Pigeon Forge, Tennessee is loaded with countless things to do that your entire family will enjoy. There are so many things to do in Pigeon Forge including the Dollywood theme park, dinner shows, shopping, and numerous other Pigeon Forge attractions like go-kart racing, putt-putt golf and more!
For over a year, the Circus has been talking about going to the Dolly Parton museum (located inside Dollywood) to see Dolly’s dresses. I can’t count how many times she’s mentioned it. We kept meaning to get around to it last year, but that just didn’t happen. So at the beginning of this year, Grunt and I decided that for the Circus’ birthday, her gift from us would be a trip to Dollywood and Pigeon Forge to make her wish come true. Besides that, I love giving her experiences for her birthday rather than loads of gifts.
Grunt and I both love to travel and visit both new-to-us places and old favorites. Of course, we want to pass that love along to the Circus. We love to see her face light up during all our adventures. Our trip to Pigeon Forge proved that she loves adventures and trips just as much as we do. She has yet to stop talking about all the different things we did. I hope she’s always up for an adventure.
Enough sappiness already, right?
Our main purpose of this trip had been to go to Dollywood, but we ended up doing lots more in Pigeon Forge and had an absolute ball. Both Grunt and I were pleasantly surprised with quite a few of the attractions we visited. Here’s the lowdown on where we stayed and everything we did.
A big thanks to the media folks at both Dollywood and My Pigeon Forge for providing us with tickets to multiple attractions in the area.
Where to Stay in Pigeon Forge
Pigeon Forge is full of all kinds of different lodging. There are hotels for just about every budget and you can even rent a cabin in the area. For this trip though, we stayed at Dollywood’s DreamMore Resort.
And it was amazing.
You guys, we were so impressed. We absolutely fell in love with the resort. I never doubted that the resort would be great, but I guess it also never occurred to me just how amazing it would be. I mean, it’s Dolly Parton’s hotel – how could she not do anything less than amazing?!
Isn’t that picture everything? It’s my favorite from the entire trip. If you follow me on Instagram, you might have already seen it there. I titled it “Just Two Girls with Big Dreams.”
It’s not an overly huge resort, so it’s not jammed packed with people, which was a plus for us. It’s just big enough and it has the amenities you would expect at a large resort.
They have a large pool outside and another one inside. We did both of them and enjoyed each. There is also a barn outside where story time is held for kiddos every evening.
Every day from 4pm – 6pm, Dolly’s pink lemonade is served up. We enjoyed quite a few cups of that in rocking chairs that are just about around every corner at the resort.
Of course, Dolly herself is around every corner as well.
We loved seeing all the albums along the walls. The Circus went through pointing to all the ones we had and all the ones she wants.
One of the best things about staying at the DreamMore Resort are the perks you can get at Dollywood. If you stay at the DreamMore and visit Dollywood during your stay, you get a TimeSaver pass good for some of their most popular attractions. That keeps you from having to wait in super long lines at those rides! It’s also good for some of the shows at Dollywood. On top of that, you can also take a shuttle, free of charge, right from the resort to the theme park. They drop you off at an entrance separate from the main entrance and you can walk right in without having to stand in long lines. They’ll pick you back up too!
Things to Do in Pigeon Forge, TN
Pigeon Forge Attractions
There are countless attractions in Pigeon Forge ranging from theme and water parks to shopping, museums, comedy shows, go-karts, arcades and much more. We were in the area for three days and two nights and managed to pack quite a bit into that time period, but there is still so much more we could have done if we had a little bit more time!
I think it might be a sin to visit Pigeon Forge and not go to Dollywood. If you aren’t aware, Dollywood is a theme park that Dolly Parton herself started.
There are lots of rides – and we realized just how much of a daredevil our daughter is.
That’s her and her daddy all the way up there!
There wasn’t a ride she wasn’t up for riding, unfortunately though, her height did knock her out of the running for a few of them. She loved everything she did get to ride though.
One thing that I really love about Dollywood and how I think it differs from other theme parks is that it’s not just rides. Dolly Parton’s museum, Chasing Rainbows, is located in the park and ya’ll, it was just awesome. The museum holds countless artifacts from Dolly’s life. This museum was what the kid has been talking about going to visit for over a year.
You can see her Coat of Many Colors as shown above.
There are also displays from all the various movies she’s been in. The Circus has just discovered the 9 to 5 song, so she was all about seeing the outfits and parts of the set from the movie.
