Three Bears General Store

Three Bears General Store in Pigeon Forge is the type of place you can find just about anything from novelties, food, candy, jewelry, apparel. However, there are 5 HUGE reasons this store has become a destination for people visiting the Smokies – they offer a live bear habitat in store where you can come watch and feed real bears. Yep, you read that right, real live bears.

Three Bears General Store, established in 1979, is a true Pigeon Forge original. Right next door to Gatlinburg and the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, the Three Bears General Store is 40,000 square feet of Smoky Mountain shopping bliss. Children will love the Make-UR-Bear Factory were you can stuff your own teddy bear and purchase outfits and accessories, enjoy the arcade, or sit in for your very own session at the Ol’ Tyme Photo studio. Have your picture made in the Old West, jump on a Harley Davidson motorcycle, or sit a spell on our “Hillbilly” porch.

The Three Bears General Store exudes “southern hospitality” as well as quality products like homemade fudge and various gift baskets. You’ll find things that you thought you’d find there and a few things you wouldn’t like Amish jams and jellies, “moonshine water” and over 555 Great Smoky Mountain souvenirs. If they don’t have it in the store, it might not exist.

Now, don’t leave without seeing the live bear habitat. That’s the big draw! Visitors are allowed to feed the 5 live bears as well. Here’s a bit more bear information:

Hours of Operation: 10 am til Dusk
Admission: $3.25 per person; Children Under Age 2 FREE!
Feed the Bears! Cup of Bear Food only $1.25
Feeding Hours: 10 am – Noon, 3-4 pm, 7-8 pm

Three Bears General Store
2861 Parkway, Traffic Light No. 4
PIgeon Forge, TN 37863

Don’t Just Stop in Pigeon Forge, It’s Ski Season in Gatlinburg!

Skiing at Ober Gatlinburg is just a quick trip down the parkway in Pigeon Forge.

Put down your shopping bags for awhile and hit the slopes at Ober Gatlinburg Ski Resort this weekend! The outlets will still be there when you’re done!

If your plan is to ski while in Pigeon Forge during your next vacation, or Smoky Mountain getaway, then the Ober Gatlinburg Ski Resort is where you need to be. Ober is the only ski resort in Tennessee, so if you’re looking for more choices best keep on going to North Carolina, or on toward West Virginia. But here in the Smoky Mountains, Ober Gatlinburg is where folks come whether their staying in Gatlinburg, shopping in Pigeon Forge, or visiting Sevierville.

And don’t think there won’t be something for everyone. Ober Gatlinburg is a family ski resort that has a myriad of activities. If part of your family doesn’t ski or snowboard, take a few laps around the ice skating rink, go play in the arcade, take a trip down the alpine slide, the scenic chair lift, and more. Even the older folks have something to do as they can sit by the fire in the lounge or even “people-watch” around the ice skating rink. Ober’s been a Smoky Mountain staple since 1962 when it comes to entertaining family, friends, and even that hard to please uncle, aunt or grandparent.

When you arrive at Ober Gatlinburg you’ll have two options to get you to the top. Guests can either ride the aerial tramway (which happens to be the largest aerial tramway in America) from downtown Gatlinburg, or drive up the mountain on Ski Mountain Road. Simply turn at traffic light No. 9 on the south end of Gatlinburg (closest to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park) and follow the winding road (Ski Mountain Road) all the way to the top…but have cash in hand for parking. A bit of advice – the earlier you go, the better. The are three tiered parking lots and you’ll have a better shot at getting a space at the top near the resort. Otherwise, it’s quick hike from one of the lower decks.



When you work in and around Pigeon Forge, you develop those places that you go to over and over, those ‘go to’ restaurants that you can always say:  “Hey, let’s go there!’ and everybody agrees.  Calhoun’s in Pigeon Forge is one suck place.

