Known as the home of the Country Music Hall of Fame, Tennessee is also home to an array of amusement parks. The southeastern state has hundreds of rides, roller coasters, and other attractions suitable for kids of all ages in the multiple parks scattered throughout the state. The Gatlinburg Mountain Coaster is a self-driven roller coaster that will show you a unique side of Tennessee, while Dollywood is a far more extensive park comprising a theme park, waterpark, resort, luxury cabins, and even a festival site. Check out our list of fun amusement parks in Tennessee for a place to spend the day, the summer, or even the year, since many of them offer all-year passes. CDC information for travelers. Hours/availability may have changed.


1.Dollywood - Pigeon Forge

Dollywood - Pigeon Forge
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Dollywood in Pigeon Forge is a world-class theme park that is open for the majority of the year for people to enjoy. The award-winning destination comprises 40 rides, 15 exceptional shows, and Southern-style dining and is home to some of the South’s largest festivals. In addition to the premier theme park and waterpark, people can also indulge in the on-site resort, participate in the extraordinary dinner show experiences, or go camping in the luxury cabins in the Smoky Mountains. There are so many fun things to see and do that it will feel like one day at Dollywood just isn’t enough.

2700 Dollywood Parks Blvd, Pigeon Forge, TN 37863, Phone: 800-365-5996

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2.Gatlinburg Mountain Coaster

Gatlinburg Mountain Coaster
© Gatlinburg Mountain Coaster


A must-have experience if you’re in Tennessee, the Gatlinburg Mountain Coaster is a unique and family-friendly thrill ride that you can control yourselves. Propel your car up hills, down mountainsides, and over expansive fields; the coaster is one of the most favored attractions in the state. Tickets for the coaster are $16 for single rides, $27 for doubles, and $24 for parent/child combos – if you want to go on the ride again, it’s only an additional $8 and there is special pricing for children between the ages 3 and 9. Photographs, souvenirs, and snacks are all available at the Gatlinburg Mountain Coaster.

306 Parkway, Gatlinburg, TN 37738, Phone: 865-430-5577

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3.NASCAR SpeedPark - Sevierville

NASCAR SpeedPark - Sevierville
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NASCAR SpeedPark Smoky Mountains offers full-throttle fun for the entire family. There are 22 attractions, including eight heart-pounding go-kart tracks. Other attractions include 10 exciting thrill rides, two mini-golf courses, and bumper boats. Those who are feeling a little adventurous can try their luck climbing up the three-story indoor rock climbing wall. Visitors of all ages love spending hours at the park’s arcade, which has more than 75 games, both classic and new. In the midst of all that fun, don’t forget to grab some food and drinks at the Pit Stop Grill. Several unlimited wristbands, vacation passes, and annual pass options are available for purchase.

1545 Parkway, Sevierville, TN 37862, Phone: 865-908-5500

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4.Sir Goony's Family Fun Center

Sir Goony's Family Fun Center
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Open all year round, weather permitting, Sir Goony’s Family Fun Center is a fun place to spend the day. Splash Zone Water Slides are $10 per person, per hour, and $15 for all day access to the water-filled Castle Bounce House & Slide. Gather up everyone in the family for a friendly game of paintball or for a round of miniature golf. Visitors who are in the mood for something more exhilarating can please their need for speed at the 800’ Family Track, go-karting around in the bends and curves of the park. With so much to see and do, a day at the Family Fun Center is a day well spent when in Tennessee.

10925 Kingston Pike, Knoxville, TN 37934, Phone: 865-675-3262

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Best Amusement Parks in Tennessee



More Ideas: Discovery Park of America

Visiting the Discovery Park, located in Union City, Tennessee, is fun for children and adults of all ages. Learn about science, math, history, and other interesting educational subjects as well as being able to have tons of family fun. This world class educational center opened its more than 70,000 square feet of space in 2013.

History

Meant to help enhance the learning experiences of both children and adults alike, it currently sits on 50 acres and is constantly expanding both educationally as well as geographically. The park features a huge variety of exhibits and artifacts that are located both inside the center and outside on the grounds.

Permanent Attractions and Exhibits

Discovery Center: The main attraction at the Discovery Park is the Discovery Center. Below are just a few selections of the most popular exhibitions and galleries. Guests should also keep an eye out for temporary and traveling exhibits.

Children’s Exploration area: One of the biggest draws of the center is the area built for children. With an abundance of activities and hands-on exhibits/stations, the exploration area is perfect for getting children involved by letting them learn through experience. There is a water area with experiments revolving around learning about the properties of different liquids, an area that focuses on the senses of smell and sight, and an architectural area that lets children learn through building. There are also sections that cater to the younger children, like the infant ripple pool and the toddler fantasy forest. Everyone will enjoy the huge human sculpture, standing almost 50 feet high, that visitors can enter through and slide down (as long as they are at least three feet tall).

Enlightenment: Considered one of the coolest exhibits at the park, visitors will enter through a mysterious secret passageway in a bookcase. Once inside, there are artifacts from both the United States as well as all over the world. With an actual sunken treasure artifact, a suit of armor, and other unique exhibitions like a replication of the Ark of the Covenant, this gallery never fails to amaze.

