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Posts Tagged ‘Pigeon Forge TN’

Fly Over National Parks and Incredible Scenery at SkyFly in Pigeon Forge, TN

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SkyFly is a newer attraction in Pigeon Forge, TN that has already won awards for its unique and amazing experience. We’ve got all the details on how to see it. 

I really had no idea what SkyFly: Soar America was going to be like when we walked into the building, which is right near the big Great Smoky Mountain Sky Wheel on the Island at Pigeon Forge. 

The decor looked like what I’d expect the workshop of some old scientist who was studying time travel may look like with gadgets and goggles. I was intrigued for sure and definitely wanted to try out whatever the ride entailed. 

Skyfly America

About SkyFly: Soar America 

SkyFly: Soar America won the “Best New Attraction” award in 2021 by USA Today Readers’ Choice. They only opened in July 2021 so the award was quite the accomplishment. SkyFly was manufactured and designed by Dynamic Attractions, which also designed and made the super popular Disney Soarin’ attractions all over the world. 

Once you purchase your tickets, you enter into a room where you’ll learn about explorer Peter Wilder and his daughter Hannah as they try to get ready their steampunk airship for takeoff. We were the only ones in line for about ten minutes and watched the video of the two characters for a bit to try to imagine what in the world was about to happen. A few other guests joined the line and soon we were taken into the Tram room. 

Our guide instructed us where to stand and off we went. Actually, we didn’t go anywhere but the screens on the top of the tram certainly looked like we were moving as we virtually sped through the countryside and came to a stop where the airship supposedly resides. 

We exited and got in line to enter the next room, which held the massive, 50-foot spherical screen. I didn’t know that yet though. While waiting, we got some safety instructions from Mr. Wilder and his daughter, which were quite the characters. They seemed a little unprepared for this journey, which was all part of the fun. 

Then we were off and entered the ride. And that’s where it got exciting. 

Soaring Over America 

Once we got situated into our seats, buckles buckled and checked, and bags underneath our seats, it was time to get flying. 

As soon as the show started, our seats moved straight up and our feet were dangling in the air, ready to fly. The screen looks like we are going through some big tube and then we’re off high in the sky above Chimney Rock (I was so excited to see such a familiar spot) soaring like the peregrine falcons. It was such a cool sensation. 

Next, we took flight along the Blue Ridge Parkway, over the geyser in Yellowstone, glaciers in Alaska, and above the massive Grand Canyon. 

Skyfly Soar America

SkyFly: Soar America

We flew over Niagara Falls and even got sprayed with real water and felt the wind. Then it was on to the Grand Tetons, over the beauty of Hawaii, through the Sequoia National Forest, and of course, the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. We flew low over the flat waters of the Everglades and up high to get a glimpse of the presidents carved into Mt. Rushmore. 

It was so cool and you really do feel like you’re flying. The seats move around as you fly so the experience is totally immersive. 

The movie is six minutes long but I could have done it at least a couple more times, which you can actually do for a greatly reduced price once you’re done with the first ride. 

How in the world did this movie get made? That’s what I kept thinking. SkyFly says that they used drones and helicopters to film it and that there is nothing else like it in the world. 

Experiencing SkyFly for Yourself 

SkyFly: Soar America is located on the Island at Pigeon Forge and is open Sunday – Thursday from 10 am – 9 pm and Friday and Saturday from 10 am – 10 pm.

Our total time at SkyFly was around 30 minutes but if you have to wait in line, it could be longer. SkyFly says to allow 30-60 minutes once you enter the queue. 

Guests must be 40″ to ride and guests between 40” and 55” must be accompanied by an adult. Guests taller than 76″ are not permitted on the ride. If you have a child shorter than 40”, you can watch the movie in an alternative viewing room while your partner rides the ride and then you can switch out. They do tell you that if you have a fear of heights, you may not like the ride and you can watch the movie in an alternative viewing room. I’m not a big fan of heights or flying but had no issues with the ride. I thought it was awesome. 

Also, if you’re a pregnant mom, SkyFly does not allow you to ride. SkyFly is fully ADA-accessible and can accommodate. If you have other questions, there is a great SkyFly FAQ section on their website.