Calhoun’s is an East Tennessee tradition.  With locations all over Knoxville, one in Gatlinburg and one in Pigeon Forge, there is almost always a Calhoun’s nearby to make sure you have a full and satisfying meal.  In Pigeon Forge, Calhoun’s is locate din the Walden’s Landing shopping complex.  If you are driving through town, headed toward Gatlinburg, you will see Walden’s Landing on the right hand side of the road between traffic lights 2 and 3, but much closer to 3.  As you are facing Walden’s Landing, you will see Calhoun’s on the left hand side.  Park the car and head inside.  This is a large restaurant, so depending on when you go will determine whether you will have a long wait, but I would bet, that at night you will have a little bit of a wait.

Calhoun’s is one of those restaurants where the starter and the dessert are almost always a must.  One of my favorite appetizers is their Fresh Baked Soft pretzels and Beer Cheese.  The pretzels come out piping hot, soft and tender with salt baked right on.  They are served with a side of beer cheese.  This is almost like a fondue cheese and has just the right amount of bite, that a good cheese sauce should have.  And for dessert, you will want to save room for their Banana Pudding.  Just like mom used to make, this banana pudding is old school.  Rich, creamy, full of flavor and fresh bananas, nothing in this banana pudding comes from a box.  It is cooked to perfection.

And, if you are looking for an entree, check out their salads.  These are a little less caloric then some of the other dishes on the menu but no less tasty.  Their Southern Salad is a chef salad with strips of fried chicken across the top and their Smokehouse Salad is to die for.  The Smokehouse is covered with chicken, ham and bacon making this a meat-lovers dream.  Imagine a salad with all of the best meats you plan to find at a restaurant right on top of the salad itself.

But, if you are looking for one of the best steaks in town: the “Ale” Steak is out of this world.  Marinated in Cherokee Red Ale from the Smoky Mountain Brewery, this is one of the most tender steaks you will ever encounter.  When paired with the perfect sides, Spinach Maria and Tennessee Corn Pudding, you have a meal that you will remember each and every time you come back to the Smokies.

Add Calhoun’s to your itinerary  the next time you are in Pigeon Forge.  Stop by and try one of their wonderful salads or a great steak but be sure you start with the soft pretzels and beer cheese and end up with a bowl of banana pudding, I promise you will not be disappointed.

Kinkaku Japanese Steakhouse

A local’s review of the Kinkaku Japanese Steak House restaurant in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee. If you like Japanese food, you have to go here! Included in the review is information on how to save a lot of money on your meal.

Kinkaku Japanese Steakhouse OutsideWhat The Pigeon Forge Insider Says:
If you love Japanese food, then you are in for a treat in Pigeon Forge, TN. Kinkaku Japanese Steakhouse opened up this spring in 2006 as the only Japanese Restaurant in Pigeon Forge. I have to admit that I love Japanese food and have been to quite a few. My immediate reaction was to how clean the restaurant is. It is very open and easy to see all of the teppanyaki chefs making meals at all of the tables. We had a very entertaining chef whose cooking was just as great as his personality. An entree comes with salad with ginger or ranch dressing, soup, fried rice, and vegetables. I chose chicken and shrimp for my meats (you can also just get a vegetarian plate, but that’s not as fun!) and they were absolutely delicious. They were full of flavor and so juicy and tender. Kinkaku Japanese Steak House ranks at the top of my list of favorite Japanese restaurants. To be located within walking distance of my house could be trouble for me! If you’re in Pigeon Forge, TN and love an entertaining and delicious meal then head to Kinkaku! They are open 7 days a week for lunch as well as dinner.
Kinkaku Japanese Steak House ChefKinkaku Japanese Steak House Inside


Most of the dinner entrees are in the $15 – $20 range.

Kinkaku Japanese Steakhouse
(865) 774- 7598
3152 Parkway Suite 1, Pigeon Forge, TN

Fall Colors in the Great Smoky Mountains

Find out the best time in the fall to see the leaves change color in Gatlinburg, Pigeon Forge, and the rest of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

Fall Colors in the Great Smoky Mountains

*Photo provided by Visual Forces Christian Photography

It has definitely been an abnormal year as far as weather goes throughout the Great Smoky Mountains, which has left many people questioning the fall colors and when the leaves will start changing colors in Gatlinburg, Pigeon Forge, and surrounding areas. The extremely dry & hot conditions throughout the summer are not exactly the right ingredients for a vibrant autumn season. The good news, though, is that the Great Smokey Mountains National Park consists of 100’s of species of deciduous trees in a variety of elevations. What this means is that there will still be an abundant amount of color to see…there is no such thing as a “bad” fall in the Smokies!

