Category Archives: Family Attractions

Go-carts, mini-golf, and other entertainment in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee.

Bandmaster’s Violin On Display at Titanic Museum

The violin on which Titanic bandmaster Wallace Hartley reportedly played “Nearer, My God to Thee” as the ocean liner sank April 15, 1912, is currently on exhibit at the Titanic Museum Attraction in Pigeon Forge.

The violin will be on display from May 22-July 27, then it will be taken to the Titanic sister museum in Branson, Mo., for show Aug. 1-15.

On Oct. 19 the British auction house Henry Aldridge and Son will put the instrument, which was discovered seven years ago in an English attic, on the auction block. It’s expected to fetch a six-figure price from the winning bidder.

Hartley was one of the 1,517 people who died when the Titanic sank. Survivors recalled him leading musicians in performing on the ship deck as passengers boarded lifeboats in the North Atlantic.

Hartley’s body was found 10 days after the ship sank. The violin was not listed in an inventory of belongings found with the musician. But three newspaper accounts reported his body was found with his violin’s case strapped to his chest.

Aldridge and Son spent seven years having experts examine the instrument and working to trace its history. Their research shows the violin was mailed in July 1912 to Hartley’s fiancé Maria Robinson. While some people interested in the Titanic have disputed that the violin could have survived the watery tragedy, other experts vouch for its authenticity. Among the pieces studied on the violin is a silver plate engraved with the words “For Wallace on the occasion of our engagement from Maria.” Robinson gave Hartley a violin in 1910.

When Robinson died in 1939 her sister gave the violin to the Salvation Army to use. The organization’s commander then gave the violin to a musician who deemed it virtually unplayable. That teacher gave the violin to a student in the early 1940s. The descendant of that student is the instrument’s current owner. He discovered the violin in his mother’s attic in 2006.

A portion from ticket sales while the violin is shown at Pigeon Forge and Branson goes to Strings Crossings. Belmont University’s School of Music hosts the summer camp for eighth- through 12-grade violin, viola, cello and bass students.

Shaped like the doomed ocean liner’s forward half, the Titanic Museum Attraction in Pigeon Forge opened in 2010. Its interior includes re-created sections of the ship and hundreds of artifacts.

Southern Gospel Museum

Pigeon Forge is not only known for its major attractions like Dollywood theme park and a number of renowned dinner shows that now align the parkway, it’s also a town that welcomes in a number of gospel enthusiasts each year with a handful of conferences and events. So it’s only right that Pigeon Forge is also home to the Southern Gospel Museum.

The museum gets more than its share of foot traffic during the year with more than 1 million coming through the Southern Gospel Music Hall of Fame & Museum’s doors to observe the information and displays about the legends of gospel, gospel song writers and gospel musicians. The museum offers more gospel music memorabilia than you can shake a stick at and is located at one of the most traveled to parts of town – Dollywood, the state’s most visited theme park.

gospelhalloffameLearn about such legendary Southern gospel performers as the Vaughan Radio Quartet, the Stamps All-Star Quartet, the Speer Family, the LeFeveres, the Blackwood Brothers, the Chuck Wagon Gang, the Rangers, the Sunshine Boys, the Happy Goodmans, the Statesmen, the Harmoneers, the Florida Boys, the Oak Ridge Quartet, the Weatherfords, the Rebels, the Gaither Vocal Band, the Martins, the Isaacs, the McKameys and many others. In fact, more than 350 artifacts are on display at the Southern Gospel Hall of Fame, representing more than 100 groups and individuals.

Stop by the gift shop at the Southern Gospel Music Hall of Fame and check out one of the largest selections of gospel music in the United States. For more information about the Southern Gospel Music Hall of Fame & Museum, visit www.sgma.org.

Dolly’s Christmas Chapel

One of the most picturesque scenes that occurs every Christmas at Dollywood takes place at Dolly’s Christmas Chapel. The peaceful chapel stands out among the other park buildings and rides as its draped in thousands of Christmas lights and offers special services throughout Dollywood’s Smoky Mountain Christmas festival.

