And if you're not in the mood for breakfast, try the sandwiches or burgers.


It's nearly impossible to visit Pigeon Forge and not spend the day at Dollywood - a theme park and water park, owned by country music legend Dolly Parton. Visit the theme park for the rides, but also for the entertainment. Fifteen shows are performed daily, along with a handful of festivals throughout the year. Separate from the theme park is the water park, which is open Memorial Day to Labor Day.

Dixie Stampede

Country music is a draw in Pigeon Forge, and of course Dolly Parton is the queen of country in this town. Dolly Parton's Dixie Stampede is a good choice for country music entertainment. Start the night with a country hoedown in the barn, then enjoy a four-course meal while watching a patriotic-themed horse show. The tricks are impressive and the music and special effects are entertaining. Kids will enjoy waving flags for their team and rooting for their favorite horse and rider.


Drive past this upside down house, and kids will beg to go inside. An interactive science museum or sorts, the WonderWorks features science and technology-themed rides, and hands-on exhibits. Traverse a ropes course hanging above the museum's exhibits. Lay on a bed of nails. Play with a gigantic light peg set and dance with your shadows.

Outdoor Gravity Park

As of this summer, Outdoor Gravity Park was the only one of its kind in the country. Slip on a swimsuit, and slide into a huge inflatable balls filled partly with water. Three people are allowed in each ball, which, after being pushed, steamrolls down a bumpy, hilly course. Riders in the ball are given a GoPro device to record the wild ride, which lasts about two minutes.

Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Take in breathtaking views of the Great Smoky Mountains while hiking along trails-some which connect to the Appalachian Trail. Walk out to Clingmans Dome, the highest point in the Smoky Mountains and the highest point in Tennessee, where you can enjoy 360-degree views of the Smokies. Visit the Rockefeller Memorial at Newfound Gap, where President Franklin Roosevelt dedicated the Great Smoky Mountains as a National Park in 1940.

Hollywood Wax Museum

Dress up in costumes and pose with your favorite (or not-so-favorite) celebrities. Kids will get a kick out of the lifelike wax figures. You'll find country music greats, actresses and actors and political figures.



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