And then she made her way over to The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas display and I thought she would nearly come undone over all those dresses. We have the album, but of course, she’s not quite ready for that movie, although she can’t for the life of herself, understand why. 😉
Dollywood also offers lots of different shows throughout everyday. We didn’t go to any of those, (I was outvoted!), but there were quite a few I would have liked to see that sounded good.
Hollywood Wax Museum
The Circus wanted to visit a wax museum when we were in Nashville this past February, but we didn’t have the time. This trip though, we made it a point to take her to the Hollywood Wax Museum in Pigeon Forge. My stars, y’all, I had no idea how much she would love it. She thought it was so cool to see some of her favorite stars in life size figures.
Grunt also got to make believe for a little while. 😉
It truly is amazing how true to life and real these things look.
The Track Family Fun Park
The Circus wanted to ride some go-carts as well, so we visited The Track Family Fun Park for that. She of course, loved it and would have ridden all day and night if we would have let her. The Track also has Blaster Boats you can ride. I’m not a huge fan of wet rides, so I let her and her daddy do that. Keep in mind though that just because you aren’t in the water, doesn’t mean you aren’t at risk of getting sprayed by the boats. Not that I’m talking from experience or anything. 😉
There’s also an arcade there and just like her Mama, she loves a good arcade. This kid though has the magic touch. She’s now played that game above three different times at two different arcades and each time, she hits the jackpot.
Seriously, if you need an arcade buddy, she’s your girl.
Magiquest, Mirror Maze & Pirate Golf
When the kid saw the big Magiquest building shaped like a castle, she immediately wanted to go in there. Grunt and I didn’t think it would be something that we would really enjoy as we aren’t really into the Harry Potter/Lord of the Rings/Magi stuff like that. But, since it was the kid’s birthday trip, we gave it a whirl.
And we all loved it.
Magiquest is actually four attractions in one – Magiquest, Pirate Golf, Mirror Maze and Laser Challenge. We did the Magiquest first. Each person is given a wand programmed specifically to them and their Magi name, then you have to go through various different spaces that look like an old village and forest to find charms and unlock new levels. We all had a ball doing it.
We also did the Mirror Maze here, the first we’d ever done, and it was a lot of fun, although I’m sure we all looked like idiots holding our arms out everywhere.
And finally, we did a little putt-putt golf, blacklight Pirate style. I didn’t know pirates preferred black lights, but whatever works!
This place is very impressive. As if a huge building made to look like the Titanic isn’t enough, wait until you see everything that’s inside. The museum has very in-depth information relating to the Titanic, crew members and passengers. There are artifacts and even a glacier inside. Sorry for the lack of photos from this place; photos inside the museum weren’t allowed.
Shopping! There is literally a slew of shopping to be had in Pigeon Forge. There are multiple outlet malls and never was I so grateful to have them so close on a trip! Once we got up there, it was more rainy and cooler than we had expected or packed for, and so that sent us to the nearest outlet mall to find some cheap raincoats and a couple of long sleeve shirts to get us through a couple of cool mornings and nights.
The Dolly Parton Statue in Sevierville
If you didn’t know, Dolly is from the area herself and there is a statue of her outside the courthouse in Sevierville. We had a little extra time one night before dinner, so we headed there to take a picture.
Visit My Pigeon Forge for more great attractions in the Pigeon Forge area as well.
Dinner Shows in Pigeon Forge
Pigeon Forge is also loaded down with various types of dinner shows. We had never done a dinner show in Pigeon Forge before, but did two on this trip.
Hatfield and McCoy Dinner Feud
So going into this dinner show, both Grunt and I didn’t really expect much. We were just kind of like, ‘We’ll give it a shot, but won’t be surprised if it’s not very good.’
Well we were wrong.
The Hatfield and McCoy Dinner Feud was so much fun. Now, it doesn’t actually talk about the real facts and information surrounding the real feud that took place between the Hatfields and McCoys (I feel my former history teacher self starting to come out.), but it is hilarious, full of entertainment and just an overall good time.
The Circus was glued to the show the entire time and still talks about her favorite parts from the show. On top of that, she ate more fried chicken than I ever thought her little belly would hold and got worried when she thought the waitress might take it away. If you ever get a chance, go see it!
Dolly Parton’s Smoky Mountain Adventures Dinner Show
To round out our trip, on our last night we went to Dolly Parton’s Smoky Mountain Adventures Dinner Show.
