Planning a vacation with toddlers can be a tricky. This isn’t the case in the Smoky Mountains! Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg have a wide variety of toddler-friendly attractions. These activities are fun to do for kids who are older, too! Here is a guide to some of the best things to do in Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg with toddlers.
No trip to Pigeon Forge is complete without a visit to Dollywood! This amazing theme park offers a number of kiddie rides that are perfect for toddlers, such as the Amazing Flying Elephants, Busy Bees, Lucky Ducky, Piggy Parade, and Lemon Twist. If your kids love trains, they will be thrilled to ride on the Dollywood Express, an old-fashioned steam engine.
Toddlers who are wary of rides will still have plenty to do at Dollywood. They can enjoy play areas, the Firehouse Fun Yard and the Lil’ Pilots Playground, along with a shows geared to younger children. The Little Engine Playhouse is a theater that produces 20-minute musical adaptations of classic children’s books. Dollywood is open from mid-March through the end of December.
Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies
Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies is guaranteed to be a hit with your children! They can crawl through transparent tunnels in the Penguin Playhouse, pet a real live stingray at Touch-A-Ray Bay, and explore a new 4-story play structure. In the summer, Ripley’s hosts mermaid shows, where swimmers wearing realistic mermaid tails dive into the aquarium’s tanks. The aquarium is one of the best things to do in Gatlinburg for kids!
Titanic Museum Attraction
Visiting the Titanic Museum Attraction is another thing to do in Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg with toddlers. Even though the historical information will go over their heads, your kids will love coming aboard a giant ship. The museum has a special Tot-Titanic area with a Captain’s Wheel and interactive talking polar bear.
The Island in Pigeon Forge
The Island in Pigeon Forge is a great place to enjoy some downtime with your toddler. Located right off of the Parkway, this shopping and entertainment complex is home to a water fountain show with geysers that “dance” to hit songs. Your kids will be transfixed by the fountain! The Island also includes free bluegrass music outside of Ole Smoky Moonshine and the Great Smoky Mountain Wheel, a 200-foot tall Ferris wheel that lights up at night
Ober Gatlinburg Ski Area & Amusement Park is has a number of toddler-friendly activities. Kids can see black bears, bobcats, otters, owls, and other critters at Ober’s Wildlife Encounter. The amusement park features Kiddie Land, a carousel, an arcade, and an ice skating rink.
TopJump Trampoline Park
Your toddler will have a blast at TopJump! This trampoline park has a special area for kids who are under 42”, so your toddler can jump around without fear of being accidentally jostled by larger kids. It features trampolines, a ball pit, and a foam pit.
Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg have many exciting things for kids of all ages. Whether they are toddlers or a little older, they’ll love the activities the Smoky Mountains has to offer. Other things to do include mini golf, picnicing, visiting the Gatlinburg Space Needle, attending a show, and going to the Hollywood Wax Museum.
Pigeon Forge Snow
The country’s first indoor snow facility is in Pigeon Forge. Pigeon Forge Snow has a snowplay area where snowmen and snow angels can be made. Parents can watch children from the second floor.
Big Rock Dude Ranch
The Big Rock Dude Ranch has a free petting zoo that includes goats, ponies, rabbits, llamas, emus, chickens, ducks, peacocks, geese, and birds of all shapes and sizes. You can also purchase a bag of feed for the animals.
Sugarlands Visitor Center
The Sugarlands Visitor Center has nature exhibits from the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. You can see a free 20-minute video about the park and park programs. The nearby Gatlinburg Trail is a stroller friendly “hike” to see cabins and waterfalls.
When you stay with My Bearfoot Cabins, you will be near all of the fun things to do in Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg with toddlers.
Pat and Don Kirchhoefer, Owners