We recently visited Pigeon Forge, TN, hosted by the Pigeon Forge Department of Tourism, and were delighted with the huge magnitude of activities available for (and appealing to) tweens. Since we were only in town for two days, we had to pare down our HUGE wanna-do list to a slightly more manageable itinerary and definitely plan on a return trip to experience the rest! There was way more than we adventurous souls could attempt in a short period of time!!
So what did we do in Pigeon Forge, TN?
WE HAD A BLAST!!!
#5…. We Soared at Flyaway Indoor Skydiving!
Oh yes, we did!! We couldn’t get in the building, up the stairs, and in the training room fast enough!!
After a short 20 minute training session and a brief equipment prep, it was flight time! WOOT!
What a blast! This was such a unique and different experience, exactly what we always try to accomplish when on vacation—try something we can’t do in our hometown. It was a bit hot for Ariel, as she doesn’t like wearing layers and layers of clothes, but I think the excitement of the activity overcame being a bit uncomfortable. Indoor skydiving was a huge thrill, one she believes everyone should try at least once. Her tip: If you have long hair, be sure to pull your hair back in a bun, tucked inside your helmet, or you’ll have knots the size of Tennessee!! I agree… her hair was quite the rat’s nest when she finished!!
Timing: we did have a few minutes wait before each stage, but nothing major. We had planned on this taking about an hour and it did.
For more information, visit the Flyaway Indoor Skydiving website here, their Facebook here, and their Twitter here.
#4….We Got Our Plaid On at the Lumberjack Feud!
(See, I wasn’t making that headline up! It’s a real thing! )
We thoroughly enjoyed our trip to Medieval Times Dinner and Tournament on a trip to Myrtle Beach and thought we’d like to try another dinner and entertainment evening. What a treat Lumberjack Feud was!!
The dinner, consisting of cream of potato soup, roasted chicken, potatoes, corn on the cob, a biscuit, and an apple turnover, and choice of non-alcoholic beverage, was delicious and filling. And good food is really important when you’re on vacation and need fuel. 😉
But the entertainment was even better than the food! A pre-show warm-up tickled our funny bones and had us clapping our hands and stomping our feet. A thoughtful salute to veterans warmed our hearts. And then our hearts started pounding with excitement as we thrilled to the lumber sports competition!
I didn’t know a lot about the arena of lumber sports… but I’m a lot more interested in learning more now! These guys (lumberJACKS) and gals (lumberJILLS) are true athletes…. I love that they post their real names and achievements on the big screens to recognize their athletic prowess. (Even the specially trained lumberDOGS get recognized!! They were amazing too!!)
There was some good ol’ mountain dancing–clogging– and some great fiddle playin’ along with just enough cheesy humor to delight all ages throughout the show. I was afraid Ariel would think this kind of show was too young for her… or too old for her. So I was super glad when she wanted to add it to our top 5 list….that’s high praise from a 12 year old!!
Timing: you should plan on arriving 30 minutes before the posted show time. We had called ahead for reservations and ended up in a short line to pick up our tickets, but it wasn’t major. The pre-show music was playing as we walked through the small museum on our way to the arena and we were seated and our dinner served shortly. We had thought it would take about 2 hours and counting in our early (suggested) arrival time, we were right.
Visit the Lumberjack Feud website here or find them on Facebook here and Twitter here.
(And don’t forget to take tip money for your servers, just like at Medieval Times. Those folks are working really hard and deserve every bit of that tip money!! When you pay for your dinner ahead of time, it’s easy to not think about cash for tips until it’s too late! )
#3….We Set Sail on the Titanic Museum Attraction!
Yes, our hearts will go on… but they won’t be the same after we experienced the impressive and compelling Titanic Museum Attraction. Housed in a building designed to look like the RMS Titanic at the fateful moment as it struck the iceberg, the museum is Pigeon Forge’s #1 attraction (as rated on TripAdvisor) and it’s easy to see why! It’s a well-organized and attractive museum built around precious relics rescued from the world-renowned wreckage of the infamous unsinkable ship.
Photos are strictly forbidden inside the museum, so I have nothing wonderful to show you, but you can see lots of the interior on the Titanic Museum Attraction’s website here. If you have a “Titaniac” in your family, like I do (or maybe you’re one yourself), then you need to make this a definite stop on your trip to Pigeon Forge. And make sure you allow plenty of time for your visit. We allowed two hours and wished we’d had another hour. We did read a lot, because that is what you do when you’re in a museum, and we were lucky to be able to hear some of the roaming tour guides’ spiels, but we would have gladly soaked up more. The artifacts, the stories, the presentation–all first class. They host traveling exhibits and special events here regularly too.
