sunrise over Gatlinburg, Tennessee

5 Awesome Things to Do in Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge With Kids

May 22, 2024

The Smoky Mountain area is a great vacation destination for families which means that there are a lot of fun things to do for kids. If you’re planning your trip and need some suggestions for activities, we can help. Read on to learn more! Here is a list of 5 awesome things to do in Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge with kids:

1. Take an Easy Hike at Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Kids will love exploring nature in Great Smoky Mountains National Park. The park has over 850 miles of hiking trails, and you’ll be happy to know that some are flat and short in distance. These qualities make them ideal for kids! One popular trail is the Gatlinburg Trail. It is 3.9 miles roundtrip and hikers will cross one of the longest footbridges in the park along the way. Another great route is the Sugarlands Valley Nature Trail. This ADA accessible trail is half a mile with paved concrete and wooden bridges! After your hike, make your day at the park a little longer by having a picnic. We make a hiker’s sack in our Poolside Cafe which makes for a great on-the-go-lunch!

2. See Marine Life at Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies

The very popular Ripley's Aquarium of the Smokies in downtown Gatlinburg TN.

Kids will love seeing the ocean’s animals up close at Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies. One of the many great activities is the Glass Bottom Boat Adventure. It is located in the aquarium’s Shark Lagoon, which is home to over 8,500 aquatic animals representing more than 75 different species. Passengers on the boat get the chance to see these creatures swim about right at their feet. What’s more? You can learn about them as you hear from the aquarium’s knowledgeable staff during the ride. More hands-on activities include seeing penguins waddle around in The Penguin Playhouse. Watch as they waddle around from the tunnels or go to special events where you can get your picture taken with one of them and more! You can also touch the smooth backs of stingrays as they glide about in Touch A Ray Bay. Whatever you decide to do, be prepared for a “jaw-some” time!

3. Explore Anakeesta in Gatlinburg

Anakeesta is a mountaintop adventure park located in the heart of downtown Gatlinburg. Look out at the beautiful views of the Smokies while enjoying all the great activities. To get to this attraction, take a ride on the Chondola chairlift. The park itself has a thrilling mountain coaster, ziplines, and more! When all that activity makes you hungry, you won’t have to go far! Anakeesta has many places for a delicious meal or snack. Some options include the Kephart Cafe and Clifftop Restaurant!

4. See The Comedy Barn Show in Pigeon Forge

comedy barn

This attraction is fun for all ages! The Comedy Barn is the most successful and most attended comedy theater in the world! The lively cast combines their unique talents with comedy. Watch the ventriloquist converse with Bonzo the Monkey and his friends. See the juggler attempt to juggle unique objects such as bowling pins, bear traps and stun guns. Some of the shows also feature live animals. You might see a house cat dive onto the stage or a talkative parrot that flies through rings. If you want to get in on the action, you’ll be glad to know that audience participation is highly encouraged. Even if you don’t, it can also be fun to watch your loved ones be pulled on stage too.

5. Play at Pigeon Forge Snow

Do you wish you could enjoy the fun of snow year-round? If so, plan a visit to Pigeon Forge Snow! The attraction is America’s first indoor snow park. It has real snow that never melts! What’s more? The park stays at a temperature of 60-70℉ which means that there is no need for winter clothes. The fluffy white goodness is used in some fun activities! For example, there are 12 lanes for snow tubing. Kids will love racing their parents down the slopes. There is also a Snow Play area where you can hold a snowball fight or use it to make your own creations.

We hope you enjoyed learning about some awesome things to do in Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge with kids! Want to know about more activities near our hotel? Explore our other list of family-friendly things to do in Gatlinburg!