Jurassic Jungle Boat Ride Pigeon Forge: Tourist trap or beloved icon?

Jurassic Boat Ride is an indoor dark ride attraction located on the Parkway in Pigeon Forge. Pictured here, a slightly creepy mannequin stands outside the attraction (photo by Morgan Overholt/TheSmokies.com)

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You’ve seen it a million times while driving down the Parkway. 

It’s too large and too cheesy lookin’ to miss.

Perhaps you’ve taken the bait. Or maybe you’re too high-brow to even consider it. 

Regardless, we all know it. It’s practically a landmark of the Parkway in Pigeon Forge. 

That’s right, we’re talking about the Jurassic Jungle Boat Ride.

And today, we wish to start an Internet debate about this piece of Parkway history. Is the Jurassic Jungle Boat Ride an area icon? Or is it nothing more than a tourist trap?

Read Also: Unpopular Opinion: A review of Paula Deen’s Restaurant in Pigeon Forge: ‘Just OK’

Jurassic Boat Ride
The animated display outside is one of the more impressive scenes (photo by Alaina O’Neal/TheSmokies.com)

What is the Jurassic Jungle Boat Ride?

First things first. For the uninitiated or perhaps just oblivious, let’s quickly explain what this attraction is.

Jurassic Jungle Boat Ride is a standalone ridable indoor attraction located in Pigeon Forge, Tenn. 

It features a “boat ride” through a dark warehouse jungle filled with pre-historic animatronics dinosaurs.

The boat, while surrounded by shallow water, does not actually float as one might suspect and is instead led by track. 

It’s similar, in a way, to Dollywood’s Blazing Fury. Complete with animatronics that, after years of use, are showing their age.

Read Also: Blazing Fury history: The untold story behind Dollywood’s beloved ride

A broken mannequin
Need a hand? (photo by Alaina O’Neal/TheSmokies.com)

What it’s like to experience Jurassic Jungle Boat Ride

From the moment you queue up for this attraction, it’s hard not to know exactly what you’re in for.

We only saw a single employee on-site during the course of our visit. He both worked the ticket booth and waved guests on and off the ride.

There’s an assortment of mismatched mannequins out front who are missing miscellaneous appendages.

At first, I wondered if it was on purpose for effect.

But after laughing and taking a suspicious amount of photographs of one of the detached limbs, the lone employee came over to remove the limb and tuck the now-armless sleeve into the mannequin’s pocket to be a bit less obvious.

Spoilsport.

The queue was fairly short and the wait time was minimal. We were able to board in just under 10 minutes. 

An animatronic dinosaur
You spend the better part of your time on this ride in almost complete darkness (photo by Alaina O’Neal/TheSmokies.com)

Then it came time for the actual ride

The best way to describe the Jurassic Jungle Boat Ride is to imagine what Disney World’s “It’s a Small World” would have been like with far less funding, more dinos and without the annoying music. It’s also three times darker.

The “boat” is mildly jerky but in a forgivable way. I would say no more jerky than the Blazing Fury but much slower.

And I can’t mention this enough … this ride is DARK.

As in, perhaps the darkest ride I’ve ever been on.

In fact, you spend the vast majority of your time on the ride barely being able to see a thing. 

Every few seconds a spotlight shines on a featured animatronic dinosaur who performs its obligatory shaky movement. You hear some sound effects until the scene goes dark again and you move on.

Jurassic Boat Ride Prop
Some props are better than others (photo by Alaina O’Neal/TheSmokies.com)

Do you get wet on Jurassic Jungle Boat Ride? How long is the ride?

No, you will not get wet on Jurassic Jungle Boat Ride. Not even a light sprinkle.

In fact, we had kind of hoped there would be a light sprinkle or mist, because the ride was a bit humid for our tastes.

The total ride time is exactly 10 minutes long.

How much does it cost? Are there coupons available?

General admission for Jurassic Jungle Boat Ride in Pigeon Forge runs at $18.99 per adult, $13.99 for children ages 5-11 and $6.99 for children ages 3-4.