Tickets to SkyFLy can be purchased online or in person. During peak hours and seasons, which is pretty much all year except January and early February, they advise you to purchase tickets ahead of time. Adult tickets are $22.99 and kids ages 11 and under are $17.99. 

SkyFly: Soar America
131 The Island Drive, Suite 1000, Pigeon Forge, TN 


The Largest Replica of the Titanic Created with LEGO Bricks is at this Museum

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Planning a trip to Pigeon Forge, Tennessee? We sent KAG Contributor Kristina Hernandez to take a peak inside the Titanic Museum. In this review she’s telling us all about what you can expect to see at the Titanic Museum so you can add it to your list of things to do when you visit Pigeon Forge. Complimentary tickets were provided for this review.


Winterfest Wonders of Light Walking Trail in Pigeon Forge, TN Lights Up Winterfest

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The new Winterfest Wonders of Light Walking Trail in Pigeon Forge, TN, less than three hours from Greenville, SC, is part of the three-month-long Winterfest that happens every year in East Tennessee. The Riverwalk debuted in the 2022-23 season and is set to be installed every year!

For those not familiar with Winterfest in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee, it is a months-long festival in the area that has more than six million lights to delight visitors. The festival starts in November and runs through February and encompasses not only free holiday lights around town but also holiday-themed shows, attractions, and other entertainment for the whole family.

New for the 2022-23 Winterfest is the Winterfest Wonders of Light Walking Trail, a free walk-through light display that has several access points along the river in Pigeon Forge. I visited towards the tail end of Winterfest in late January 2023 and it was perfection because the Christmas crowds had come and gone and the town was in one of its rare down times. It was awesome.

Riverwalk at Winterfest in Pigeon Forge

The New Winterfest Wonders of Light Walking Trail

The trail runs from Pigeon Forge Municipal Parking Lot, which is at 2936 Teaster Lane between the LeConte Center and The Island in Pigeon Forge along the Riverwalk Greenway to Patriot Park, which is about a mile-and-a-half one way. There are more than 40 light displays along the paved path, including light tunnels (my favorite). It’s really neat and such a lovely display of lights.

We parked at the Island of Pigeon Forge to start at the beginning and before long, my kids and I were surrounded by blue and white sparkling lights that made a tunnel. Then we saw a huge display that looked like a fountain of lights with snowmen, stars, and snow mounds followed by blue and white stars hung high along the path and then a giant 52-foot long caterpillar – it was quite sparkly.

There are butterflies, shooting stars, deer, bears, squirrels, and all kinds of imaginative and fun characters along the way. My kids, ages 12 and 8, and I really enjoyed it.

Accessing the Walking Trail

So there are several access points along the route if you only want to do a part of it. A handy map can be found here that is very helpful.

Winterfest Riverwalk Pigeon Forge Caterpillar

Access points include where we started at the Island at Pigeon Forge, the LeConte Center at Pigeon Forge, Patriot Park, the city’s Municipal Parking Lot, and the Old Mill. The entire path is paved so it is handicap and stroller-accessible. It’s also pet-friendly as long as pets are kept on a leash.

Visiting the Winterfest Wonders of Light Walking Trail

There is no charge to visit the Winterfest Wonders of Light Walking Trail in Pigeon Forge, which is awesome. Thank you to the City of Pigeon Forge!

You can walk the trail from November 10, 2022 – February 19, 2023. We’ll update when the 2023-24 dates are announced.

After you walk the trail, you can visit the Island at Pigeon Forge, where you can ride the Great Smoky Mountain Sky Wheel, fly over the country at SkyFly America, enjoy shopping and dining, and watch the water light show. There are free trolleys available from the parking lot to the Island.

Island at Pigeon Forge at Night

For other things to do during Winterfest, we have a big story on it. Just note that once Christmas is over, most of the shows take a short break through January. There are plenty of other things to do in the Pigeon Forge/Gatlinburg area. For places to stay, see our reviews on several awesome spots in the area for families.

Amenities and Family Fun Abound at the Inn on the River in Pigeon Forge, TN

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The Inn on the River in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee has lots of great amenities for families as they enjoy time together and exploring the fun town of Pigeon Forge and the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

A complimentary stay was given to us so we could review the hotel. All opinions are those of the author.

