|Family Travel Files Ezine Family Vacations Resource
|Tennessee: Pigeon Forge, Family Reunion Spots - Togethering in the Smoky Mountains.
Families often find themselves time zones apart from family and friends, add to that balancing hectic school and work schedules and getting together anywhere takes planning.
Here's the scoop.
Togethering, another way to say reunion, is becoming more popular each year and Pigeon Forge, in the foothills of the Great Smoky Mountains, takes some of the extra effort out of the planning part. They have a Reunion Consultant who takes care of the details and makes the idea of togethering in the mountains easy and fun.
In addition to being a family friendly, beautiful place on the planet, Pigeon Forge literally has something for everyone from nine months to 99 years. It can be a 'do nothing, rock on the porch experience' or a high energy hiking, rafting biking adventure. Add nightly entertainment and terrific shopping to the list and you will need more vacation days.
It's a "sweet" place.
Located in the foothills of the Great Smoky Mountains of Tennessee vacation ideas span the gamut of interests from hiking and whitewater rafting to first class musical venues and magic shows. Dollywood® grabs the attention of those wanting a theme park adventure and Great Smoky Mountains National Park attracts visitors to miles of wilderness trails. The bottom line, there are choices, lots of choices. Some of them described as “sweet” in teenage lingo and great by those who think sweet describes candy. Deciding what to see, where to go, and what to do is part of the experience so we have assembled a few ideas just for fun. Prepare to be entertained together.
Pigeon Forge is at the heart of American country music with a unique mountain style and Dolly Parton’s Dixie Stampede is a must. Lively and energetic the show provides choreographed horsemanship, boisterous entertainment and a sumptuous feast. Louise Mandrell has her own theater and her own lively, patriotic review. In classic Mandrell style she orchestrates a variety of singing and dancing sequences and everyone feels part of the show. Punchy and energizing Black Bear Jamboree Dinner & Show causes pulse rates to increase. It is a musical revue and a country feast all in one. The music covers the gamut from country to bluegrass and gospel music and is a perfect memory-making evening for all ages. Bonus points:
And even better for a family reunion, Hoot’n Holler provides, lively music, and family friendly entertainment during an energetic diner show. For reunion groups the seating is ideal and the actors make sure family members are engaged in the show.
Go to Dolly’s place. Pigeon Forge is the home of Dolly Parton’s theme park, Dollywood® and just about everyone knows the place is nothing but fun. From the tube slides and the family raft ride at the water park to her Showcase of Stars, it showcases the Appalachian Mountains of her childhood.
Laugh and make magic with the kids. Imagine finding a comedy show that has good clean fun. The Comedy Barn has a family variety show with music, jokes, skits as well as nationally known magicians, jugglers, ventriloquists and zany barnyard animal acts. Pigeon Forge also has a high tech theater experience presented at the Country Tonite Theatre. Bonus points: On the Parkway not far from shopping and mini golf, The Movie Rider has motion seating with surround sound. This is an example of “sweet” – the result is an action-filled, high-tech film ride series that is experienced not just seen. Not for little ones, the film adventure series is ideal for tweens and teens and a perfect rainy day experience. Discovery: Harry Potter made all of us think a little bit more about magicians. Illusionist Terry Evanswood demonstrates just how hard it is to see what we think we see. He combines well-practiced magical illusions with comedy. His antics are designed to leave the whole family spellbound. He presents morning shows at Country Tonite Theatre so that leaves the whole day for audience to wonder how he did it.
Hoot, and holler in another dimension. Located in an upside-down building on the main drag of Pigeon Forge, WonderWorks is home to both an amusement park for the mind and an energetic dinner show, Hoot n’ Holler. Hoot n’ Holler serves up large portions of tasty Italian food with variety style entertainment sure to summon laughs from the most stoic of family members. Bonus points: WonderWorks includes 150 interactive exhibits in 55,000 square feet of mind-bending, reality-altering fun. From fat mirrors and glow rooms to magnetic fields and gravity illusions the complex is a maze of interactive spots which combine entertainment and learning. Even after exiting the chaos of the main complex the stairway and even the gift shop have optical illusions to be investigated.
Take a dare. At every family reunion someone cautions ‘Act your age!’ but there is really no need to do that on vacation in Pigeon Forge. Where else can grandma skydive without jumping out of a plane? Race a car with grandpa or laser zap the family tree? Flyaway has an indoor simulator that provides the chance to take a dare without the extra thrill and in plain view of those acting their age. Led by the family matriarch cousins against cousins and siblings united can participate in fictitious family feuds easily staged and settled with a game of laser tag at Ultrazone.
Race the cousins.
If racing is in the family bloodline, the chances to race are abundant. From bumper cars and go-carts slick tracks to gyro or trampoline rides and sprint courses there are ways to challenge and be challenged all for fun. Wild Wheels has CAN-AM racing and the bonus option of a bungee jump. Sweet!
Tube the river. Being a kid includes carefree times and fun stuff. Tubing a river meets the requirements of carefree and fun, no skills needed. Smoky Mountain River Run both puts folks on The Middle Prong of the Little Pigeon River. Families can easily float as a group playing “I spy the falcon, turtle, blue jay or grandpa.” The river flows at an easy pace guaranteed to relax the oldsters and cause the younger generation to start water fights.
Raft the Pigeon. For a river run with a little more energy and maybe one or two adrenaline rushes guides at Rafting in the Smokies have a trip that is ideal for families. The Big Pigeon River has twelve Class III and three Class IV whitewater rapids just the amount to balance a summer day and still have an adventure. They’ve been on the river for more than 20 years and provide user instructions as well as plenty of river stories that relate to the names of rapids along the way.
Hike and learn. Great Smoky Mountains National Park in the Southern Appalachian Mountains is designated as an International Biosphere Reserve. Within its 800 square miles there is a rich network of well-marked hiking trails that wind through the forest along waterfalls and over the smoky ridges. Discovery: Sugarland Visitor Center located a short drive from Pigeon Forge is the resource point for visitors. An extensive series of ranger led programs make visiting a must. Topics include the spirit of the American pioneer culture to the unique biodiversity of the region. Bonus points: The Junior Ranger Program is ideal for youngsters of school age.
A destination family reunion bonus. Pigeon Forge has an assortment of public trolleys that make going anywhere is in the area easy. While the schedules seem random, the service is reliable and friendly. Drivers seem to know instinctively the answers to questions before they are asked.
Race the cousins.
If racing is in the family bloodline, the chances to race are abundant. From bumper cars and go-carts slick tracks to gyro or trampoline rides and sprint courses there are ways to challenge and be challenged all for fun. Wild Wheels has CAN-AM racing and the bonus option of a bungee jump. Sweet! Putting it all together.
Pigeon Forge has the right attitude about families.
They have Funnel Cakes; Krispy Kreme and Krystal Burgers as well as all night coffee stops and mountain flavored BBQ. “Sweet!” They know that no two families are the same and that reunions need to be fun and effortless. They have vacation consultants and reunion coordinators to make the perfect family get together happen in Pigeon Forge the “first time” or “the same time” next year. Request a proposal.
The tourism staff in Pigeon Forge has assembled plenty of useful information on when, where and how to created the perfect reunion in their own back yard. They have a form at their website that makes it easy to start the process. The “Request for Proposal” form allows them to narrow the options making it much easier to plan your meeting, reunion, or retreat specifications. Go to Pigeon Forge Department of Tourism (PFDOT) toll-free 1-800-286-7557 or www.pigeonforgereunion.com
Content created by Travel Communications Inc. Images provided by Pigeon Forge Tourism and FTF staff. Copyright 2013.