Dollywood’s country church, complete with just one room, simple wooden pews, and hardwood floors serves as a Christmas memory for many who come to Dollywood during the holidays in order to experience Christmas in the Smokies at its finest. Experience the chapel at Christmas, named in honor of Dr. Robert F. Thomas who delivered little Dolly Rebecca Parton, for services each Sunday at 5:30 p.m. during the Christmas season.

The chapel itself is found nestled in behind all the rides, attractions, and restaurants at Dollywood. Each is lit up in their own special way during the Christmas season, but none as magically appealing as the chapel. From its chiming bell to the wreathes and garland hung around its windows and doors, its the perfect holiday setting.

The Christian Christmas service starts at 5:30 on the dot and lasts for a half hour. Church-goers can light candles and step back and reflect on the true meaning of Christmas amongst all shining lights and musical performances of Dollywood’s Smoky Mountain Christmas.

As mentioned, the Robert F. Thomas Chapel is named for the doctor who delivered Dolly, he also helped deliver a number of her siblings. He served as pastor of the chapel which bears his name until his death in 1981.

According to Dollywood Chaplain Joey Buck, God has been at work in Dollywood and continues to be through the many people who come to the chapel during the park’s Christmas celebration and throughout the year.

The chapel is also a wonderful opportunity to people traveling to Pigeon Forge and Dollywood to attend church services even while they’re on vacation. Many people choose not to go to church services while they’re out of town, this is just an opportunity for those looking to continue that aspect of their lives when they’re in Pigeon Forge and Dollywood.

“People come from around the world, from across the country, and many different backgrounds, many different traditions and together we meet and call ourselves a church. And what we can do is celebrate what we have in common and that is Jesus Christ,” Buck said.

Dolly’s Christmas Chapel hopes to see everyone that comes through the park this Christmas season. Everyone is welcome and encouraged to stop by.

Hollywood Wax Museum

Come Play With the Stars!

Talk about a building that is hard to miss!  The Hollywood Wax Museum in Pigeon Forge is one of the most decorated and one of the newest buildings on the Parkway and it is also one of the easiest to find.  Look for King Kong climbing on the outside of the building and you will know that you have arrived, that you are there to see wax versions of some of your favorite celebrities and what’s more – you get to get in the picture with them.  You can stand up close and take a picture that you can then make your friends jealous with.

The Hollywood Wax Museum in Pigeon Forge is new.  This business used to be located in Gatlinburg, but they have relocated to the Parkway in Pigeon Forge.  They are in the same building that used to house the Dinosaur Walk Museum but all semblance of that building is gone and the building itself is where the fun starts.  The front of the venue is a throwback to the days of yore and Mount Rushmore with faces from Hollywood’s past decorating one side and of course King Kong climbing it from the back.  But if you think all the fun is on the outside, you are wrong.  Step through the door and make sure you brought a camera.

Here is the difference with the Hollywood Wax Museum and some other wax museums.  In the Hollywood Wax Museum, you can get right up next tot he wax figure.  You can step into the scene with your favorite celebrity.  You can get your picture taken with the celebrity of your choice and take that picture home with you, post it on Facebook, whatever, the folks at this wax museum don’t care. They have employees that go around to the exhibits to make sure that they look great and that each figure is ready for its next closeup.  And if you think you messed up one of the figures hair or their clothes, just let someone know and they will have someone run by and give that exhibit a touch up.

Here are some of the figures that you will get to see at the Hollywood Wax Museum:

  • Charlie Chaplin
  • Bradley Cooper
  • Anne Hathaway
  • Marilyn Monroe
  • Brad Pitt
  • Natalie Portman
  • Elvis Presley
  • John Wayne
Like I said, bring a camera.  Line your kids up with their favorite star.  Get into the action yourself.  Strike a pose with a celebrity, all be it a wax one and have a good time hamming it up for the camera.  Let the Hollywood Wax Museum get you into the scene.

Hollywood Wax Museum
106 Showplace Blvd
Pigeon Forge, TN
865-428-5228
http://www.hollywoodwaxmuseum.com/pigeonforge/

MagiQuest

MagiQuest is good family fun in Pigeon Forge packed into large castle right on the parkway. By entering into the MagiQuest kingdom, you’re immediately cast into a realm where fantasy and illusion rule the day. A magic wand is all you’ll need here.

