By Darryl Payne
Posted on July 7, 2016
From entertaining shows and breathtaking rides to interactive games to test your skills, Pigeon Forge has something fun for the whole family.
In summer, Dollywood is open from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m., so you can enjoy a full day of thrills, complete with a fireworks show at night. One of the most popular family rides is the Fire Chaser Express, the nation's first dual-launch family roller coaster. Because the height requirement is only 39", this is a nice ride for both younger and older kids.
Smoky Mountain River Rampage is another favorite excursion during July and August. This whitewater rafting ride carries you down a splashy artificial river. You're sure to get soaked, but that's part of the fun.
Of course, Dollywood has plenty of age-appropriate rides and games for all ages - from toddlers to tweens and teens.
Titanic Museum Attraction
If you need a break from the heat, the Titanic Museum Attraction is an entertaining and educational way to pass a few hours in air-conditioned comfort. This feature is engaging for kids - the building looks like a giant ocean liner sticking out of an iceberg - but is also interesting for adults. The museum is a multimedia experience that highlights the stories of the passengers and crew who sailed on the Titanic.
You'll see real artifacts from the ship, sit in a lifeboat, and listen to the recorded stories of real passengers as told in their own voices. There's even a baby grand piano in the lobby where you can try your hand at Nearer My God to Thee, the song the ship's musicians played as she sank, or any other tune that strikes your fancy. The museum staff are decked out as crew and their period costumes help bring the story to life.
Pigeon Forge has a different kind of amusement park for you. WonderWorks is known as an amusement park for the mind, and there's plenty inside to keep you busy for hours.
The whole "upside-down" building features over 100 hands-on exhibits and interactive displays in six Wonder Zones that include Natural Disasters, Physical Challenges, Light & Sound, Space Discovery, Imagination Lab, and the Far Out Art Gallery. Sit in a replica restaurant booth in the Earthquake Café and feel the power of a 5.3 magnitude earthquake, or head over to Hurricane Hole, where you can feel winds of up to 71 mph. There's so much to discover at WonderWorks that it's worth leaving the whole day open to enjoy it at leisure.
Country Tonight Theatre
There's a reason Country Tonight is voted Best Show in the Smokies year after year. It's so well done that even people who don't like country music love it. The performance features singing, dancing, special effects, comedy, costumes, and songs that everybody knows - including kids.
Be sure to check their celebrity concert series schedule because notables such as Brenda Lee, the Oak Ridge Boys, and Loretta Lynn have been known to stop in. There's a show nearly every night of the week, and a 3 p.m. matinée on Tuesdays and Thursdays. If you can, buy your tickets online to score a $5 discount.
Magic Beyond Belief
Magic Beyond Belief is getting attention as one of Pigeon Forge's best shows. The magician at the heart of the show, world-class entertainer Darren Romeo, recently won Entertainer of the Year and Magician of the Year, and his performance won Show of the Year.
History buffs, you may want to do a little homework. Romeo performs the famous Blackstone floating light bulb illusion, a trick in which the magician lights up a floating light bulb. This is a turn-of-the-century illusion that can be performed by only two magicians in the world.
Magic Beyond Belief is a two-hour magical revue featuring mind-bending illusions and magic tricks, comedy, celebrity impressions, music, and exotic animals.
The Island, located in the heart of Pigeon Forge, has something entertaining for all ages. Young kids can take an easy spin on colorful, crazy "cars," ride the Island Express train, and explore the Island Mirror Maze. Older kids love Arcade City, a state-of-the-art arcade with skill games, and the 7D Dark Ride Adventure, a modern interactive experience that makes "riders" feel they're on a roller coaster without leaving their seats.
The whole family can join in at the Island Show Fountain, a lighted musical fountain that performs every 30 minutes; the Great Smoky Mountain Wheel, a slow gondola-style Ferris wheel; and Thunderdome, a futuristic dome that contains four giant trampolines.
Whether you catch a show, ride the family-friendly roller coasters, or play interactive games, Pigeon Forge has so many new and exciting attractions you may need to extend your vacation in order to fit it all in.
About Darryl Payne
Darryl Payne is a native of East Tennessee in the foothills of the Great Smoky Mountains. He is a web developer with a passion for building great websites. As a local, he can offer a unique perspective on where to stay and things to do while on vacation in the Smokies. To read his latest recommendations, please click the Google+ follow button.