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.
Here is a comprehensive list of some of our favorite attractions to help you plan your next trip with family-friendly museums in Pigeon Forge and the surrounding areas of Gatlinburg and Sevierville.
1. Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies (Gatlinburg)
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 $25 per ticket when you purchase combo passes for other Ripley’s attractions.
2. Titanic Museum (Pigeon Forge)
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 of an actual Titanic passenger or crew and learn of their fate.
Check Tripster for discounts as you plan your voyage.
3. Alcatraz East (Pigeon Forge)
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.
4. Wonderworks (Pigeon Forge)
Wonderworks features 35,000 square feet of “edu-tainment” 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 $32.99 and children (ages 4-12) are $24.99 as are seniors 60 and over. You can also buy tickets (usually at discount) on Tripster.
5. Beyond the Lens (Pigeon Forge)
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.
6. Ripley’s Believe It or Not! Odditorium (Gatlinburg)
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 $25 per ticket when you purchase combo passes for Ripley’s.
Believe it or Not tickets are $29.99 for adults as a standalone purchase.
7. Hollywood Wax Museum (Pigeon Forge)
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.
8. Ripley’s Marvelous Mirror Maze (Gatlinburg)
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 $12.99 for adults. Remember to bundle your passes when you purchase Ripley’s attraction tickets.
9. Ripley’s Haunted Adventure (Gatlinburg)
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.
10. Mysterious Mansion (Gatlinburg)
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.
General admission for adults is $20 at the time of this writing.
11. Salt and Pepper Shaker Museum (Gatlinburg)
Gatlinburg’s Salt and Pepper Shaker Museum is one of only a handful of salt and pepper shaker set galleries in the whole United States.
The Salt and Pepper Shaker Museum in Gatlinburg features an amazing collection of over 20,000 shaker sets and 1,500 pepper mills from around the world. Tickets are only $3.
12. Hollywood Star Cars Museum (Gatlinburg)
For the car enthusiasts in the family, this museum features some of the most famous cars in movie and TV history.
Collections include cars from The Fast and Furious as well as some owned by celebrities, like a Cadillac D’Elegance from Dolly Parton or a 1975 Lincoln Continental from Elvis Presley.
The museum is located in downtown Gatlinburg and is open daily.
Online adult tickets are $12.99 with children’s pricing available.
13. Gatlinburg Pinball Museum (Gatlinburg)
This is a fun stop for fans of pinball machines. This museum, which is more of an arcade, features the largest collection of pinballs in the Smokies.
It’s located on 205 Historic Nature Trail in Gatlinburg. A $20 pass can grant you a day pass to play the arcade games.
Prices are subject to change.
What is your favorite museum in Pigeon Forge? Let us know in the comments.