While it was different than the Hatfield McCoy show, it was still just as good. There’s lots of music, dancing, acrobats, comedy and more. Once again, the Circus was glued to the show. She got her face painted just before the show at The Outpost just outside the auditorium where there are games, face painting and refreshments available before every show. And this time around, she cleaned her plate of mac and cheese and baked ham, then jacked both mine and her father’s portions as well. It was a fantastic night.
Another trip in the books for us and another great time had! I’m sure we’ll head back to Pigeon Forge in the next year or two – as soon as the Circus has grown tall enough to ride all the crazy daredevil rides. 😉
Do you have any fun things to do in Pigeon Forge to add to this list?
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Joy Shanor says
You’re really making me want to go to Pigeon Forge immediately!! I haven’t been in about 20 years and there’s so much more there now!
Go, Joy! There were so many new things since I’d been there just a few years ago! It was such a great trip!
OH MY GAWD! What a fun vacation! It brought tears to my eyes knowing Circus had the best time! I love seeing stuff like that through a child’s eye! Magical! Thanks for sharing with all of us!
Oh girl, I teared up a time or two on the trip myself over seeing how much fun she was having!
Wow, looks like an awesome time! I’m tired just looking at all the stuff you did. And hungry, too. LOL
hahahaha! Oh girl, we were tired too – it was worth it though!
Rebecca Campbell says
Love Pigeon Forge! My best friend, her little sister and I along with our respective parents of course, went there as a group every other summer when we were young. That was, however, way before Dollywood. We would stay in Pigeon Forge and drive into Gatlinburg for entertainment. Loved the Ripley’s Believe it or Not Museum. We would also drive all up in the Smokey Mountains just looking at the beautiful scenery.We had loads of fun and never wanted to come home. . The motel we always stayed at served meals family style, big bowls of everything and you just passed it around and helped yourself and it was sooooo good! It was the first place I ever ate grits (yum!) because even though us kids were raised in the South (East Texas) our parents were not Southerns (Canada & Germany) so we did not grow up with the usual Southern fare. I have since made up for that lacking in my upbringing. Hope you have a wonderful day! Later….
Oh wow, Rebecca – what great memories!! Family style was how the meal was at one of the dinner shows we went too and yep, the food was so good! You’ll have to get another visit in the books – there’s so much more now!
Bonnie Schulte says
What a wonderful and exciting trip, thanks so much for sharing it with us. The Circus is adorable, and it was so much fun to see her enjoy everything. You all are one “AWESOME” family. LOVE, love, love!!!!!!!!!!!
Thank you! It was a really great trip, Bonnie! She had an absolute ball – we all did! I’m just glad you guys let me share our fun adventures with you!
I loved this post!!! You describe it so well I feel like I was there. And the photos! What a cutie she knows how to pose. I love that she loves Dolly so much, She has been brought up right!
Oh Shirley, we’re going to have to get you over here sometime! It was such a great trip! And you’re right – she knows how to pose! hahaha!
LYNN OBRIEN says
So cute! I’m all for spending money on experiences instead of “stuff” I am taking my almost 19 year old daughter to the Kennedy Center Thursday night to see Hamilton for her birthday which is July 7th.
Oh wow, Lynn!! That is awesome, I bet she is going to love it. I haven’t seen Hamilton, but have heard so many amazing things about it. I totally agree – experiences are where it’s at!
Marty Oravetz says
This sounds like such a fun trip and I love it when the children love everything about the trip too.
It was, Marty! We had an absolute ball. I’m the same way – nothing better than a trip where EVERYONE has a good time!
Pam S says
wow…Wow!…..WOW!!! We visited there when our daughter was just a little older than Circus. But that was about 125 years ago, when Dollywood was relatively new. We need to get out that way again! Oh, and my favorite pic was the very first one with her eyeballing all those dresses 🙂 What a birthday!
You do need to come visit again, Pam!! This was the first time I really got to explore more of Dollywood and Pigeon Forge and we just enjoyed it all so much! I know – I love that picture too! Between that one and the one of her looking up at Dolly, my eyes get watery.
Susan the Farm Quilter says
Wow, I’ll have to figure out how to take my granddaughters one of these days! Looks like you had the best time ever! Special memories that will last your family a lifetime.
You will, Susan! It was such a great trip!!
Brenda Taylor says
Your little girl’s name is “Circus”. You have set her up for teasing from other children.
That’s just a nickname I use on here, Brenda.
Kari Wagner Hoban says
SO MANY THINGS. First, I apparently need to follow you on Instagram.
Second, that picture IS everything.
