Need a break? Looking for fun with no hassles? Pigeon Forge has a spunky charm, a friendly mountain spirit and plenty of ways to enjoy the family vacation with the kids. Imagine sunshine and fresh mountain air; think sweatshirts and sneakers; have fun and make memories. The order of the day is easy-paced and fun with no long lines, and oodles of bargains to be discovered. From trout fishin g and miniature golf to wildflower walks and entertainment geared to families, the choices are plentiful.
Walk amongst prehistoric giants. Unlike other dinosaur museums, the Dinosaur Walk Museum in Pigeon Forge allows families to walk through one of the world’s largest collections of life-size dinosaur sculptures, from a two-story high Tyrannosaurus Rex to a 12-inch tall Microraptor. Giant sea lizards, flying reptiles, bones, skulls and ancient skeletons complete this one of a kind collection. At the end of the “walk” is a movie theater showing high definition educational films which will bring dinosaurs to life on the screen. Bonus points: Children of all ages will enjoy the dinosaur fossil dig and dinosaur movies. Need to know: Directly in back of the actual museum is an antiqu e store with awesome yet affordable fossils, rocks and petrified wood.
Take a wild ride. Beginning in March, Smoky Mountain Speed Park Intermediate track offers kids of all ages plenty of curves and dips and action as well as a trampoline ride, gyro ride and rides for tiny tykes. Race with the wind at Pigeon Forge's only sprint car track, Speed Zone Speed Track or go wild at Wild Wheels Speedway with CAN-AM racing, figure-eight course bumper boats, bungee jumping, arcade games and a kiddie park. For go-cart thrills, Smoky Mountain Slick Track has swerves and curves that make for thrills on a go-cart "slick" track.
Pan for gems. The Pigeon Forge Gem Mine allows families to live a prospector’s dream by panning for real uncut gemstones – rubies, emeralds, garnets and more. Using old-fashioned panning techniques visitors sift through buckets of sand and stone, unearthing precious stones. Once the sand sifting is complete the gemstones are examined by a gemologist to determine worth. Any of the findings may be made into one-of-a-kind jewelry a keepsake from Pigeon Forge and the Great Smoky Mountains. Need to know: The buckets are arranged by type of gemstones so it is possible to select by stone preference.
Shop ‘til you drop. A paradise for bargain hunters, the area has more than 200 stores as well as Belz Factory Outlet World, Pigeon Forge Factory Outlet Mall, Tangier Factory Outlet Center, Z-Buda Outlet Mall, River Vista Factory Stores, and River View Factory Outlets with bargain prices well below retail. Find designer clothes, athletic wear, luggage, home furnishings, crystal, china, tools, toys, books, music, shoes, leather goods and more. Bell Tower Square (the South's largest year-round Christmas village) offers thousands of unique items including exceptional toys, collectible dolls and distinctive Christmas items. Visit the Old Mill Village for a piece of Appalachian history. Find shops with hand-thrown pottery, original oil paintings, woodcarvings and one-of-a-kind souvenirs.
Laugh and be happy. From music and dancing to laughter and magic, the city's theaters present all styles of entert ainment. The best part is that they are dedicated to presenting wholesome family programs. Audiences are treated to amazing costumes, heart pounding music, thrilling horsemanship, racing ostriches, mind-reading pigs, fire-eaters, jugglers and perhaps the best Elvis impersonator outside of Graceland. Tickle your funny bone at Elwood Smooch’s Ole Smoky Hoedown where the art of laughing has been has mastered. Audiences enjoy one liners, banjos playing, and gospel singing. Elwood welcomes families and provides an Int ernet discount on tickets.
Enjoy wildflowers. While flowers are a natural benefit from spring until autumn, the wildflower season begins in April. The annual Pilgrimage in Great Smoky Mountains National Park launches the season with variety of ranger led walks and talks, new indoor and outdoor programs and springtime activities.
See the world. Each spring, Dollywood opens its season with the Festival of Nations and provides people on their family vacations with an array of international entertainment. The five-week celebration includes music, dance, food and art from around the world. The festival offers attendees a window on the world with costumes, music, food and art to be enjoyed by all ages.
To make a spring break in Pigeon Forge even more affordable there are discounts for activities and dining available online. To make spring break planning easy, more than a dozen family vacation packages have been created for inspection with the click of a mouse. For the big picture go to www.mypigeonforge.com
Dinosaur Walk Museum. 106 Showplace Blvd Pigeon Forge, TN 37863.
(865) 428-4003 or www.dinowalk.com
The Pigeon Forge Gem Mine. 2865 Parkway Pigeon Forge, TN 37863. (865) 453-4733.
Belz Factory Outlet World. Parkway 2655 Teaster Lane, Pigeon Forge, 37863. 1(865) 453-3503.
Pigeon Forge Factory Outlet Mall. 2850 Parkway,37863. 1(865) 428-2828 or www.pigeonforgefactoryoutlet.com
Tangier Factory Outlet Center. 1-800-408-5775, 1(865) 428-7002 or www.tangeroutlet.com
Smoky Mountain Speed Park. Parkway. 1(865) 429-INDY.
Speed Zone Speed Track. Parkway. 1(865) 908-7255.
Wild Wheels Speedway. Parkway. 1(865) 453-7942.
Smoky Mountain Slick Track. 1-865-428-4955.
Content researched and created by FamilyTravelFiles.com.