East TN native lists best indoor attractions for a rainy Pigeon Forge day
As someone who grew up just on the outskirts of the Smokies, I can personally tell you that some days it will feel like you experience all four seasons in one day with rain at any given moment. In fact, According to the National Park Service, the Smoky Mountains average about 8-11 days of rain out of the month in the spring and summer. But still, I tell visitors not to worry if they see rain in the forecast. I’ve seen plenty of days where it’s raining one minute, and then it’s sunny and beautiful 20 minutes later. But fortunately, if the rain does stick around, there are plenty of indoor attractions to enjoy:
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1. Visit the Hollywood Wax Museum
A wax museum isn’t exactly unique to the Smokies, but this is still a fun place to visit if you enjoy Hollywood and taking photos with celebrity “look-a-likes”. Plus, this entertainment center has a mirror maze and a few other add-on experiences, including the Castle of Chaos (a 3D reality experience) and Outbreak (a “stop the zombie” experience). I usually find the add-ons a little cheesy, but I do enjoy a good wax museum. The Pigeon Forge location is at 106 Showplace Blvd. Visit the website for more information and current ticket prices.
2. Try an Escape Room
Escape rooms seem to be a fairly recent trend that has taken tourist towns by storm. I’ve done escape rooms in various cities across the country, and Pigeon Forge has some good ones. I can personally vouch for the Escape Game, located at The Island in Pigeon Forge. You’ll have a few rooms to choose from, but my crew did Gold Rush. It’s a fun and high-tech escape game with multiple “rooms” that always results in a memorable experience. And since it’s at The Island, you can spend the rest of the afternoon shopping at various stores or wait out the rain at one of the many restaurants.
3. See the Alcatraz East Crime Museum
My disclaimer to this museum is always that there is a lot of reading involved. Even though the museum will say that it is appropriate for all ages, I think that younger kids could get bored here. But that being said, if you have any interest in true crime whatsoever, this is a fun little visit on your Smoky Mountain vacation. Plus, it is also located within walking distance of The Island in Pigeon Forge. Its location makes it easy to split up a group if not everyone is interested in the museum. Pro tip, booking your tickets with Tripster can sometimes save a couple of dollars off admission.
4. Shop at Tanger Outlets
I always love a stop at the Tanger Outlets whenever I’m in the area. The walk between the shops may involve a little “outdoor” time, but overall, it will still be a nice little respite from the rain. I almost always find something to buy at either Kate Spade or Columbia. Visit their website before you shop for special offers and coupons.
5. Catch a show
Pigeon Forge has a lot to offer in the entertainment space. If you’re looking for clean entertainment for the entire family, The Comedy Barn has been a tried and true tradition in the area for more than 20 years. Some may prefer the horse stunts at the Dolly Parton Stampede or a pirate-themed show at Pirates Voyage. I think which show you choose is a matter of personal preference, but all of the ones I just mentioned are backed by the Dolly Parton name. The main difference between those is that The Comedy Barn does not include dinner, but that does make it one of the more affordable shows.
6. Visit the Titanic Museum
It’s always a little odd seeing a large Titanic ship on the Parkway when you make your way into town. But even though it seems like an odd choice for a mountain tourist town, the Titanic Museum is a great museum that has fascinating relics from the time period. One of my favorite parts of the museum is receiving a boarding pass with the name of a passenger from the real Titanic and finding out that passenger’s fate at the end of the tour. Booking your tickets in advance is recommended since tickets may sometimes sell out. Here’s anothe pro tip: guests are now permitted to take photos inside the museum – something that was previously not allowed.
7. Sample moonshine at Ole Smoky
There are several wineries and distilleries in the Smokies area, and it’s hard to pick a favorite! But Ole Smoky Moonshine is a solid choice because the Gatlinburg location, also known as, “The Holler,” produces all of the company’s flavors and is the country’s most visited distillery. There’s also a convenient location within The Island in Pigeon Forge. Samples are typically $5, which will go toward a purchase you make in-store.
8. Try some indoor mini golf
Mini golf is one of the more popular things to do in the area, and there are certainly several good options to choose from. But if you’re looking to escape a little rain, I recommend Crave Mini Golf. They have a great indoor course, and you can also save $3 with promo code TSC when you purchase two courses. You can also redeem the coupon in-person with this barcode.
9. Drive to Gatlinburg to visit the Aquarium
Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies is one of my personal favorites, and it was even voted the best aquarium in North America. Of course, like most aquariums, it has thousands of exotic sea creatures and a good number of hands-on opportunities for kids of all ages. But my favorite part of the aquarium is the underwater tunnel and the Penguin Playhouse. If you want to try another Ripley’s attraction in the area, check out combo passes and book another indoor attraction, like the Mirror Maze, Haunted Adventure or Super Fun Zone.
What’s your favorite activity around Pigeon Forge during a rainstorm? Let me know in the comments below.