Visit the Titanic Museum Attraction website here, on Facebook here, or Twitter here.
#2….We Splished and Splashed at the Outdoor Gravity Park!!
Ever roll down a hill in an 11 foot clear plastic ball? Me neither.
If I’m completely honest, the idea of doing it never even crossed my mind!!
But obviously the brains behind Outdoor Gravity Park decided humans could play like hamsters (with water–wet hamsters at that!) and would LOVE IT!! And they were SO RIGHT!! The concept is so brilliant… and the fun is exuberant and contagious!!
Bring your bathing suit and join in the fun! More than one person can ride in the OGO or you can ride separately and race. There are three different courses for all kinds of fun. None of the folks I saw after their rides were disappointed!! And you can use their Go-Pro camera and video yourself coming down the 1000 foot long hill–perfect for the selfie lover in your life!! 😉
I wasn’t quite sure how to find the Outdoor Gravity Park–it’s not right on the Parkway like everything else and there wasn’t much, if any, signage at traffic light 1 off the Parkway. The area really looked like a residential neighborhood and Siri insisted I wasn’t there yet. But… turn left onto the side road when you see the green gate and the sign. Don’t continue on past it, even though your GPS might insist on it.
Timing: There wasn’t a long line, thank goodness, because rain was threatening, but the entire process took a bit of time. We had planned on this taking about an hour, and with swimsuit changes and waiting times, it took about that long. If the line had been more than a few folks, it would have taken longer.
And have fun!! Want more info? Check out the Outdoor Gravity Park website here, on Facebook here, and on Twitter here.
#1….We Played at WonderWorks!!
Science is playful? Huh?!?
Indeed! Science is a blast!! How could it be otherwise in an upside-down building, right?!?!
And I have to tell you, I would have bet my next to my last dollar that Ariel would have thought WonderWorks was too young for her… too babyish. I was so wrong.
And I’m so glad I was. I just wish we had budgeted more time for our visit. It didn’t help that WonderWorks is an incredibly popular place–there were a lot of people there having a great time–there were at least short waits for almost every exhibit. And some lines, like the one for the World’s Largest Indoor Ropes Challenge Course, were quite lengthy. It wasn’t possible for us to leave and come back at a later time in the same day to try to avoid the crowds, but I so appreciate that they allow that option if you need it. Perfect for families with children of varying ages and their multi-level scheduling needs!
There are over 100 interactive exhibits, each one offering something different, educational, and FUN.
One of our favorites was the Xtreme 360° Bikes, where the movement of your bike depends on your pedaling speed and intensity! You can make a 360° revolution if you work at it!! Another favorite was the puck-less Air Hockey. So cool! And the child-size Wonder Brite—adorable!
WonderWorks is one of those places that is sensory overload! And for that reason alone, it was perfect for my tween! Lights, action, music, adrenaline, color, energy–every box was checked! In spades!! Even entering the exhibit area through the inversion tunnel was exhilarating! I wasn’t sure if the room was turning…. or just my stomach!!
When planning your visit, remember that some activities, like the Xtreme 360° Bikes, have physical restrictions. You may have to meet certain height or weight restrictions to be safe on the exhibit. Check the restrictions on the WonderWorks website–I found the best listing in their FAQ section. And make sure everyone that’s planning to participate is wearing closed toe shoes–no flip flops or sandals on some of the exhibits.
Want to find out more about WonderWorks? Check out the WonderWorks website here, their Facebook here, and their Twitter here.
So now you know what kind of fun we had in Pigeon Forge, TN! We can’t wait to go back!!
Looking to make a trip to Pigeon Forge, TN? Then be sure to check out the Pigeon Forge Department of Tourism website for all kinds of great tips about what to see, where to stay, where to dine… jam-packed full of everything you’ll need to plan your visit!! You can also connect with them on Facebook here, Twitter here, and YouTube here.
Have you ever been to Pigeon Forge? What were your favorite activities? What should we plan on next time?
Disclaimer: We received a complimentary VIP Pass from the Pigeon Forge Department of Tourism, which granted us free admission to a number of attractions in Pigeon Forge. However, ALL views and opinions expressed here are our own.