When cooler weather begins to prevail, it accelerates the leaves changing color. The higher elevations will see a number of tree species change to start out with. Throughout the middle of October, you’ll see mostly golden yellow colors mixed with some orange. These colors will slide their way down the mountains into the valley as the vibrant reds will slowly follow and mix in. If the cold weather sits in and the weather continues as it is now, the colors will peak in the mountains and valley around the last week of October and into early November.

I’d highly suggest keeping track of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park website to follow the fall foliage changing color.

Once again, the best time to see the fall colors in Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge will be the last week of October and into early November. This is my favorite time of the year in the Great Smoky Mountains…I hope you enjoy it as much as the locals do!

9 Fun Things To Do in Pigeon Forge That You’ll Never Forget

There is no end to the fun to be had Pigeon Forge. The area offers a little bit of everything for everyone, making Pigeon Forge a favorite vacation destination among families, couples and solo vacationers. Whether you’re looking to stop in at a live show in Pigeon Forge, explore the surrounding mountainous terrain or learn something new, Pigeon Forge has something for you.

There is no end to the fun to be had in Pigeon Forge. The area offers a little bit of everything for everyone, making Pigeon Forge a favorite vacation destination among families, couples and solo vacationers. Whether you’re looking to stop in at a live show in Pigeon Forge, explore the surrounding mountainous terrain or learn something new about the area, Pigeon Forge has something for you. That’s why we’ve put together a list of our 3 favorite fun things to do in Pigeon Forge: Continue reading “9 Fun Things To Do in Pigeon Forge That You’ll Never Forget”

Tennessee Shindig

The Tennessee Shindig is one of Pigeon Forge’s most popular theater attractions featuring live music, dancing and celebrity impersonators.

Tennessee Shindig has closed. Information below remains for historical purposes.

When it comes to live shows, Pigeon Forge can line them up with anyone short of Broadway. Next time you’re coming into town, make sure that at least one show you see is the Tennessee Shindig. This is by far one of the best Pigeon Forge has to offer. You’ll see one of the best stage bands in the area as well as a great quartet and a host of celebrity tribute artists. Looking to grab a meal while you’re out? Well, just sit tight. The Wood Grill Buffet is tied in with the show, so purchase a combo ticket for the show/dinner combo.

The celebrity tribute artists are the bread and butter of the Tennessee Shindig and what keep the guests coming back year after year. From Ray Charles and Reba McIntyre to Garth Brooks and Stevie Wonder, the theater has seen its share of celebrity performers over the years. All these performers are professionals who are known the world over for their talents. You won’t find the Blues Brothers on the same stage with Marilyn Monroe at many places, if at all. At the Shindig, it’s one of the most popular shows.

The Soundsations – a men’s quartet, star in the Tennessee Shindig each night. Their “1,000 Moves” show is worth the price of admission alone. These four guys can cover any type of music and their voices leave nothing to the imagination. Their convincing country, 50s, and gospel performances are just the start. The Soundsations mix harmony with their ability to entertain. And one of the members doubles as a part of the band. The Shindig’s band is one of the most impressive in the area. They easily slide from country to bluegrass to rock and roll without missing a beat. You’ll be amazed at the band’s ability to keep the show blazing along.

Right next to the Tennessee Shindig is the Wood Grill buffet. They have discount packages that feed a group for next to nothing. The combination of a great show with great food that the whole family will love and at a great low price is just another aspect of the Tennessee Shindig that keeps people coming back every time they visit the Smokies. Though it’s not a dinner show, there is the option of eating dinner before the show at a restaurant right next door to the theater. After dinner, just leave your car parked where it is and walk to the theater.

The Tennessee Shindig is a show that you don’t want to miss while you’re in the Smoky Mountains. Located at the corner of the Parkway and Teaster Lane in Pigeon Forge at traffic light No. 2, they’re easy to find and just a short walk from some of the town’s most popular attractions, restaurants and hotels. And don’t forget the rest of Pigeon Forge while you’re here… Grab dinner and a show ticket and watch one of the best shows in the area. Spend a great evening with the cast of the Tennessee Shindig.

