These are the Best Museums in Pigeon Forge, Gatlinburg

titanic museum in pigeon forge

The Titanic Museum in Pigeon Forge is one of the best places to visit in the Smokies (photo by Daniel Munson/TheSmokies.com)

TN native lists top attractions in the Smoky Mountains, with coupons

No trip to the Great Smoky Mountains is complete without checking out at least a couple of museums and walk-through attractions in the area. With so many to choose from, it can be difficult to know where to spend your vacation dollars. Remember that any pricing mentioned in this article is subject to change and may vary by season. Here is a comprehensive list of some of my favorite attractions:

The Titanic Museum in Pigeon Forge is one of the best and most popular museums in the Smokies. However, there are several other great museums and walk-through attractions in both Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg, including Alcatraz East Crime Museum, the WonderWorks kids’ museum and Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies.

Museums in Pigeon Forge, Gatlinburg

RankAttractionBest for …
1Ripley’s AquariumFamilies and all ages.
2Titanic MuseumPeople who enjoy the history of the Titanic.
3Alcatraz Crime MuseumTrue crime enthusiasts.
4WonderWorksFamilies with children.
5Beyond the LensPeople who enjoy pop culture.
6Believe it or Not!People who love quirky attractions.
7Hollywood Wax MuseumPeople who enjoy pop culture and photo ops.
8Ripley’s Marvelous Mirror MazePeople with children who enjoy puzzles and mazes.
9Ripley’s Haunted AdventurePeople who love the spooky side and bundled Ripley’s tickets.
10Mysterious MansionPeople who love the spooky side and want a more local attraction.
Green sea turtle at Ripley's
Sally is a green sea turtle at Ripley’s Aquarium (media photo courtesy of Ripley’s Aquarium)

1. Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies (Gatlinburg)

Tip: Bundle your ripley’s tickets

Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies is an amazing family attraction with state-of-the-art facilities, more than 10,000 exotic sea creatures and 10 themed galleries. This Gatlinburg aquarium has been rated the best in North America and has over 350 species with tons of family-friendly, hands-on, educational exhibits. It’s also conveniently located in downtown Gatlinburg. Single-day tickets are $39.99 for adults, but you can save up to $26 per person when you purchase combo passes for other Ripley’s attractions.

a replica of the grand staircase
The full-sized replica of the Titanic grand staircase is one of the most iconic exhibits on display (media photo courtesy of the Titanic Museum)

2. Titanic Museum (Pigeon Forge)

Tip: Make reservations ahead of time

The Titanic Museum attraction in Pigeon Forge opens a door to the past with a one-of-a-kind “passenger” experience. Guests get to experience what it was like to walk the hallways, parlors, guest quarters and the grand staircase while surrounded by more than 400 artifacts sourced directly from the ship and its passengers. Each guest will receive a boarding pass from an actual Titanic passenger or crew and learn of their fate. Check Tripster for discounts as you plan your voyage.

Alcatraz East Museum
Alcatraz East is a beloved attraction for true crime fans (photo by Daniel Munson/TheSmokies.com)

3. Alcatraz East (Pigeon Forge)

Tip: Restrooms are halfway through the attraction

Alcatraz East Crime Museum gives guests a chance to explore the American history of crime from a unique perspective in the five galleries featuring criminal profiles, the penal system, victims’ stories, crime prevention, forensic science, law enforcement and the justice system. The museum also features over 100 interactive and seasonal exhibits. Check Tripster for discounts.

WonderWorks is known as the upside-down house in Pigeon Forge (photo by Daniel Munson/TheSmokies.com)

4. WonderWorks (Pigeon Forge)

Tip: Save money with tripster

WonderWorks features 35,000 square feet of “edutainment” and is described as an “amusement park for the mind.” This attraction features more than 100 hands-on exhibits that challenge the mind and spark imagination. The wonder zones include the Extreme Weather Zone, the Physical Challenge Zone, the Space Discovery Zone, the Light and Sound Zone, the Imagination Lab and the Wonder Art Gallery. At the time of this writing, tickets for this adventure for adults are $33.99 and children (ages 4-12) are $25.99 as are seniors 60 and over. You can also buy tickets (usually at a discount) on Tripster.

