The climate of the Smoky Mountains is a fickle evolution, to say the least. Particularly in the last few years, you can never quite predict what kind of weather you might experience in any given season, week or even day sometimes. An old joke that still sometimes gets used to describe it – “if you don’t like the weather, just wait an hour or so, it’ll change.“
Indeed, this really can happen sometimes, and even a day that was expected to be fully sunny can become stormy. In the post-holiday Winter, this can be extended to a week-long sense of potential instability. One day can be 63 degrees and two days later it can be snowing, or vice-versa. A day out in the cities or the mountains might become drenched with rain or certain activities may become unavailable as a result of sudden atmospheric changes – therefore we recommend our guests traveling to the Smokies always prepare some backup indoor attraction ideas in the case of inclement weather.
In this article, we’ll showcase some of our top recommendations for just that. Let’s take a look:
Boy howdy, you could spend an entire day with the family/group at Wonderworks in Pigeon Forge before you get tired! Wonderworks is a huge indoor quasi-edutainment attraction that focuses on fun, thrilling items built out of teaching science and nature.
Some of the most impossible things take place at Wonderworks. Ever wanted to design your own rollercoaster ride? Experience a hurricane and earthquake in total safety within minutes of each other? Go virtual reality in a number of ways? Engage in an actual psychic duel with a sibling? See tricks and traps that expand your view of the scientific world? If you’ve said yes to even one of those questions, you need to check out Wonderworks! Just look for the giant upside-down white building next to the giant replica of the Titanic on the parkway in Pigeon Forge, which is also on our list here (yes, we do have some weird choices of attractions on the main street in our town, but they are worth it!)
100 Music Rd, Pigeon Forge, TN 37863
With many places in the Smokies, you go to an attraction and expect that one attraction. At the MagiQuest Castle on the Parkway in Pigeon Forge, you actually get FOUR attractions in one place. They even advertise it to a fair prominence and it indeed lives up to its promise: MagiQuest offers the main attraction as an interactive fantasy-adventure game with technological reproductions of magic, pathfinding, puzzles and more along with a pirate mini-golf course with black light enhancements, “The Vault” which is a room full of lasers you need to navigate through, and the “Odyssey” 5,000 square foot mirror super maze. MagiQuest is a pretty unique place to bring the family and there’s nothing quite like it anywhere else in the Smokies.
If you and your family want to have the choice for several fun things to do in one spot, MagiQuest is a good choice for all.
2491 Parkway, Pigeon Forge, TN 37863
No list of attractions in the Smokies is complete without mentioning Gatlinburg’s famous Aquarium. Pretty much the entire attraction all takes place indoors and features almost every form of life around the globe’s bodies of water in huge tanks that fit the environments they came from.
All your favorites are here: sharks, manta rays, flounders, scorpionfish, eels, poison dart frogs, piranhas, crabs, clownfish (you know, the Finding Nemo fish) and even penguins. There are dive shows, a cafe, interactive features and much more that make this another potential full-day event for you and your group. Also bonus points in that the Ripley’s Aquarium is also the main trolley hub for the city of Gatlinburg and can get to and from most areas of town with even some connecting to Pigeon Forge through the Gatlinburg Visitor’s Center on The Spur.
88 River Rd, Gatlinburg, TN 37738
The aquarium isn’t the only Ripley’s entertainment that can mystify a family or group while it is pouring outside – Ripley’s first attraction in Gatlinburg remains one of the best for indoor-only entertainment as exhibits new and old bend the mind in directions it shouldn’t go. See actual marvels from around the world like the rug made from gum wrappers, tribal relics, rare body mutations, grim torture devices from antiquity, incredible feats of strength and endurance, illusions and inventions that are simply unbelievable and more.
One excellent thing to mention is that the Believe It or Not! Museum has been greatly renovated and updated in 2018. The exterior of the museum is COMPLETELY different and barely even recognizable to those of us who have lived here for some time. The layout of the inside is also different with a different progression and an increased size in general. Themed sections are newly renovated or completely different as well and, yes, there are lots and lots of new exhibits which you can only get to know about by visiting.
800 Parkway, Gatlinburg, TN 37738
And now, possibly the coup-de-grace for indoor activities in the Smokies, the Titanic Museum is without question the classiest and surprisingly varied museum in Pigeon Forge. The Titanic Museum exists as a living love letter to one of history’s most intriguing events and though pricier than other museums in the area, you definitely get your money’s worth as the building holds incredible items, some from the actual ship itself, such as books, uniforms, postcards, letters, personal effects, and even other more famous items that get to “tour” the Titanic Museums from around the country like the Wallace Hartley Violin or some really incredible Lego reproductions.
Additionally, the Titanic Museum also holds a LOT of special events throughout the year where you can meet Titanic figures portrayed by actors, watch firework displays, enjoy celebrations of European cultures and, of course, more.
2134 Parkway, Pigeon Forge, TN 37863
Of course, with our cabins in the Smoky Mountains, you’ll have quite a bit of fun stuff to enjoy on a rainy, snowy or stormy day right there for your accommodations if need be. Few things are able to shut down much of the fun stuff outside around us, so all you would really need are some backup ideas and the amenities that best suit your group’s interests and you will be set in the Smokies!
Find the cabin that has the amenities and convenience you want on our cabin list