Tennessee Shindig
2385 Parkway
Pigeon Forge, TN

Top 10 Pigeon Forge Attractions

Top 10 Pigeon Forge Attractions from Dollywood to Wonderworks. Pigeon Forge has something for everyone in your family and more.

Is there an easier question to answer than ones like “What sets Pigeon Forge apart from other Smoky Mountain towns like Gatlinburg, or even Asheville, NC?” It’s the attractions of course! Pigeon Forge, Tn has become a destination spot in the Smokies because of its numerous parks, theaters, and museums. It seems that every year there is something new that pops up in town. Just recently, the Lumberjack Feud and the Hatfield & McCoy dinner show make their presence known in the area and have gotten wonderful reviews.

With everything new that’s coming into Pigeon Forge, one would think anything dated might just pack up and leave. Not so, the No. 1 attraction around here has been here for a while and doesn’t look to be slowing down anytime soon. Of course, we’re talking about Dollywood. And with new rides like the Wild Eagle being built every few years, Dollywood has found a great way to renew itself while still keeping its mountain charm. Now, without further ado, on with the list.

Our Top 10 Pigeon Forge attractions:

  1. Dollywood – What else can be said about the hometown girl’s theme park. From great shows and rides to festivals like Dollywood’s Smoky Mountain Christmas and Dollywood’s Festival of Nations, the Pigeon Forge theme park keeps getting better each year. As mentioned, check out the new Wild Eagle thrill ride as well as the Barnstormer – a recent addition to the park. The food isn’t too bad either so come hungry, especially if you’re into carnival-like fare.
  2. Dollywood’s Splash Country – Dollywood’s next door neighbor and next-of-kin is THE outdoor water park in the area. Featuring 23 water slides and thrill rides, Splash Country is a great place to spend your summer int he Smoky Mountains.
  3. Titanic Attraction – Come explore the Titanic museum and attraction in Pigeon Forge and get a closer look at the events surrounding that fateful day. You’ll see part of the actual ship that were recovered from the ocean’s depth and you’ll be able to touch water as cold as the waters surrounding the iceberg that brought the luxury liner to its knees.
  4. Dixie Stampede – Dolly Parton’s Dixie Stampede dinner show combines the drama of the Civil War with country cooking. Watch as the North battles the South once again while you sit and eat some of the finest rotisserie chicken, pork loin, sides, and deserts. It’s not only entertaining, but very tasty.
  5. Wonderworks – This interactive science museum allows you feel hurricane-like winds, what an earthquake feels like, and they’ll let you lay down on a bed of nails – if you want. There’s something for all the senses here and its a great place to take school groups as well. You can’t miss its upside down exterior lying off the Parkway.
  6. Smoky Mountain Adventures – Pigeon Forge’s new dinner show has opened to rave reviews. Cheer on your team for a demonstration of unbelievable ability and agility during a head to head competition at the annual Great Smoky Mountain Family Contests!
  7. Hatfield & McCoy Dinner Show – Will these families ever settle their differences? Not the way this show is going. The “Dinner Feud” features great country cooking, bluegrass, comedy, and the two orneriest families ever to come across one another. Will they settle their differences? Not likely, but come by and see just in case.
  8. The Comedy Barn – The Comedy Barn in Pigeon Forge prides itself on clean family humor. Don’t worry, you’ll still fall over in laughter at this show. Years and years of big crowds and even bigger laughs and he haws will back that up.
  9. The Track – Want to race and have a great time flying around a specialty track against your friends and family? The Track is the place. They also feature bungee jumping, bumper boats, and much more.
  10. Country Tonite Theater – From celebrity performances from the likes of George Jones to their classic country shows, Pigeon Forge’s Country Tonite Theater is a great place to catch a live performance from some of the most talented acts in the Smokies. You’ll be humming along and tapping your toes to some of the most popular country hits from yesterday and today.

So, see something we might have missed or think you’ve got a better suggestion? Let us hear from you in our comment box below.