Beyond the Lens Museum in Pigeon Forge
Beyond the Lens Museum is located along the Parkway in Pigeon Forge (photo by Daniel Munson/TheSmokies.com)

5. Beyond the Lens (Pigeon Forge)

Tip: Save money with tripster

Beyond the Lens invites guests to explore the best of pop culture with interactive games, photo ops and entertaining exhibits the whole family will enjoy. Popular activities include: Search for Bigfoot, The Alien Egg Pit, A Human Kaleidoscope, Augmented Reality Games, Virtual Reality Games/Escape Room, Crimes of the Century and 4D VR motion rides. Check for discounts on Tripster.

Ripleys believe it or not in gatlinburg, tn
Ripley’s Believe It Or Not is a popular wheelchair-accessible attraction in the Smokies (photo by Marie Graichen/TheSmokies.com)

6. Ripley’s Believe it or Not (Gatlinburg)

Tip: Bundle your ripley’s tickets

Ripley’s Believe It or Not! features hundreds of unusual artifacts and hands-on, interactive exhibits. Guests can venture through themed galleries featuring curiosities, art, animal oddities, pop-culture memorabilia, interactive games and stories of people and places that are incredibly hard to believe but “undeniably” true. Remember, you can save $26 when you purchase combo passes for Ripley’s. Believe it or Not tickets are $29.99 for adults as a standalone purchase.

a child stares dubiously at a wax figure of Dolly Parton
Some wax figures are more realistic than others. Not everyone seems to be a fan of this Dolly Parton replica (photo by Dr. Candi Overholt/TheSmokies.com)

7. Hollywood Wax Museum (Pigeon Forge)

Tip: Save money with tripster

The Hollywood Wax Museum gives guests a chance to mingle with the stars and celebrities, at least realistic wax versions, which is the next best thing. Props and accessories are provided during the tour to enhance photo-ops with these life-sized wax creations along the red carpet. Figures include the likes of Natalie Portman, Dolly Parton, Michael Jackson and many more. You can upgrade to an all access pass for just $39.99 and receive admission to Hollywood Wax Museum’s other attractions, including Hannah’s Maze of Mirrors, Castle of Chaos and Outbreak. Check ticket prices on Tripster.

A Kid Stands in the Center of Ripley's Mirror Maze
This mirror maze is a quick attraction that you can do quickly, but the kids will love it (photo by Kirby Russell/TheSmokies.com)

8. Ripley’s Marvelous Mirror Maze (Gatlinburg)

Tip: Bundle your ripley’s tickets

Spend a lot of time looking at yourself as you attempt to find your way out of a labyrinth of mirrors and LED lights at Ripley’s Marvelous Mirror Maze in downtown Gatlinburg. This attraction does not take up a large part of your day. Standalone tickets are $14.99 for adults. Remember to bundle your passes when you purchase Ripley’s attraction tickets.

Stumpy at Ripley's Haunted Adventure
“Stumpy” greets guests at Ripley’s Haunted Adventure (photo courtesy of Ripley’s Haunted Adventure)

9. Ripley’s Haunted Adventure (Gatlinburg)

Tip: Bundle your ripley’s tickets

Ripley’s Haunted Adventure takes your typical haunted house to the next level. This attraction features live actors, kitschy oddities, shrunken human heads and rare animal skeletons. This is another relatively brief attraction, and standalone tickets are $16.99 for adults with discounts for children. Remember to bundle your passes when you purchase Ripley’s attraction tickets.

Mysterious Mansion in Gatlinburg
The Mysterious Mansion is located along River Road in Gatlinburg (photo by James Overholt/TheSmokies.com)

10. Mysterious Mansion (Gatlinburg)

Tip: May not be for young children

The Victorian-style haunted house features year-round self-guided tours and spooky surprises around every corner. The home features live actors. Children are allowed but must be accompanied by an adult. This attraction is not recommended for small children. The Mansion is open on weekends and other special dates during winter, so as always, check the website or call to plan ahead. General admission for adults is $23 at the time of this writing.

Are you planning a trip to the Great Smoky Mountains? Be sure to check out our coupons page!

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