Colder weather in the Smoky Mountains sends many visitors looking for indoor activities – Gatlinburg, Pigeon Forge and Sevierville have a plethora of museums that entertain and fascinate.

1. Alcatraz East Crime Museum

Alcatraz East Crime Museum in Pigeon Forge is a great stop on your visit to the Smoky Mountains, with a unique look through American crime history – from the Salem Witch Trials to gunslingers of the West, prohibition and organized crime to the O.J. Simpson chase and trial, the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks and white-collar crime.

The adventure begins outside with the museum building designed as a prison with guard towers inspired by the Alcatraz lighthouse in San Francisco, modern-day watch towers and an inmate trying to escape!

Inside the 25,000 square-foot museum are two floors and over 100 interactives among the many galleries. “Five unique galleries burrow deep into the studies of criminal intent, criminal profiles, the penal system, victims, crime prevention, forensic science, law enforcement and the Judiciary Branch of government.”

2. Ripley’s Believe It or Not

Gatlinburg’s Ripley’s Believe It or Not! has eight fun, and sometimes heart-stopping, and super weird adventures. Attractions include an Odditorium – a place where people can marvel at artifacts Robert Ripley collected, as well as people – or replicas and videos of people – with amazing and unbelievable talents. There’s a haunted house like no other, along with an amazing aquarium filled with unique and fascinating animals. Two themed mini-golf adventures are part of the Ripley’s Gatlinburg family of fun and bizarre.

Ripley's Believe it or Not at night

Ripley’s Gatlinburg attractions are open 365 days a year (mini-golf courses are open weather permitting).
There are so many adventures at the 85,000 square foot Aquarium of the Smokies, including sharks, eels, weedy spinefish, green sea turtles many other creatures in the ocean realm of the aquarium. Piranhas and poisonous dart frogs inhabit the Tropical Rain Forest. You can Splash with the Rays, Sleep with the Sharks and interact with penguins on a trip. Check out the penguin cam to get a look at the family you could meet. You can touch a jellyfish too!

The aquarium has sensory-friendly nights for a quieter experience – perfect for those families of children who experience autism or other sensory processing disorders. Families receive $3.00 off admission – just mention “Sensory Nights” at the admission windows to receive the discount. Upcoming dates: Nov. 20th & Dec. 18th, 2019.

Ripley’s Haunted Adventure takes haunted houses to the next level with live actors lurking behind every corner of this creepy renovated mansion. Creatures get extremely close and personal at times! It’s freaky!

The Guinness Book of World Records comes to life at the Guinness World Records Adventure! A completely interactive and kid-friendly adventure. There are unbelievable exhibits, authentic memorabilia, incredible displays, games galore, trivia, themed galleries and videos.

3. Titanic Museum

Figure 1Photo Courtesy of Titanic Museum Pigeon Forge

Titanic Museum Pigeon Forge offers an experience like no other to learn about the voyage of the ship that was deemed “unsinkable.”

Located at 2134 Parkway in Pigeon Forge, Titanic Museum is hard to miss. The ship-shaped building was designed half-scale to the original luxury cruise liner. The was 882 feet in length. At the time, it was the largest man-made moving object on Earth. The museum ship seems to be in motion cutting through the sidewalks and onto the streets of Pigeon Forge – towering above and beckoning visitors.

More than 1,500 people – 70% of the passengers and crew – perished on that night. The ship – the most luxurious at the time – sank within three hours. Learn why as you tour through 20 rooms and listen to passenger stories. Feel the icy water, hear the captain’s commands on deck, send an SOS.

“Feel their spirit presence in the galleries where over 400 personal and private artifacts are on display. Many are on display for the first time in the world. This collection is valued at more than $4.5 million,” according to the Titanic Museum Web site.

Each guest entering Titanic receives a boarding pass for an actual Titanic passenger or crew. You are first class or third class or perhaps an ensign or a maid.

Inside the ship, “passengers” and “crew” experience what it was like to walk the hallways, parlors, cabins and Grand Staircase of the Titanic. Be surrounded by more than 400 artifacts directly from the ship and its passengers.  Visitors touch a real iceberg, walk the exact replica Grand Staircase and third-class hallways, reach their hands into 28-degree water, and try to stand on the sloping decks.

Walking through the ship is a romantic trip through the museum as you take the self-guided tour and learn how your passenger ate, slept, worked and played on the voyage, a trip of a lifetime. The Titanic, a White Star Liner ship, set sail from Southampton, England and was headed to New York City when it hit an iceberg about 370 miles southeast of Halifax, Nova Scotia.

At the end of your two-hour Titanic journey, discover your passenger or crew’s fate in the Titanic Memorial Room where 2,208 names line the wall.

4. Hollywood Wax Musuem

Head to the Hollywood Wax Museum to spend time with some of your favorite celebrities. The Hollywood Wax Museum in Tennessee is the largest in the United States!

Take pictures with and learn about all your favorite stars. While you’re there, you should also be sure to check out the museum’s tributes to various film genres, from westerns to horror flicks.

The Hollywood Wax Museum is open 365 days a year, from 9:00 a.m. until 9:00 p.m. or later depending on when you visit! You’ll definitely want to make time for this attraction during your trip.

Located at 106 Showplace Blvd., Building A.

5. Hollywood Star Cars Museum

The museum is constantly searching for new cars to improve the collection.  Popular cars are from such blockbuster hit movies such as The Ghostbusters, Ecto-1, The Munsters Drag-u-la, General Lee from The Dukes of Hazzard and the Beverly Hillbillies Jalopy,  Two Batmobiles from “Batman TV Show “ & “Batman Returns.
Other cars featured are “Eleanor” from  Gone in 60 Seconds,  The Fast and the Furious,  Back to the Future DeLorean  time machine, Days of Thunder Mello Yello race car, the Beach Boys 1955 ThunderbirdSir Paul McCartney’s Cadillac, and so many more.

Located at 914 Parkway in Gatlinburg.

6. Beyond the Lens Family Fun

Beyond the Lens - a Pigeon Forge Attraction.

Beyond the Lens is a highly interactive and immersive experience for all ages. Pairing old-school nostalgia with cutting-edge technology, a visit to this museum will stir up forgotten memories and have a chance to make some new ones. Learn about the events and public figures that shaped our culture, and experience the games and entertainment that will shape our future.  Be sure to read our blog post about all the fun things there are to do and see at this incredible museum.

Located at 2115 Parkway in Pigeon Forge.

7. Gatlinburg Pinball Museum

The Gatlinburg Pinball Museum is an interactive museum where you can play over 100 pinball machines and retro arcade games. Their collection of pinballs and retro games is one of the largest in the US. The museum has countless limited edition and rare pinballs and all your favorite arcade games from days gone by.

And here are a couple of other quirky museums in the area to check out:

Tennessee Museum of Aviation; Christ in the Smokies Museum & Gardens and The Salt and Pepper Shaker Museum .

things to do in gatlinburg

Be sure to check out American Patriot Getaways and discount tickets for our guests to many of the museums.

After all that fun, go back to a phenomenal and cozy cabin with a luxurious fire, soothing hot tub and incredible views of the Great Smoky Mountains.

Plan your winter museum adventure now with American Patriot Getaways

Find a cabin near all the action, give us a call at 888-876-6509. Be sure to check out all our amazing featured deals. You can also contact us online by searching our Pigeon Forge cabins with views. Check out our Pinterest boards including Things to Do in Pigeon Forge  Also, see our cabin discount/specials page.

Check out our useful vacation guides that include insider tips to help you plan the perfect Smoky Mountain vacation.

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