Dollywood’s Eagle Mountain Sanctuary

The Eagle Mountain Sanctuary on Dollywood’s property is the largest aviary of non-releasable Bald Eagles in the world.  These eagles have been wounded in the wild, or orphaned in their nests and brought to East Tennessee to be raised in captivity and cared for by the good people of the American Eagle Foundation.  Eagle Mountain Sanctuary is located in Craftsmens Valley across form the blacksmith’s shop, right next to the Wings of America Theater.  This makes it easy to find and of course the ability to look up the side of the mountain and watch eagle sin nature on the side of the Great Smoky Mountains is simply wonderful.

As you walk toward the netting that is used to protect the eagles and keep them safe inside the sanctuary you will feel as if you are stepping out of yourself, and certainly stepping out of Dollywood.  It is almost otherworldly.  The eagles have built nests and inherited nests on the side of this mountain.  You get a feel for the enormity of the nests, the size of these beautiful creatures.  You also get to hear them as they interact.

You might even hear the eagles before you see them on the mountain.  They screech and chirp to each other making the wonderful noises you will ever hear.  They are very social animals.  They do not usually live in quarters quite this tight but they seem to get a long and they are well cared for.  The eagles in the Eagle Mountain Sanctuary are being rehabilitated or can simply not be released back into the wild.  This is as close as you will ever get to a bald eagle.

Unless of course, you turn around and go to the smaller pens near the eagle gift shop.  Here some of the more well behaved eagles are in smaller enclosures that allow you to get much closer to the eagles and see them moving around and interacting with their environment.  Especially for young people and people that have never seen eagles before this is a treat and you will find that you spend countless minutes watching the birds hop and flit from tree to tree.

The Eagle Mountain Sanctuary is one of the most wonderful attractions and exhibits in Dollywood.  They have an amazing exhibit and they do a great deal of good for the bird that is the symbol of our country.  It is hard to believe that some of these eagles have been injured by hunters and cannot return to the wild but it is good to know that the professionals that are taking care of them have the best interest of the eagles at heart.

Dollywood’s Smoky Mountain River Rampage

The wettest ride at Dollywood is the Smoky Mountain River Rampage.  This white water rafting style ride promises dips, plunges and lots and lots of water.  Stepping into the circular boat means that you have agreed to get drenched in the fast moving water.  The ride is located at the front of the park, in Rivertown Junction, making it easy to find and of course, making it a perfect last stop after a hot day in the park.

As you enter the line, you are going to notice one thing right off the bat, the line can get very long.  It has one of the longest, and most winding queues in the park outside of the roller coasters.  This line can really stack up.  The wait can take a good bit of time, but the folks at Dollywood have made sure that you stay under the cover of trees and buildings most of the time so that you don’t get too hot before getting really wet.  On a similar note, if it starts to rain, that’s the perfect time to head for this ride. For whatever reason, if it is raining people tend to leave the lines for water rides.  It doesn’t make a lot of sense but it does seem to happen.

River Rampage2After standing in line for a little while, you will reach the front of the line and you will see a line of circular boats lined up in front of you.  The people running the ride will help you into your boat. Make sure that you are secured in your seat before setting off on your journey.  The boats bounce merrily along the course before they begin their journey up the first hill.  This hill is the start of the fun part.  As you top the hill, you get a great view of the surrounding area outside the park, before plunging down the other side.  If you are on the downhill side of this plunge, get ready to get soaked.  After this plunge, you will be on a twisting course through rapids, beside cascades and close to waterfalls, all designed to get you as wet as possible.  Add to that, the fact that the people that are watching you get soaked can add to the fun by firing water cannons at you and you have a ride that is guaranteed to make sure you are cooled off after a hot day in the summer sun.

Once your ride is over, you arrive back at the docks, ready to disembark.  After you have gotten out of your boat you can exit, or get right back in line to ride it again.  And, if you are lucky and there is no one else in line, they might just let you ride through again without getting out of the boat at all.  Either, way you have just been on the wettest ride that Dollywood has to offer.  It is exciting, it is fun and it really knows how to take away the heat.