Third, we visited Dollywood back in 2007 when I was pregnant with my Ellie. Annie LOVED it, my mom and I LOVED it. So many reasons but the food THE FOOD.
We got to see Dolly’s cabin which was a huge thrill but that dress exhibit wasn’t there and now I want to go back so badly. I know Ellie would love going. We really need to live in Tennessee.
I know – I want to frame so many of the photos from this trip! Yes, the food is great! They were having a BBQ festival while we were there! We saw the cabin as well – didn’t go inside though. You need to plan a trip, girl!!
Christina Westbrooks says
The PF\Gatlinburg area is my second home. My daughter and I would go once a month or so if my husband would let us. The Island is a must if you are in the area. I know it seems a little touristy(even more so than the rest of PF), but the light show at the Fountain and the Wheel are amazing! The Apple Barn is a must visit too. Although it isn’t a museum, they have some tasty treats(and the Applewood Farmhouse restaurant is to die for!), BUT The Old Mill is hands down my favorite restaurant in the area. I’ve been going to Gatlinburg\PF my whole life. I’ve ate ALOT of food there. The Old Mill’s chowder and fritters are food you dream about. You also missed out on some great doughnuts at Courthouse Donuts(over near the Dolly statue) and the prices their are great too! Wonderworks is a super fun place for the kids. I haven’t been in awhile and we haven’t taken our daughter yet, but we went about 10 years ago( before child) and it was fun for us adults too. Pigeon Forge Snow is brand new. It’s literally an indoor snow center. We haven’t been, but it’s on our list for next time! We stay at the Baymont Inn and Suites Gatlinburg on the River when we go. The view is absolutely beautiful and the hotel offers free breakfast(their is also an indoor pool and a fire pit outside). I could rave about Gatlinburg all day long. I actually prefer it to PF\Sevierville but PF is still great!
Such great info, Christina! Thank you!! We stopped by the Island, but only for a little bit as we had to get somewhere else. Hoping to be able to check it out more the next time we’re there! We have been to the Apple Barn there before and loved it! Just didn’t get there this time! We wanted to hit up Wonderworks, but just ran out of time! I am going to write all these things down so we can hit them up next time!!! Thank you!
These memories will last way longer than any birthday “stuff”. Looks like a wonderful trip and lots of fun!
I totally agree, Sherri! It was a great time!
I love this! Thank you for sharing. My mom has been saying we should take an all family trip there for Christmas (7 adults, 4 kids), and now after reading your post, I want to go tomorrow!!
Oh, it’s so much fun, Ali!! And it is beautiful at Christmastime – it is lit up everywhere! Just gorgeous!
Brigitte Baker says
Well this post came at just the right time, we’re in Pigeon Forge!! Awesome, thank you! 🙂
Oh awesome, Brigitte! I hope you have so much fun!!! Enjoy!
Stephanie S. says
My goodness you y’all look like you had fun. Those dresses are so pretty. Our ac went out and no relief for the whole condo until next week.
We had a wonderful time, Stephanie! So much fun!
So much fun for your family! We moved 2 years ago to TN & do not live too far from Sevier County. We have not done any of the shows or museums yet. Now I will plan some fun things for after Labor Day!
Yes girl, you’ve got to take a visit there! We had a blast!
Mother of 3 says
I haven’t been to Pigeon Forge since I was a kid and the only thing I remember is going to Dollywood. It looks like it’s changed and grown but it sounds like a lot of fun. Pinned.
Yep, there is a lot more going on there now! You’ll have to take a trip!
Loved seeing your pics and it looks like your daughter had an amazing trip! We go to the Smokies (Pigeon Forge/Gatlinburg) every few years and it looks like there is always something new on each visit. We loved the Titanic experience and another suggestion that all the kids seem to love is Ripleys Aquarium of the Smokies in Gatlinburg. Very impressive!
Of course Dollywood is a must and we have tired all different types of lodging from cabins to condos. After seeing your pics of DreamMore Resort we really want to put that on our list. We usually wait until some of the crowds have died done and go after Labor Day when its still warm but not as crowded. As far as restaurants go, The Old Mill is a must on every visit. We have yet to try a dinner/show theatre but will certainly give it a try.
Definitely give DreamMore a try, Teresa! We absolutely loved it!! We did the Ripley’s aquarium a few years back when we went to the area with my in-laws – of course the Circus loved that as well! We’ll have to try the Old Mill when we’re back in town though – thanks for the suggestion!