Top 10 Things to Do in Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge for Kids

ripley's aquarium of the smokies
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The Smoky Mountains is one of the top destinations for a family vacation! That’s because there are so many exciting attractions in Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge that the whole family will love — especially the kids. To help you decide what you should do with your kids when you visit, we’ve put together a list of the top 10 things to do in Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge for kids:

1. Dollywood

Dollywood is one of the top attractions for families! Not only are there experiences that the whole family can enjoy together, but there are special rides just for the little ones. Race around a track in a flying elephant or circle around in your very own pig! There are also playgrounds for the kids to let their imagination run wild, like the Firehouse Fun Yard and the Lil’ Pilots Playground. Your kids will have a blast enjoying everything that this world-class theme park has to offer.

2. The Island in Pigeon Forge

The Great Smoky Mountain Wheel at The Island in Pigeon Forge at night.The Island in Pigeon Forge is your one stop for affordable family fun. There are more 60 shops, a number of restaurants, live music, and rides and games that the kids are sure to love. There’s a carousel, a kid-friendly roller coaster, bumper cars, an arcade, and so much more! While you’re there, take the whole family for a ride on the Great Smoky Mountain Wheel, where you can see stunning views of the Smoky Mountains and Pigeon Forge from as high as 200 feet in the air.

3. Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies

Do your little ones love sea animals? Of course they do! Take them to Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies, where they can get up close and personal with all of their favorite aquatic animals. They can touch a stingray, walk through an underwater tunnel below 12-foot sharks, feed a sea turtle, and even waddle with penguins! They’ll have a great time interacting with sea life.

4. Ober Gatlinburg

Ober Gatlinburg SignWhile Ober Gatlinburg is popular during the winter season for skiing, snowboarding, and tubing, it’s a fun attraction all year long! Kids especially enjoy playing mini golf, ice skating, riding a mountain coaster, and seeing wildlife. They even have their own space in Kiddie Land! There are tunnels, swinging bridges, a web crawl, ladders, and slides for them to enjoy.

5. Gatlin’s Fun Center

Gatlin’s Fun Center is your one stop for fun in Gatlinburg! There is mini golf, an escape game, laser tag, and more. Kids love racing each other on Atomic Rush, a new attraction that combines the classic games of Simon Says and Whack-A-Mole! For a unique mini golf experience, play the indoor Blacklight Golf Course, which takes you under the sea as you putt around a giant octopus, a mermaid, dolphins and more.

6. Anakeesta

The scenic Firefly Village at Anakeesta in Gatlinburg.Anakeesta is the perfect attraction for families to experience the magic of the mountains together. Both parents and kids love everything Anakeesta has to offer, from stunning views to outdoor adventures. Take your kids to the Treehouse Village Playground, which will build their strength and confidence around every turn. They’ll also love the Anakeesta Gem Mine, which includes an interactive waterfall and sluice that allows for them to search for a special gemstone.

7. The Track

Does your child have a need for speed? Take them to race go karts in the Smoky Mountains! The Track has its very own Rookie Karts and Kiddie Karts where your little one can take the wheel as they race around. After you finish your go-kart adventure, enjoy the rest of the fun offered at The Track, like kid rides, bumper cars, and an arcade.

8. Crave Golf Club

Crave Golf ClubWhat do kids like more than mini golf? Candy! They can have both when you visit Crave Golf Club in Pigeon Forge. Putt through cliffs made of cocoa, ice cream canyons, and sugar safaris as you make your way around this course that’s sure to satisfy your sweet tooth. Game spinners at every hole offer a unique twist and make the game even more fun! After you finish the course, treat the winner to a signature shake from the Milkshake Bar.

9. Gatlinburg Space Needle

The Gatlinburg Space Needle is fun for everyone in the family. Kids will love getting in the glass elevator and watching the ground disappear below them as you ride more than 400 feet up to the top of the observation tower. Admire panoramic views of Gatlinburg and the mountains before heading back down and taking the kids to Arcadia, Gatlinburg’s largest family fun arcade attraction with more than 100 of the hottest games.

10. Ripley’s Believe It or Not!

The lobby of Ripley's Believe It or Not in Gatlinburg.Step inside the world of strange and unusual when you visit Ripley’s Believe It or Not! in Gatlinburg. Ripley’s Odditorium is 3 stories full of more than 500 exhibits, artifacts, and oddities from all corners of the world. Kids love all the interactive experiences the museum has to offer, as well as seeing all the unusual items, like an albino giraffe and a car covered in crystals!

These are just some of the many kid-friendly things to do in Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge! Start planning your trip by checking out more exciting things to do in the Smoky Mountains.

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