7 Best Family-Friendly Museums in Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg

When you think of museums, you probably bring up an image of a marble building with dusty, boring exhibits. The many museums you find in Pigeon Forge turn that concept on its head. They offer interactive exhibits, one-of-a-kind objects, and a fun atmosphere. With so many to choose from, you could take a day trip to the Smokies just checking out museums! But you want the best, so we’re here to help you find the 7 best museum attractions in Pigeon Forge! This list isn’t in sequential order; instead it’s organized alphabetically.

1. Alcatraz East Crime Museum

The newest museum in Pigeon Forge, Alcatraz East Crime Museum, opened in the Fall of 2016. Since then, it’s been described as “a must see for CSI fans” and garnered a 4.5 star rating on Trip Adviser. Located at the entrance to The Island, this 24,000 sq. ft. behemoth is designed like a 19th century prison and inspired by the famous Alcatraz of San Francisco. Inside you’ll be able to explore more than 20 different exhibit areas covering five major themes: 1) history of American crime, 2) consequences of crime, 3) crime scene investigation, 4) crime fighting, and 5) pop culture.

Families who transverse the museum are in for an amazing adventure through American crime. There are lots of interactive exhibits that let you feel like you’re a part of history. The museum is also host to several exclusive artifacts, including the cars of John Dillinger, Al Capone, and even the white Bronco OJ Simpson used to evade police! You won’t leave this museum without learning something new, and there’s something for the entire family to enjoy. Be sure to check out this newest addition to the best museums in Pigeon Forge.

Alcatraz East Crime Museum
Address: 2687-2693 The Island Dr, Pigeon Forge, TN 37863 — Find them on Google Maps

Scenes from the grand opening of the Alcatraz East Crime Museum. This is a must-see new addition to #PigeonForge ?

Posted by Pigeon Forge Chamber on Thursday, December 15, 2016


2. Ripley’s Aquarium of The Smokies

Spend your day exploring the oceans! You and your family will get to see creatures of the deep up close and personal as you transverse the extensive aquarium. Exhibits cover all types of amazing sea creatures, as you explore the Tropical Rainforest, the Ocean Realm, the Coral Reef, and the Gallery of the Seas.

For instance, you can marvel at 12 foot sharks and giant sea turtles as you glide through the underwater tunnel at Shark’s Lagoon. Ripley’s was also voted one of the best places in the world to see penguins by USA Today, for good reason; you can get an up-close-and-personal view of all the Ripley penguins at Penguin Playhouse! During the summer you can also check out their famous Mermaid Show, which airs every day at 12:00, 2:00, and 4:00 pm in the coral reef exhibit.

3. Bush’s Baked Beans Visitor Center & General Store

Love Bush’s Baked Beans? Love history? Love dogs? Then you have a perfect museum to visit in Bush’s Baked Beans Visitor Center & General Store. This amazing museum brings visitors fun interactive exhibits that tell the fascinating history of Bush’s Baked Beans. See the journey of the company from the very beginning, grab a photo with Duke, see how much you weigh in beans, and so much more! After you’re done checking out the museum, head over to the Old-Fashioned General Store, where you can grab plenty of assorted candies and Jay and Duke memorabilia. You and your family are guaranteed to love this museum, especially since admission is 100% free!

Bush’s Baked Beans Visitor Center & General Store
Address: 3901 US-411, Dandridge, TN 37725
Find them on Google Maps

Bush's Baked Beans Visitor Center

4. Christ in the Smokies Museum & Gardens

At Christ in the Smokies you can travel back in time 2000 and witness a unique portrayal of the life of Jesus. During the tour, you’ll be taken thorugh breathtaking scenes taken straight from the Bible. At these scenes, you’ll see over 100 life-sized biblical figures in realistic settings, complete with state-of-the-art lighting and special effects. The adjoining rotunda houses a priceless collection of ancient coins and precious gems, as well as exhibits about the King James Bible and holy land artifacts. You and your family can also relax and reflect in their patio garden, where you can find the iconic sculpture of of the face of Jesus. Visitors looking to reinforce their faith don’t need to look any further than this museum.

Christ in the Smokies Museum and Gardens
Address: 510 River Rd, Gatlinburg, TN 37738 — Find them on Google Maps

Christ in the Smokies Face of Jesus - best museums in Pigeon Forge

You’ll see this monument to Jesus at the Christ in the Smokies prayer patio

5. Cooter’s Place

For those of you who grew up watching the hit TV show The Dukes of Hazzard, you can’t miss out on Cooter’s Place. Ben “Cooter” Jones takes visitors through this tribute to the original show. The museum features original costumes, props, memorabilia, thousands of collectibles, and The General Lee! One cool thing about this museum is that the owner is consistently bringing in celebrity guests, like the famous Daisy Duke herself! When you’re done checking out the museum, you and the family can enjoy Cooter’s themed indoor go-kart track and their 18-hole mini-golf course.

Cooter’s Place
Address: 542 Parkway, Gatlinburg, TN 37738 — Find them on Google Maps

Best museums in pigeon forge


6. Titanic Museum

You can’t get closer to understanding and experiencing the story of the Titanic than at the Titanic Museum in Pigeon Forge. This museum is a complete interactive experience, from the staff being decked out in authentic uniforms from the early 1900s to the ticket from the real-life passenger you recieve at the start of your journey.

Each exhibit of the museum has an interactive element that helps you fully understand the experiences of Titanic passengers. The museum regularly hosts special events, like during March, where they especially focus on the story of the Irish passengers of the ship. At the Titanic, you’ll find one-of-a-kind exclusive artifacts, such as the violin of William Hartley, the musician who famously played as the Titanic went down. There’s always something new to discover at the Titanic!

Titanic Museum Attraction
Address: 2134 Parkway, Pigeon Forge, TN 37863 — Find them on Google Maps

Titanic Pigeon Forge is one of the best museums in pigeon forge

7. WonderWorks Museum of the Mind

One of the most recognizable landmarks of the Parkway is the upside-down house that is WonderWorks Museum of the Mind. This museum is one of the most dynamic, educational, and fun-filled attractions in the Smokies. When you go thorough the facility, you’ll have te chance to enjoy more than 100 hands-on exhibits. Topics of the exhibits have a wide range, from natural disasters to space exploration to the science of bubbles! Each exhibit does an amazing job of integrating you into the experience; you won’t be able to leave without learning something new.

In addition to the numerous exhibits, you and the family will have so much to do when you visit WonderWorks. Thrill-seekers should challenge themselves on the largest indoor ropes course inside, or see if they can make it all the way around on the 360 Bike. You can even see a magic show at WonderWorks, via the amazing Terry Evanswood. Make sure to add WonderWorks to your Pigeon Forge bucketlist; you don’t want to miss out on this unique museum.

Address: 100 Music Rd, Pigeon Forge, TN 37863 — Find them on Google Maps

WonderWorks Is Perfect for a Rainy DayLooking for an indoor adventure on this rainy day? WonderWorks has something for the entire familiy to enjoy 😀

Posted by Pigeon Forge Chamber on Tuesday, December 6, 2016

There you have it, folks, the 7 best museums in Pigeon Forge! What are your favorite museums to visit when you come to the Smokies? Let us know on our Facebook page!

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