At MagiQuest, your adventure begins in earnest as you search for treasure, battle dragons and goblins, all while searching for secret passages to give you a leg up in the game. If that’s not your style or have someone else that wants to explore the castle, they can play MagiQuest’s 18 hole SpecialFX Pirate Golf course, explore the world’s largest mirror maze in the Odyssey, or race through the Vault laser challenge.

When you visit MagiQuest in Pigeon Forge, you determine the course of your day. It’s your adventure, however you choose it. At MagiQuest, you’re an integral part of the game. You live it.

Everyone is issued a Magic Wand at MagiQuest. It’s yours. It knows your name and records everything that you accomplish during the game. You’ll come to be amazed at the wonderful creatures and characters you meet during the game. Test your bravery, as well as your skills and knowledge.

The MagiQuest Pigeon Forge Ultimate Package includes the following: a MagiQuest wand and 90 minutes of game play time. You’ll also get to play a round of Special FX Pirate Golf, Odyssey – the World’s Largest Mirror Maze and The Vault laser maze.

MagiQuest is unlike anything you have ever experienced. You begin by selecting a Magic Wand that is yours to keep, forever! You’ll use clues and hints to go on quests, battle dragons and embark on adventures. When you return you pick up where you left off on your last visit.

MagiQuest
2491 Parkway
Pigeon Forge, TN 37863
(865) 686-5586

Wonderworks’ Wonders of Flight

Ever wanted to experience the thrill of riding in a hot air balloon? Experiencing the feeling of just yourself, and possibly a few others, as you float high above the trees among the clouds? Now’s your chance as WonderWorks in Pigeon Forge is now offering a new hot air balloon attraction called Wonders of Flight…. And it’s literally floating right over the parkway!

WonderWorks wants everyone to experience the thrill of soaring to unexpected heights nearly 400 feet in the air.

Sounds like something you’d be interested in? Once there, you’ll board a gondola under the large blue and green helium balloon situated on the landing platform just behind WonderWorks. Manufactured by Aerophile, the balloon is made to hold up to 30 guests in the gondola at a time.

You’ll notice that the balloon is unlike most hot-air balloons in that it is silent, without any vibrations due to its permanently inflated helium envelope and a hydro-electric winch. As for the gondola, WonderWorks says it’s almost like you’re taking off on a flying balcony. Guests are privy to a 360-degree panorama view of Pigeon Forge, Sevierville, and the Great Smoky Mountains.

WonderWorks’ Wonders of Flight is one of only two attractions of its kind in the Southeast. As previously noted, the Wonders of Flight balloon (the Aero30NG) was manufactured in France by Aerophile, the world leader in tethered gas balloons. The Southeast’s other tethered balloon is located at Walt Disney World in Orlando, Fla., while others are featured in some of the world’s biggest amusement parks including China’s Ocean Park and Oct East Amusement Park and France’s Disneyland.

Wonders of Flight provide their guests with a unique and affordable experience. One balloon ride is $14.99 (plus tax) for adults and $9.99 (plus tax) for children. Children 36-inches and under are FREE. In all, WonderWorks’ Wonders of Flight is a 10 minute flight experience offered daily, with daytime and evening hours, weather permitting.

WonderWorks’ Wonders of Flight is a great Smoky Mountain attraction perfect for large groups, weddings and people of all ages looking for fun in the Smokies. For additional information call 865-868-1800.

The Tomb

The Egyptian Adventure

If you are looking for something completely different for your family to do while you are in Pigeon Forge, you might want to venture into The Tomb.  The Tomb is a hands-on, indoor adventure attraction in the heart of Pigeon Forge.  You and your family take on the role of archaeologists as you head into the Tomb to discover the secrets and of course, escape with everyone in your party intact.  You get to solve puzzles and work together as a team to escape the mysteries and challenges of the Tomb.

