Visiting Pigeon Forge, Tennessee and the rain and weather aren’t cooperating with your family’s outdoor adventure plans? There’s no need to worry because the area boasts hundreds of things to do on a rainy day in Pigeon Forge. Check out this list for some of my family’s favorite activities
Just a few weeks ago on our latest trip to the Smoky Mountains, we were excited to spend the day exploring a few new-to-us attractions. While Wonderworks has been in Pigeon Forge for many years now, the Alcatraz East Crime Museum is a relatively new museum that I’d been excited to see.
The weather for our visit wasn’t exactly the best. It was rainy and cold, but it doesn’t matter when you’re visiting these attractions! That’s what got me thinking that I should share a list of places to visit when the weather is rainy in Pigeon Forge.
Every time we visit the Smoky Mountains the girls call out “It’s the upside down building Mom!” It’s been on our want to visit list for years, but we just never made it inside, until recently!
Once the girls found out where we were heading for the day, they were so excited. Each made sure to wear their tennis shoes. There are a few activities, including the Space Walk Ropes Course, that requires closed toe shoes.
One of the things I loved most about WonderWorks is that your admission ticket covers all of the activities inside! While there are a few extra things you can purchase inside, including souvenirs, an arcade, and food – the activities – laser-tag, the rock wall, and the 3 stories glow-in-the-dark ropes course are all included with your admission!
Moreaya loved all the interactive exhibits and Sophia loved all the information. She’s a reader and loves to read about anything. She also loves science so figuring out some of the mind puzzles were some of her favorite activities.
There really are hundreds of things to do inside the building and you could easily spend an entire day here. Your admission is good for the entire day so you can actually leave for dinner and come back, although there is a concession stand inside if you need a bite to eat while you’re there.
If you’re planning to visit WonderWorks, you can buy your tickets online in advance and save $2.00 per ticket. Children 3 and under receive free admission.
EXPERT TIP: The only slight problem with this rainy day activity is that it’ll be everyone else’s plan too. My tips are to come early, as soon as they open and hit the big attractions inside first like Laser-Tag and the Ropes Course. My other tip is come back on a sunny day. While everyone else is playing outside, you’ll have lots more room and time to enjoy the hundreds of exhibits inside this upside down attraction!
Alcatraz East Crime Museum
From the moment this building went up on the Pigeon Forge strip, I wanted to visit. I really wanted to visit when I heard that the Alcatraz East Crime Museum had OJ Simpson’s Bronco on display… the real one. I’m still riveted by this case, especially thanks to the recent Netflix binge of The People vs. O.J. Simpson. So, when we were invited to check out the 25,000 square foot facility, I jumped at it!
Speaking of Netflix… anyone else binge the Conversations with a Killer: The Ted Bundy Tapes? Yeah, me too. They also have one of his Volkswagen Beetles on display.
First, let me say that the museum is about crime. I felt a little hesitant about taking our girls, who are 7 and 8, so I explained this to them upfront. We talked about crime in a way that good people [police, detectives, etc] learn how to prevent more crimes by studying things from the past. That’s as far as I dived into the conversation and to be honest, we sped through a few parts of the museum. But am I glad I took my kids? Yes! There are plenty of activities and exhibits for all ages to enjoy.
A couple of my favorite exhibits included information and an excellent video of September 11th. I was also so excited to see a display of Dr. Bill Bass’s lab coat and information about The Body Farm in the CSI section. I’m a long time fan of Dr. Bass and his collaboration on the Jefferson Bass novels.
There are a lot of interactive exhibits that kids can partake in, as well, with my favorite being these quizzes you could find in just about every room. Moreaya loved testing her safety knowledge and it was a great way to start important conversations with both girls.
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We spent the day creating family memories and exploring attractions in Pigeon Forge that we’ve never been to before – @wonderworks_tn and @alcatrazeast Both are a great way to spend a day in the #SmokyMountains I’ll share more about them in a blog post soon, until then, check out my Stories to see some of the fun! #GreatSmokyMountains #alcatrazeastcrimemuseum #AlcatrazEast #TheIsland #Tennessee #Gatlingburg #PigeonForge #escapefromalcatraz #WonderWorks #SoMuchFun #TheCrimeMuseum #theupsidedownbuilding #TheUpsideDownAttraction
The museum is definitely worth a visit and you could spend a couple of hours if you breeze through, but quite a few hours if you really want to explore and read everything. Children 7 and under receive free admission. There are extras that you can add on to your experience like an audio tour and a detective mission. I saw a lot of people doing the detective mission and it looked like a fun element to add! Buy your Alcatraz East Crime Museum tickets here.
EXPERT TIP: Kids are welcome and there’s something for all ages, but if you really want to read and see everything Alcatraz East Crime Museum has to offer, find a babysitter. I can’t wait to go back and explore more myself!
Indoor Mini Golf
One of our favorite things to do as a family is play mini golf. While you might think of this as an outdoor sport, there is a couple of indoor mini golf courses in the Smoky Mountains so it’s a great way to spend a rainy day! Our favorite happens to be CRAVE, but be prepared… the whole place [even outside] smells sweet and delicious and will make any tooth turn sweet!
EXPERT TIP: Buy a round at both the indoor and outdoor course at Crave because you get a great deal AND a free bottle of water. You can play the outdoor course later in the day when the rain stops!
Pigeon Forge Snow
Here’s another super fun, relatively new indoor attraction that is perfect to visit on rainy days in Pigeon Forge. Pigeon Forge Snow is a one-of-a-kind attraction offers snow play and indoor snow tubing no matter the time of year! We haven’t tried it out yet, but it looks like a ton of fun for the whole family.
There are a couple of trampoline parks in Pigeon Forge now, but I always hear great things about Sevier Air. Not only a trampoline park, they also boast an amazing looking Ninja Warrior Park that I believe my husband would absolutely love! We haven’t been yet, but it’s definitely on our list!
The huge Titanic replica is hard to miss on your drive into Pigeon Forge. It’s just a couple buildings up from WonderWorks and is a great place to visit on a not-so-nice day. Everything is inside and it’s an amazing journey through the history of the unsinkable ship.
I have an entire post dedicated to visiting the Titanic here.
It might sound silly, but you can swim on rainy days in the Smoky Mountains! Even when we’re visiting in the summer, we love to book a hotel with an indoor pool for exactly this reason. There are quite a few throughout the area, but our current favorite hotel is the Margaritaville Resort in Gatlinburg.
We loved it so much we visited for two short trips within two weeks! Check out more information in my review here.
While the Smoky Mountains and Pigeon Forge are a great place to visit any time, weather doesn’t always cooperate, but you don’t have to let that ruin your family’s fun. There are tons of activities and attractions to visit in Tennessee when the rain hits.