If you’re looking for a central place to stay when you visit the Smoky Mountains that has a lot of great amenities that help your dollar stretch pretty far, then look no further than the Inn on the River in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee. The hotel is centrally located amidst all the great attractions in Pigeon Forge, has several family-friendly amenities, and has staff that truly go the extra mile to make you feel at home.

The Inn on the River

The Inn on the River is exactly like it says, right on the Little Pigeon River. We had a riverfront view from our room, complete with chairs outside so we could sit and watch the calming river run by. We even saw a Blue Heron fishing for dinner on our first night there. Plus, we could see the Great Smoky Mountain Sky Wheel and were within walking distance to several attractions and restaurants.

In fact, our first night there, we walked across the street to try out Magiquest and then walked over to Five Guys for burgers and fries for dinner. It was really nice not to have to drive since we had just come from Greenville. There are several restaurants that you can walk to as well as shows and other entertainment. The Inn lists lots of those places on their website. Pigeon Forge is only a three-hour drive but I’m not a big fan of sitting in the car for long so this was perfect for us.

We explored several attractions during our visit and nothing was more than a six-minute drive. It was truly an ideal location. The 128 rooms have all been recently renovated and were clean and comfortable. Each room also has a customized Alexa device, which my kids endlessly used to request Dolly Parton songs and ask what cats sounded like, a coffee maker, a mini-fridge, and a microwave.

So Many Amenities at Inn on the River

The Pools

Let’s start with what kids care about: the pool. The Inn on the River has both an indoor heated pool with jacuzzi and an outdoor pool. We traveled there in January so we didn’t use the outdoor pool but I did need to tear my kids away from the indoor pool because they loved it. The water is heated and there are pool toys and goggles available. The room is so nice and warm, too, which felt amazing after being outside in the chilly air most of the days we were in Pigeon Forge. The hot tub is so relaxing as well. Each night we spent at the Inn included a pre-bedtime swim, which was just a great way to wind down the busy days.

Free Breakfast

The Inn on the River also provides free breakfast each morning and has an assortment of both hot and cold offerings like eggs, sausage, biscuits, fruit, waffles, and oatmeal. There is a beautiful sunroom that you can choose to eat your breakfast in that overlooks the river. It’s really nice and calming and we loved eating out there. Fill up on that breakfast so you can tackle all your fun plans while in the Smokies.

Free Hot Drinks and Popcorn

Additionally, the Inn offers free hot chocolate, coffee, and tea all day long. I cannot even count how many times we had hot chocolate during our visit. It was a lot. They also offer free popcorn from 7 am – 10 pm every night. My kids were in heaven.

One thing that we didn’t make use of that I completely forgot about was the outdoor fire pit. It’s right on the river but I forgot because the kids wanted to use the pool at night. Next time!

Gifts for Kids

When we checked in, the hotel staff let each of my kids pick a little gift, which included a small toy. So cute and personable. Check-in was fast and the staff was very kind and helpful, letting us know when breakfast was, how late the pool was open, and also that they had free books and games available for guests to make use of while they enjoyed their stay. The lobby is very inviting as well, with comfortable couches to relax on in front of the fireplace.

Honest Mom Review of the Inn on the River

There are tons of choices of places to stay in Pigeon Forge and it’s hard to know which one is right for your family. I was impressed with the Inn on the River because firstly, their staff was very kind, helpful, and welcoming. Everyone from the front desk clerk and manager to the employees cleaning the tables and replenishing food during breakfast to those sweeping the floors of the hallways was so nice.

Secondly, the location was perfect. I didn’t need to travel much at all once we arrived to the hotel and it was easy to get around Pigeon Forge both by car and foot. And lastly, I don’t think it gets much better for kids on vacation to have a pool all year round. I’m a lot more lenient with my kids when it comes to their bedtimes when we are traveling and was happy to have them enjoy swimming for a couple later-than-usual nights. The hot chocolate was awesome, too, and a free breakfast is so helpful when traveling to save on meal costs.

I also really loved the location right next to the river. It was chilly when we went but I could open the curtains and watch the river, which I really enjoyed. Anything close to nature like that is a win for me.