Jurassic Jungle Boat Ride accepts Discover, Mastercard and Visa. They do not accept American Express. You must buy your tickets on-site. There is no online option.

There is, however, a coupon available. All you have to do is mention that you saw this coupon on their website and you’ll receive $1 off general admission.

Is Jurassic Jungle Boat Ride a tourist trap or a beloved icon?

Now that you’re up to speed it’s time for the great debate.

Is Jurassic Jungle Boat Ride simply a tourist trap or a beloved Smoky Mountain icon?

I think the answer depends on your personality. And I could see it going both ways.

Another animatronic dinosaur
An animatronic dinosaur (photo by Alaina O’Neal/TheSmokies.com)

Pro tourist trap arguments

Those who would put this attraction in the category of tourist trap would argue that it’s overpriced, outdated and poorly maintained.

After all, you’re paying $18.99 per adult for 10 minutes of “entertainment”. Compare that to other popular area attractions for a moment that offer a day-long experience. 

Soaky Mountain, for instance, runs right at $44.99 for general admission for an entire day’s worth of entertainment.

Read More: How to get free, discounted admission to Soaky Mountain Waterpark

Tourist trap opponents might also argue that it’s outdated. As one hilarious Google reviewer put it:

“This ride transports you back in time … to the 1960s to be specific.”

It may be worth noting, that at the time of this writing, Jurassic Jungle Boat Ride is rocking a 2.9 star review on Google.

And finally, and I believe this to be the strongest pro tourist trap argument, their phone doesn’t seem to actually work.

To be clear, it rings. It just doesn’t ring at the actual attraction. And no one ever answers the call.

We tried calling the attraction using the phone number listed on their website multiple times beforehand to no avail. 

Upon arrival, I happened to notice a landline phone sitting next to the ticket agent.

Curious, I decided to call the number one more time while standing beside their ticket booth. Spoiler alert, the phone never rang. 

I don’t think I’m alone in that experience either, as several Google reviews have mentioned the same complaint.

Mismatched mannequins
A mismatched assortment of mannequins can be found just outside the ride (photo by Alaina O’Neal/TheSmokies.com)

Pro beloved icon arguments

But then again I could also argue that Jurassic Jungle Ride is the stuff that pop culture icons are made of.

It’s the Sharknado of rides.

Who are we as a culture to lift up Dollywood’s Blazing Fury, which is from a similar era with similarly dated animatronics, as a beloved piece of Dollywood history only to turn around and make fun of Jurassic Jungle Boat Ride?

Jurassic Jungle Boat Ride has been around for years. It’s part of Parkway history.

We happily quote Blazing Fury’s cheesy lines and scream FIRE IN THE HOLE upon take off. 

And if we are being really honest, Blazing Fury’s mannequins and props are just as cheesy, mismatched and (at times) just as creepy as Jurassic Jungle Boat Ride’s mannequins. 

We say the Blazing Fury is “nostalgic” and has “personality” while Jurassic Jungle Boat Ride is criticized as being “outdated” and “worn down”.

And while half of their Google reviews are less than kind, half of them have words of praise for the attraction.

They say it’s great for little kids who don’t mind the dark and love dinosaurs.

And most of all, I would argue that you know exactly what you’re in for the second you pull into the parking lot at Jurassic Jungle Boat Ride. 

It’s not an attraction that’s pretending to be something it’s not. 

If you can’t tell that things will be a bit outdated, or that the ride will be jerky and slow before you hand over your credit card at the ticket booth, I’m sorry to say you likely aren’t paying attention.

A tourist trap, to me, is something that pretends to be something it’s not to take your money. 

Jurassic Jungle Boat Ride is loud and proud about what it is, without pretense.

Jurassic Boat Ride Storefront
The Jurassic Jungle Boat Ride is hard to miss for a passersby on the Parkway (photo by Morgan Overholt/TheSmokies.com)

What do YOU think?

In summary, pro tourist trap arguments include:

  • Overpriced
  • Outdated
  • The phone number is just for giggles

Pro beloved icon arguments include:

  • Nostalgic
  • No pretense
  • Fire in the Hole!

