What Is the Upside Down House in Pigeon Forge? Here’s What’s Inside

wonderworks museum in pigeon forge tn

Wonderworks in Pigeon Forge, Tenn., is sometimes referred to as the upside down house (photo by Daniel Munson/TheSmokies.com)

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The bend of the Parkway after the transition from Sevierville to Pigeon Forge is one of the more surreal stretches of land in the Smokies. 

Everything appears to be seemingly normal. There are hotels and restaurants – pretty standard stuff, really. 

Then, as you cross the Hard Rock Cafe, things get weird quickly. There’s the looming silhouette of the Titanic museum rising above the hill ahead.

Across the Parkway sits a pair of giant hands holding an extremely out-of-date camera above the entrance to a building being crushed by a falling skyscraper, also known as Beyond the Lens.

Throw in the conceptually out-of-place Hatfield and McCoy Dinner Show and you have legitimately one of the strangest confluences of attractions this side of Vegas. 

And that doesn’t include the upside-down building

Read Also: Wonderworks vs. Beyond the Lens: Which Attraction Is Better?


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An upside down building? 

I said what I said. 

The upside-down building is actually a tourist attraction and children’s museum by the name of WonderWorks. It’s one of the most popular attractions in Pigeon Forge for families where your imagination can run wild and offers loads of family fun.

If you’re unfamiliar with the concept of WonderWorks – a franchise of kid-friendly museums scattered across tourist locations like here in Pigeon Forge, Orlando, Panama City and Syracuse, New York – the sight of an upside-down building that looks like the courthouse from “Back to the Future” can be arresting.

But the interior of the building – which is right side up – is a pretty standard science museum, billed as offering “edu-tainment” fare.

So essentially, it’s a type of indoor amusement park that is entertaining, fun and begrudgingly educational. 

Inversion Tunnel at Wonderworks
An inversion tunnel at the beginning of the museum turns everything right-side-up again (photo by Alaina O’Neal/TheSmokies.com)

Why is the house upside down?

The best answer is “Man, I don’t know.”

My best guess is somebody in WonderWorks corporate, possibly the founders, had a good imagination and a healthy budget.

“If we put the building upside down, that’ll really grab their attention.”

“What if we just had a regular façade and filled the building with quality exhibits like every other museum in the world?” 

“What? No. It’s gotta be upside down. It’s genius.”

The WonderWorks website says that the museum began as a top-secret laboratory on a remote island in the Bermuda Triangle.

Professor Wonder, the museum’s mascot, was doing an experiment when something went awry, and the power of a tornado was unleashed inside the laboratory.

The website continues:

This created a swirling vortex that was strong enough to rip the laboratory from its foundation. It was carried thousands of miles away and landed upside-down … the rest, as they say, is history.

Yeah. History that happened six times and landed in tourist-friendly locations.

You also walk through some kind of “inversion” tunnel at the entrance to explain why everything on the inside isn’t also upside down.

There’s not enough room in my head for how much I roll my eyes every time I walk through that thing. 

Read Also: 13 Best Museums in Pigeon Forge, Gatlinburg With Coupons

Ropes course at Wonderworks
The educational museum is interactive and features hands-on obstacles like this dark indoor ropes course (photo by Alaina O’Neal/TheSmokies.com)

What’s inside the upside down house?

As you walk in, there’s an illusion of the ceiling being on the floor. But after you pass through the inversion tunnel, there’s a series of interactive and educational exhibits. They’re called Wonder Zones.

Each Wonder Zone has a theme like weather, space, art and more. They play a little fast and loose with some of the themes. The Physical Challenge Zone has a bed of nails, a bubble lab and a pulley system where kids can lift themselves up and down.

The Light and Sound Zone has some television and video game content, along with a giant piano and light effects.

My kids had a lot of fun and a few thrills with the physical challenges. Actually, it was among my kids’ favorites, so take that for what it’s worth.

The Imagination Lab has a gigantic Lite-Brite feature and a “Dig It” sandbox. They also have a Space Discovery Zone with training challenges and a replica of a launch capsule.

The Extreme Weather Zone has an Earthquake Cafe and a Hurricane Shack, where guests can feel the power of hurricane-force winds that reach more than 155 mph.

Most of the zones are enjoyable for older kids and younger kids alike with 42,000 square feet of features.

Wonderworks Lobby
The lobby on the inside is also “upside down” (photo by Alaina O’Neal/TheSmokies.com)

What is there to do besides look at the exhibits?

In addition to the exhibits, the museum has a black light ropes course and a 4D XD motion theater.

The laser tag arena offers a backlit maze to battle opponents in an action-packed arena, which is also included in the ticket price.

Before you leave, you’ll do a walk-through of the Wonder Art Gallery, which has illusion art that can play tricks on the mind.

They once offered a magic show, but Terry Evanswood now performs at the Grand Majestic Theater.

Astronaut training challenge
An astronaut training challenge at Wonderworks (photo by Alaina O’Neal/TheSmokies.com)

How much is the upside down house in Pigeon Forge?

Can I tell them my money fell out of my pocket in the inversion tunnel? No. Trust me. They’ve heard that one and they are NOT amused.

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.

Children under four are free. 

The Wonderworks attraction is located at 100 Music Road in Pigeon Forge, TN.

Have you been to Wonderworks Pigeon Forge in the Smoky Mountains? Let us know in the comments.

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John Gullion

John Gullion, Managing Editor at the Citizen Tribune, is a freelance contributor for TheSmokies.com LLC – the parent company of TheSmokies.com and HeyOrlando.com.

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