Well we did it! We had our first big family trip and everyone survived, mostly.
In lieu of big gifts for Christmas, my dad and my bonus mom booked us tickets down to Tennessee and a big family cabin for our trip. This was my first time getting to do tourist things in Tennessee, even though I had been down there before and honestly I had NO idea how many great, family friendly activities there were to do. When I say that Pigeon Forge has something for everyone to do, I do mean literally everyone.
A lot of people know about Dollywood, but there is so much more to do in the area from rafting, to cool museums and exhibits, to interactive attractions and ropes courses, and of course a wide variety of retail opportunities.
To say that traveling has been missed since COVID shut down large parts of the United States, is an understatement and we were very pleased with our first trip since life has started to open back up.
Our first day truly spent exploring Pigeon Forge was at The Island in the heart of Pigeon Forge. This location is aptly named due to the creek that encompasses the area and is evident when taking a good look around the area on the big, enclosed and air conditioned Great Smoky Mountain Wheel at the center of The Island in Pigeon Forge.
Carolynn was able to build her first build-a-bear at The Island’s workshop, try her first ice cream cone, and ride her first carousel. One of our favorite things about The Island was that there was truly something for everyone in our group to enjoy even though we all like to do a little bit different things. To read more about our time spent at The Island in Pigeon Forge, head over to The Undem Family Adventures at The Island, Pigeon Forge.
After spending some time in the warm Tennessee sun, we were ready for activities that kept the heat away, and up next was the Alcatraz East Crime Museum. If you are a true crime lover, this is your place. I listen to true crime podcasts daily and so do a few of my family members and honestly we thought this was one of the coolest museums we had been to. From the Ted Bundy collection, to Bonnie and Clyde’s actual car from their last ride, to an interactive forensic lab, there are so many cool exhibits detailing different avenues of crime. All of it is packaged and presented in ways that appeal to a wide variety of audiences, so much so that it kept my dad, my step mom, my younger sisters and my husband and me all interested and excited to see which exhibit was up next.
Following our afternoon of crime, we decided to venture over to a world of magic and mystery to go on a quest, a MagiQuest that is. My sisters and I love fantasy and exploration, and this indoor adventure to capture Runes was no exception. When we entered we received wands that interacted with chests and hidden objects throughout the arena, and followed a series of riddles and clues in the book. The object is to solve the riddles and collect all the necessary items to advance through the levels and to interact with fairies and other magical creatures to defeat the Goblin King. My sisters found this to be one of their favorite activities–and they range from ages 24 years to 9 years old. Carolynn took advantage of the explorations and followed her aunties around.
After we finished our adventuring for the day, we stopped in for a family meal with all 5 of my sisters, as well as my husband and daughter to have some delicious, fresh-made pizza at Mellow Mushroom. We had good service, and GREAT food. This is definitely a must-have for anyone visiting the Smoky Mountains.
The first parent-only activity we completed was the Hollywood Wax Museum. This was one of the coolest wax museums I have been to, with very realistic and life-like renditions of famous musicians and actors/actresses. The all-access pass includes four attractions in one, and is absolutely and completely worth the experience. After we finished the walk-through of the wax museum, we walked across the parking lot to the other three adventures in the giant castle. The Castle of Chaos is seriously one of the most fun 5D adventures, where you can fight robots or clowns with blasters, collecting stars and points along the way to see who will be the winner. After the fight, we went on the next adventure in the building–Outbreak. I LOVE scary, and this walkthrough of a zombie-infested chemical facility had me running and laughing all while trying to get through the winding corridors of an outbreak that reanimated military experiments. Filled with both animatronics as well as live zombies, you will be sure to have a thrilling adventure. Lastly, we wound our way through Hannah’s Maze of Mirrors, a family friendly mirror activity where you must help save the princess.
The last stop of the night was Crave Golf Club for a round of mini-golf on the roof-top of the building. There are both indoor and outdoor courses, and a gift shop in conjunction with a candy shop that has all the snacks and munchies you could possibly dream of. Challenging holes coupled with the Crave twist of an added challenge based on the spin board located on each hole, keeps the activity fun and exciting. The course is scattered with giant candy and sweets-themed obstacles and decorations. Crave Golf Club is open late, which makes it even easier to fit into a busy schedule.
Sunday was spent at Beyond the Lens, Titanic Museum Attraction, and Paula Deen’s Lumberjack Feud. To start off, I did not look into what Beyond the Lens was and had no idea what to expect. I was so completely surprised with how cool and fun this place was! A mini escape room, exhibits on Big Foot, VR games (this was so much fun!!), old school and new school games–both video and arcade, and much, much more.
One of my favorite things was the QR code that you are given that pairs with picture stations located throughout the building to capture all the fun experiences. Before you exit the building you are able to see the images that you took throughout the building’s stations and purchase any fun memories that you want to keep.
When I was growing up, the story of the Titanic–the giant unsinkable ship, was always so interesting to me–so of course we had to visit the Titanic Museum Attraction. When you enter the museum, all of the employees are dressed in costumes that are reminiscent of those which would have been worn at the time of the Titanic. Each person, including our daughter, was given a “ticket” to board the ship with a backstory of information, and at the end of the museum tour you are able to find out if the person you boarded as survived the sinking of the Titanic.
My husband Shane’s favorite part of the Titanic Museum Attraction was that the tour uses handheld audio tour guides that correspond with numbers placed throughout the exhibit to allow for a self-paced tour in addition to the employees that are available to guide you. The exact replica of the main staircase was gorgeous, but my favorite part was the room that housed an iceberg to show what the Titanic crashed into, as well as a reservoir of water that is the temperature of the water the night the Titanic sank. The Titanic Museum Attraction does require reservations, so be sure to schedule your visit ahead of time to fit this historical rendition into your schedule.
Paula Deen’s Lumberjack Feud was a fun, family friendly show that combines thrilling tricks with pure muscle and training to keep you entertained throughout the entire production. Both men and women compete head-to-head to win points for the ultimate bragging rights. It was a nice way to end our partnership with My Pigeon Forge and the Pigeon Forge Department of Tourism.
The Undem Family Adventures is so thankful for our partnership and all the fun activities we were able to attend while down in the Smoky Mountains, and we hope that if you stuck with us this long, that means you are planning your trip down to the Smokies, too!
This blog is an exchange for admission to the locations above, but fully represents the opinions of The Undem Family Adventures and where you should visit in Pigeon Forge.