Since we here at TheSmokies.com are on the fence, we’d really like to hear from YOU, fellow Smokies lovers. What do YOU think about Jurassic Jungle Boat Ride in Pigeon Forge? Let us know in the comments below.

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Disclaimer: While we do our best to bring you the most up-to-date information, attractions or prices mentioned in this article may vary by season and are subject to change. Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any mentioned business, and have not been reviewed or endorsed these entities. Contact us at info@thesmokies.com for questions or comments.

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27 thoughts on “Jurassic Jungle Boat Ride Pigeon Forge: Tourist trap or beloved icon?”

  1. Way out dated and needs to be refurbished bad and way overly priced. Total tourist trap.

  2. Years ago, we paid over 100.00 for our whole family to ride this. It was a disappointment for sure!

  3. Mydaughter likes to ride the the Jurasdic jungle everythime we goto pigeon forge. I like the firey blaze ride bettet

  4. I’m team pro icon.And as mentioned …great ride for dinosaur loving children who don’t mind the dark.

  5. Tourist traps are fine. This is a scam and a money trap for unsuspecting tourists. You feel robbed after you emerge from the outdated, stale water, 3 minute ride. Save your money. A more reputable tourist trap will give you more bang for your buck.

  6. It was an ok ride for adults but a better ride for kids. They are the ones it’s really for. Would I go again no,but your there to have a fun day so enjoy it for the little ones.

  7. I would love it if thev4ide could be updated. Dinosaurs will always be popular among all ages. Why waste a great opportunity?

  8. Absolute waste of money should of took a note from the kids getting off looking bored worst thing to do in pigeon forge

  9. Definite tourist trap. Every time we pass by I want to stop and tell people it’s not worth it lol. Looks poor from the outside, and evidently within as well

  10. Scream a lot while you are on the ride ! We laughed and it made our experience much more fun. Leaving those yet to ride wary of what they had paid for. We love it in a nostalgic sort of way. You forgot to mention the nice hill climb with a dip and bump at the end.

  11. My grandson absolutely loves we have to ride it Everytime we are in the forge with him but that’s the only time I will ride it but I do agree with the resurgence of dinosaur movies such as Jurassic Park they should spend a little money on refurbishing and it could be a really good ride

  12. Tourists trap for sure. Paid almost 100.00 for family and very disappointed. Not worth it. Did it twice and never again

  13. I have went in this ride, not worth the money, Felt it was just a tourist trap

  14. For my dinosaur enthusiastic son .. it is worth it. Do I always think money can be thrown away? No … I would be happier if they at least dropped the price a bit

  15. It was a trap. Me and my wife paid 44.00 and it was very dark and I could hardly see any animals. I stood in line longer than the ride. Very disappointed

  16. This place is definitely outdated and isn’t worth the time or cost. There’s other places in PF that is worth what you pay for Jurassic.

  17. W4e went to pigeon forge July 24th through 27th 2021….we went to this and it was horrible very out dated..very dark…and pretty run down..there was two girls working in the booth to enter
    …everything looked cheesy and dirty I would not recommend this to anyone save your money

  18. I was there on family vacation in 2014. At the very least it is a boat ride to take your children on as a family. Some will say it is outdated, overpriced, and a short ride. But in the end it is for the kids. Is it any more expensive than Dollywood or the midway rides at the local county fairs? Consider the location you are at in Pigeon Forge, Tn. Everything in the parkway is an amusement park type setting and pricey. If you are on vacation there its about the fun and not the cost. But the whole town is a tourist destination like Dollywood. An Icon of the parkway that needs some updating!!

  19. It’s a trap! Completely outdated, overpriced for what is offered, nothing to write home about, and we experienced the same lack of customer service/attention. Definitely a location we could have skipped on our trip!!!

  20. my grandson loves this place, we now live here and pass by it each day
    we take a boat ride a couple times a month. the joy it brings to him is worth it and the folks that own and run it are awesome. we love it

  21. It isn’t pretending to be Disney world ! It is a cheesy ride but all I see is the memory of my son being so excited to ride this. He was little but I remember him being so happy .

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