Making Your Reservation

Be sure to sign up for their email newsletters and check their Specials page before you book as they offer some packages that may be of interest. All active duty military get 10% off their stays.

Like any hotel, costs vary depending on the season and room type. During the slower winter season, you can get a riverside room with two queen beds for around $159/night. That same room in the busiest months of July and October is around $285/night and in December, is about $259/night. If you have AAA or AARP, that will knock the price down about 10%.

You can book a room online on the Inn on the River website.

For more things to do in Pigeon Forge, see our Guide to Pigeon Forge & Gatlinburg.

Inn on the River
2492 Parkway, Pigeon Forge, TN 

Soar to New Heights at The Island at Pigeon Forge, TN

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The Island at Pigeon Forge in Pigeon Forge, TN, about three hours from Greenville, SC is full of fun things to do for the whole family, whether you like exciting rides, good food, or prime shopping. We visited the Island and have all the details you’ll need to plan a great trip. Some of the experiences listed below were provided as complimentary tickets or stays for Kidding Around.

If you have ever seen photos of the iconic Ferris wheel in Pigeon Forge, this is where it is, on the Island at Pigeon Forge. While the Great Smoky Mountain Wheel is absolutely a must-do and oftentimes the photo you will see everywhere when reading about Pigeon Forge, the Island where it’s located is filled with tons of things to stay busy and have fun for the whole family.

My kids and I have visited the Island a couple times and never run out of things to do and see! While many of the attractions require admission tickets, there are plenty of things to do there that are free. Additionally, Pigeon Forge has a wonderful guide with coupons that is available online and via hard copy at the Welcome Center. It can also be mailed to you.



Playing at The Island

Great Smoky Mountain Wheel

The Great Smoky Mountain Wheel at the Island was our favorite thing to do. We went on once during the day and too another spin at night. We could see so far and the views of the mountains were stunning. We visited in the winter and we could see snow on the tops of the mountains and we loved it. We felt very safe (I have a slight fear of heights!) and really enjoyed the views. At night was also amazing as we could see all the lights around Pigeon Forge – so cool. You go 200 feet up so you get a great bird’s eye view. Tickets are $13/adult, $8/kids 3 – 11. You can buy a day/night pass for $20.

Smoky Mountain Sky Wheel

Island Ropes Course

The Island Ropes Course consists of three levels of obstacles plus gives participants the option of doing a free fall controlled jump on the highest level to complete the course. You can as much time as you want on the course, which includes two zip lines. The course is all outdoors so definitely dress for the weather. There is also a little ropes course, the Sky Tykes Course, for smaller kids under 48″ tall. The bigger ropes course is open to anyone 42″ or taller. Those under 48″ need an adult on the ropes course with them. Tickets are $15/person for the Island Ropes Course and $5/kid for the Sky Tykes Course.


Island Ropes Course

SkyFly: Soar America

This is a relatively new attraction to the Island, only having opened in 2021, but SkyFly has already received the “Best New Attraction” award by USA Today in 2021. I had no idea what to expect with this ride but it was so, so cool. You are suspended in a seat in front of a 50-foot dome screen and taken on a six-minute ride across 20 iconic locations in the United States from Niagara Falls to the Grand Canyon to Alaska. I absolutely loved it and would do it again in a heartbeat. Tickets are $22.99/adult and $17.99/ages 11 and under. Kids must be 40″ tall to ride.

SkyFly: Soar America

Other Attractions on the Island

Other attractions on the Island include an arcade, an Escape Room, a mirror maze, bumper cars, a carousel, a 7D theater, racing track, a little kids-size roller coaster, and lots of other games. You can pay for these individually or get an unlimited rides two-day pass for $35-45/person, which covers a great many rides on the Island.

You can also visit the parrot shop and see live parrots or even some baby parrots. They are adorable. There’s also a Build-A-Bear Workshop and lots of shops to explore that carry unique gifts.

And if you’re lucky enough to be in Pigeon Forge for New Years, you can see fireworks at the Island for New Years Eve!

Eating at The Island

The Island was designed to look like a small village with cozy streets lined with cute little shops where you can buy toys or clothes, take one of those Old Time Photos in sepia with your family, and The Fudgery (get the chocolate fudge). It’s fun just to stroll around and check all these places out. Take a break and relax in one of the many inviting chairs surrounding the small lake where the dancing fountains spray the water in coordination with the outdoor music.