Natural history: Visitors to the park often find themselves drawn to the dinosaurs, no matter their age! Several enormous dinosaur skeletons (starting with an Apatosaurus that greets visitors and a T-rex that is a fan favorite) are on display. Guests should also check out the large projection globe that highlights how the earth has changed through the different time periods.

The Grounds: The northwest section of the park is home to a collection of 1800’s community buildings and landscaping. With a log cabin (in the “dog-trot” architectural style), a log farmhouse (with an exhibit about the Union City “Sleeping Beauty”), and heirloom garden.

Artist Showcase: There is also a section of the park that is dedicated to highlighting local artists. Artists who use mediums that can be hung on the wall are invited to submit their work for a six-month rotation.

Educational Opportunities

Field trips are a frequent occurrence at the park, due to its educational mission. Discounts are offered, and field trips are available from 10:00am to 5:00pm Tuesdays through Saturdays. Programs are offered at an additional cost as well. The cost of admission also includes a free admission for one adult chaperone for every four students. Additional adult admission can be purchased at a discount as well. Requests for field trips must be made at least three weeks in advance of the preferred date, which is available online through a link on the park’s website. There is also a contract that will need to be signed prior. Field trips must consist of at least 10 students to qualify for the discount, and no deposit is needed although payment is required within a month of the visit via a single payment. Contact the park staff for additional requirements and information.

There are also many teacher resources and educational information on the website as well, for classes who may not be able to make it on-site.

Dining and Shopping

The park also features a combination cafe and gift shop for patrons who visit. The cafe features a menu of family friendly foods like cheese sticks, onion rings, and pizzas. They also offer drink options like juice, milk, and a variety of sodas. They even cater! The park gift shop side has a wide selection of gifts and other souvenirs, like apparel, toys, and other children related items. Stop by and pick up a reminder of the visit, as well as something that can continue the educational journey even at home.

Discovery Park of America, 830 Everett Blvd, Union City, TN, 38261, Phone: 731-885-5455

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More Ideas: Bays Mountain Park and Planetarium

Bays Mountain Park and Planetarium, in Kingsport, Tennessee, is the largest city owned park in the state. Guests should plan on spending a full day enjoying the premises, including the many attractions and exhibits located there. Created in 1965 and open year-round, the park and planetarium has been delighting visitors for years.

History

The history of the area goes back to the 1800s, when the original settlers ended up at Bays Mountain. The dam was built in 1915 by one of the founders of the town of Kingsport, J. Fred Johnson. The nature center was built over 50 years later, in 1971, and was created to help educate people about the importance of the area.

Permanent Attractions and Exhibits

There are two ways to visit the park and planetarium, self-guided or guided. The majority of people visiting the grounds choose to go at their own pace, but guided tours are also great for people wanting a little more thorough visit.

Self-guided highlights:

Habitats: The park grounds are home to a variety of habitat exhibits of creatures’ native to that area of Tennessee.

- Bobcats

- Herpetarium

- Raptor Center

- River Otters

- Turtles

- Watershed Room

- Whitetail deer

- Racoons

- Wolves

- Farmstead Museum: The Farmstead Museum, also known as the Steadman Heritage farm, is a living history exhibit featuring tools, instruments, and crafts used by many of the early families that settled in the mid-1800s through the 1950s. Learn how they worked and lived as they made Bays Mountain home.

- Camping and Fishing: Camping is allowed overnight in designated areas for scouting groups as well as recognized organizations for a fee. Fishing is also allowed, off the dam, for people over the age of 55 and under the age of 16. State regulations apply, and fishing licenses must be current. The lake is stocked with bluegill, bass, and channel catfish. No live minnows are allowed as bait. Fishing is allowed Mondays through Saturdays (no fishing is allowed on Sundays) from 8:30am to noon only.

- Hiking and Biking: The park is also home to more than 25 miles of hiking trails covering the majority of the 3500 acres that encompass the grounds. Trail maps are available, and the trails are available in a variety of skill levels. GPS rentals are also available for a small fee. There are also 25 miles of bike trails for mountain bikers of any skill level who wants to enjoy a day outside. Bikes should be checked at the gift shop prior to heading out.

Guided tours:

- Nature programs: For a small fee per person, the park staff will lead guests through nature programs in a variety of specific topics. Guests can learn about beaver ponds, watch the wolves eat, hear about the trees, and find out whether or not groundhogs can predict the weather.

- Barge rides: Learn from a park naturalist while seeing the park reservoir aboard a pontoon boat. There is a small fee and boat rides last about 45 minutes.

Planetarium: The “getaway to the stars”, visitors to the state of the art million-dollar planetarium will enjoy a day full of excitement under the 40-foot dome complete with surround sound and a star projector. There is a small admission fee for visitors over the age of five. The planetarium shows change on a rotating basis and are always exciting!