If you are a fan of the old mummy movies, then you are going to love The Tomb.  You remember the mummy movies from back in the day, black and white movies about adventures going into the tombs of the pharaohs.  While they were in the tombs that had to solve puzzles and find a way to escape the tomb while they were escaping the mummy.  These serial adventures that played on Saturdays in the middle of the 20th century were fun for the whole family because they had just enough suspense to keep your heart pounding as you sat on the edge of your seat hoping that the heroes got out alive.  That is the feel you get while you are in The Tomb.

Of course, the big difference is that you are in The Tomb instead of watching people that are in a tomb.  You get to solve the puzzles.  You are your group will have to work together to solve countless puzzles and progress through the mzes and rooms as you work your way out of the darkness and back to the light of day.  From mazes involving mirrors to puzzles where getting a beam of light to hit a specific area is what stands between you and freedom, The Tomb might end up being one of the highlights of your trip to the Smoky Mountains.  And of course, if it is raining outside this is one of the best indoor attractions in the area.

The Tomb is located in Walden’s Landing in beautiful Pigeon Forge, TN.  If you have ever been to Pigeon Forge, you know that all the traffic lights along the Parkway are numbered.  So when you driving through Pigeon Forge, start looking for a traffic light and aim your vehicle for traffic light three.  If you look across the street from The Track you will see Walden’s Landing and you will probably see The Tomb from your car as well.  Park your car, maybe grab something to eat at one of the restaurants in and around Walden’s Landing and then take a trip into mystery, into The Tomb.

The Tomb
Walden’s Landing
Pigeon Forge, TN
865-453-6450
http://www.tombadventure.com/

Country Tonite Theatre

If you love concerts, especially those featuring country music artists, you might want to take in a show at the Country Tonite Theatre in Pigeon Forge sometime soon. The venue and its performers have taken home numerous awards over the years including a recent Reader’s Choice award for best show in the Smokies.

Country Tonite is a show for all ages in Pigeon Forge featuring production numbers you would regularly see at a major concert series or awards show. Country Tonite employs some of the best singers, dancers and musicians in the business. And it’s not just country artists either. Country Tonite now features hilarious comedy acts, is one of the only venues in the Smokies to feature youth performers, as well as gospel singers. Guests at a Country Tonite performance also get to witness a special patriotic salute to U.S. veterans  during the show.

Along with their “Best Show in the Smokies” notoriety, Country Tonite has also garnered recognition for “Best Live Country Show in America”, and “Country Music Show of the Year” from various outlets. Once you see a show, it’s pretty easy to see how they win all these awards.

The Country Tonite Theatre is located along the parkway in Pigeon Forge. In all, it’s a 1,500-seat multi-million dollar facility equipped with state-of the art sound and lighting, as well as two giant video screens.

The 2012 celebrity concert series features performances by such renowned artists as Merle Haggard, Aaron Tippin, Joe Diffie, Sammy Kershaw, Ronnie McDowell, T. Graham Brown, Jimmy Fortune, Mel Tillis, George Jones, Mickey Gilley, Don Williams and Ray Stevens.

The holiday season features an all new set of shows beginning November 1. Come see renditions of Christmas favorites combined with beautiful choreography, brightly decorated holiday sets and colorful costumes. Enjoy and sing along to a number of holiday classics that bring back memories of Christmases past. You’ll also be privy to some special guest performers during the Christmas season that don’t come around except for this time of year in Frosty the Snowman, Santa Claus, and everyone’s favorite ballerina in the dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy. Concert-goers will notice as their favorite toys come alive to such holiday classics as “Where are you Christmas”. Bring the whole family to this magical Christmas presentation and set the mood for a wonderful holiday season at the Country Tonite Theatre in Pigeon Forge.

For a schedule of show times, visit the Country Tonite Theatre’s show page here.

Show times are subject to change and children 12 years of age and under are FREE with a paying adult.

Country Tonite Theatre
129 Showplace Blvd.
Pigeon Forge, TN 37863
Toll Free: 1-800-792-4308
Local: 865-453-2003

Jurassic Jungle Boat Ride

A Boat Trip into the Pre-Historic Past

The Jurassic Jungle Boat Ride is a multi-million dollar attraction in the heart of Pigeon Forge.  Looking for something different and exciting to fill part of your afternoon?  The Jurassic Jungle Boat Ride is going to be right up your alley.  The boat ride takes you back in time to the land of the dinosaurs, featuring dozens of animatronic dinosaurs on every side as you take your boat ride through the past.