When you’re hungry, the on-site restaurants include a Paula Deen’s Family Kitchen, Mellow Mushroom, Yee-Haw Brewing Company, and Timberwood Grill. You can grab an authentic, and quite delicious, margarita at the Changes in Latitude bar at the Margaritaville hotel, as well as enjoy a quick bite (get the pretzels with cheese dip…mmmm).

Lodging at The Island

The Island at Pigeon Forge is central to pretty much all of the attractions in town. It’s 10 minutes from the Smoky Mountain Opry and Titanic Museum and 15 minutes from Dollywood. You can walk across the street to a couple different pancake houses and other attractions if you like.

Choosing to stay on the Island is a great decision for all of these reasons! The Margaritaville Island Hotel on the Island is incredible and guests can enjoy the rooftop pool and hot tub all year long. There’s also the Margaritaville Island Inn on the Island, which is under the same brand but is a little less expensive and includes a continental breakfast.

Parking at The Island

Parking at the Island is free – take a right past the Margaritaville Island Hotel and over the bridge, where there is a huge lot. Park for free there and take a trolley into the main part of the Island if you don’t want to walk.


Don’t forget to grab the coupon books around town or check online since many of them have coupons to attractions and restaurants on the Island. The Island’s website offers many coupons as well that you can use.

You can plan to spend a few hours or a couple of days here, especially if you stay at one of the properties on the Island.

If you visit The Island during Winterfest in Pigeon Forge, the Wonders of Lights Walking Trail starts at the Island and is free to walk through.

The Island at Pigeon Forge
131 Island Drive, Pigeon Forge, TN


Dollywood Splash Country: One of the Best Waterparks in the Country

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Ready for a perfect day trip or summer vacation? Dollywood is a popular place to visit for Greenville families as it’s tons of fun and only three hours away. While you’re there, you can beat the heat by spending some time at Dollywood’s Splash Country. Kidding Around’s Kristina visited this water park with her kids and gathered up all the insider information plus tips and tricks so our readers will know exactly what to expect when they plan their own trip!

Media tickets were provided for this review.


Relaxation and Family Fun Combine at Camp Margaritaville RV Resort & Lodge in Pigeon Forge, TN

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Camp Margaritaville RV Resort & Lodge in Pigeon Forge, TN is a fantastic spot to spend a few days or a whole week for a family trip. And it’s easy on the gas tank at three hours from Greenville, SC. Thank you to Camp Margaritaville Resort for inviting us to the resort for a complimentary stay so we could write this review. 

If you love relaxation while being in the middle of all the best activities near the Great Smoky Mountains and having a beautiful space to chill out with your family, Camp Margaritaville RV Resort & Lodge in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee is the spot. 


Dollywood’s Newest Attraction is Whimsical & Fun for the Whole Family

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Are you planning a visit to Dollywood soon? The 2021 season starts on March 13th. Dollywood, the premier theme park attraction located in Eastern Tennessee, added a new attraction to the park in 2019 called Wildwood Grove; we got to check it out firsthand and be immersed in all the magic and wonder inherent in any Dollywood experience.

When you go to Dollywood, head right for Wildwood Grove because there is so much to see and do for your whole family!


This Huge Winter Festival in Pigeon Forge is a Must-Do for Families

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Thinking about planning a getaway this winter? Pigeon Forge, Tennessee offers Winterfest  celebrating the Christmas season and wintertime. You’ll find winter themed shows, holiday lights and amusement rides and so much more! KAG Contributor Kristina Hernandez traveled to Pigeon Forge with her daughters during Winterfest. In this review she’s sharing the many activities they enjoyed and also many more that are available for Pigeon Forge visitors during Winterfest. 


You’ll Never Want to Leave the Margaritaville Island Hotel in Pigeon Forge Once You Go

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Thinking about a vacation in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee? KAG Contributor Kristina Hernandez traveled to Pigeon Forge with her family and stayed at the Margaritaville Island Hotel. This hotel has so much to offer, including a spa, roof top pool and onsite dining. Kristina is sharing all the little details about this hotel that made is perfect for her family.