Located right on the Parkway in Pigeon Forge, you are going to see the Jurassic Jungle Boat Ride from your car as you head to or from Gatlinburg.  If you are headed from traffic light ‘0’ (the beginning of Pigeon Forge) toward Gatlinburg, start counting.  When you get to traffic light ‘3,’ start watching on your right for the huge building that houses the Jurassic Jungle Boat Ride.  It is going to be on your right and it is very hard to miss.  Trust me, your kids will see it and let you know that you have arrived.

Imagine a ride through Jurassic Park, but on a boat instead of in a jeep.  After you have purchase your ticket to adventure for your whole family, the attendant will help you climb into the boat.  Even from the outside of the attraction you will realize what is going on.  The t-rex and the velociraptor fighting above the pathway of the boat are a dead giveaway.  Once you are in the boat your adventure begins and you journey into the cave and back in time.

Inside the attraction you are surrounded by animatronic dinosaurs.  You start in a very peaceful side of the Jurassic period.  Herbivores tower over the boat you are in.  As you progress the ride takes on a darker side as the carnivores come out to play.  Along with world-class animatronices, the sound design in the ride is perfect.  From the sound of insects buzzing around to the actual vocalizations of the dinosaurs, the ride becomes immersive and a little bit intense.  By the end you will be trying to climb out of the boat to get away from the monsters.  This ride will get your heart pounding and bring your family closer together as you huddle for ‘protection.’

Take the family on the Jurassic Jungle Boat Ride.  Remind the kids that it is just a ride and that they are perfectly safe.  Then have your spouse remind you that you are safe and that it is just a ride.

Jurassic Jungle Boat Ride
2806 Parkway
Pigeon Forge, TN
865-908-7599
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The Comedy Barn in Pigeon Forge

The Comedy Barn Theater in Pigeon Forge, TN, is one of the funniest night you’re sure to spend in the Smokies should you decide to take in a show. From jugglers and ventriloquists to clean family comedians and magicians, this show is a hoot! We even throw in some magic, as well as some live country and gospel music to keep your toes tapping through the night. If you aren’t rolling out the door laughing by the time the show ends, well, you might just want to check your pulse. It’s a stop that you’ve got to put on your to-do list next time you’re in Pigeon Forge.
Comedy Barn Theater

The Comedy Barn replaced Hee-Haw in Pigeon Forge, TN over a decade ago for those of you who remember it. Just look for the big red barn as you’re traveling down the parkway, it’s impossible to miss. As mentioned, the Comedy Barn prides itself on its clean comedy show that the whole family can take in and relate to. If you don’t think you’ll laugh, try it. More people have fallen over from fits of laughter in that place that they could ever count. By now, the number would probably stretch around the Great Smoky Mountains National Park and back.

Be forewarned, there’s a chance that you could be involved in some of the show should you choose to go. The Comedy Barn makes no bones about getting audience members involved in the show. This way it kind of changes things up. No show is ever the same if you think about it. The Comedy Barn has proven time and time again that they’re one of the best shows going in town. Good for all ages and worth the price of admission. Before you leave Pigeon Forge, stop by the Comedy Barn for a show.

Tips for Visiting The Comedy Barn Theater

  • Save money by bundling show tickets. Many Pigeon Forge, as well as Gatlinburg attractions, now offer bundled ticket packages. This saves you money on ticket prices while allowing you to see more shows while you’re here.
  • If you go with a group, be sure to point out who the group leader is when you reserve your tickets. The leader just might end up on stage for you to laugh at! If you happen to be the leader…well…just pick someone that you want to blackmail later!
  • Buy the DVD. There is so much that happens at The Comedy Barn that you will want to tell family and friends back home. There is no way you can remember it all…plus it’s funnier to watch!

Price

Adults: $19.95
Seniors: $17.95
Children 11-under: FREE

Discount tickets include 2 shows for $64.95

Comedy Barn Theater Website
800-29-LAUGH
(865)428-5222
2775 Parkway Pigeon Forge, TN
37863