Educational Opportunities

Programs are available to school groups of all grade levels, from kindergarten to high school. Field trips are offered Tuesdays through Fridays from September to May. Teachers should call during the work week to speak with a staff member and schedule a visit. There is no charge for school groups from Kingsport, Bristol, and Rogersville Tennessee, as well as those from schools in both Sullivan and Hawkins County, Tennessee. All other school groups can attend for a small fee per student, and no charge per teacher. Adult chaperones will also be required to pay a small admission fee. Students are required to abide by the rules of the premises and be respectful. Field trip groups may bring a sack lunch and enjoy eating outside at the picnic area or amphitheater. They are responsible for picking up all trash and making sure it is disposed of appropriately. The planetarium is also available for school programs and cater to different age and grade levels.

Shopping

The Nature Center is home to a gift shop that carries a variety of merchandise for guests of all ages. For the younger crowd, there are toys (many of them educational in nature) and apparel. For adults, there are books, telescopes, apparel, and star finders. It also carries many products from National Geographic, some of which can be checked out instead of purchased.

Bays Mountain Park and Planetarium, 853 Bays Mountain Park Road, TN 37660, Phone: 423-229-9447

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More Ideas: World's Fair Park

The new World’s Fair Park is a state-of-the-art urban paradise that incorporates many of the major landmarks from the World’s Fair that was held in downtown Knoxville in 1982. The newly designed park takes the functionality of the site to an impressive new level with beautifully landscaped green spaces, interactive fountains and water features, and verdant lawns for outdoor performances.

Designed and built by the City of Knoxville as a space for the community to enjoy outdoor events and functions from intimate wine-tastings to music concerts. The World’s Fair Park features many characteristics that were built for the 1982 World’s Fair, such as the Tennessee Amphitheater, the Court of Flags, and the Sunsphere, as well as the newly added Knoxville Convention Center.

The Park consists of four main areas, namely The Performance Lawn, the Festival Lawn, the Amphitheater and the Lake Area, along with facilities, such as restrooms and picnic spots for visitors to enjoy. The Park also features new enhancements to accommodate one or more events taking place simultaneously, such as reinforced lawns and environmental features characteristic of the region. The park is filled with dogwood trees – the city’s signature tree and large, open lawns that provide multi-functional areas.

The World’s Fair Park features beautifully manicured lawns and a variety of horticultural features. The central Performance Lawn is a vast open area that is larger than in size than two football fields and provides a natural amphitheater-like setting for outdoor concerts, gatherings, parties and festivals.

Designed to cater for large events, the Festival Lawn spans two acres and features specially designed turf that can withstand bustling crowds. Located in the heart of the park, this multi-purpose manicured lawn is bordered by a tree-lined plaza to the east and native plantings on the west and is a favorite location for festival promoters.

Located on the northern end of the lawn, the Court of Flags Fountain is a fun, interactive water play area for summertime play, operating seasonally from March until the end of October. The popular Fountain and playground area is open year-round and creates a beautiful backdrop for photographers.

Horticultural features at the World’s Fair Park include plants that are symbolic of Knoxville, such as azaleas, rhododendron, forsythia, redbud and dogwood trees and bloom into a riot of colors each season.

Water is a central feature in the Park, which contains some of the most innovative and exciting water features in the form of placid lakes, quiet streams, cascading waterfalls, and a unique one-story-high geyser that spouts high into the air. This water features not only add auditory and visual pleasure but also contribute towards the functional landscape design of the Park.

The World’s Fair Park can be explored via several trails that crisscross the Park. The HGTV Walk serves as the north entry to the park and can be found north of the Court of Flags Fountain. The HGTV Walk consists of two pathways leading through a variety of colorful flowers, stocky shrubs, and beautiful trees, along with benches for visitors to relax and enjoy the surroundings. The Sergei Rachmaninoff Walk is named in honor of the world-renowned composer and performer and features a bronze statue sculpted by Russian artist, Victor Bokarev of the artist. Other features of the pathway include a semi-circle of Tennessee marble clad benches and lovely groups of hemlock and rhododendron. The Lawn and Water Walks wind around the Park’s Festival and Performance Lawns, streams, and lake and are frequented by walkers, joggers, and runners who want to enjoy the natural scenery.

Constructed for the 1982 World’s Fair and towering 266 feet above the city’s skyline, the Tennessee Amphitheater and the Sunsphere are the only structures that remain in the Park today. The Tennessee Amphitheater was used to host classical, and country music concerts and the Sunsphere served as the symbol of the Fair.

The only structure of its kind, the Sunsphere is an iconic feature of the Knoxville skyline and provides a 360-degree view of the city and beyond. Diners can enjoy dinner at the Primo Ristorante Italiano restaurant on the 5th level of the structure, and there are event rental space and local businesses on the 6th and upper floors of the structure. A newly added Observation Deck on the 4th floor houses a gallery of Knoxville photographs and breathtaking 360-degree views of Knoxville. The Observation Deck can be reached by elevator and can be rented for weddings, receptions, social and corporate functions.

The World's Fair Park is located in Knoxville and is open to the public from 6:00 am until midnight every day.

Back to: Best Things to do in Knoxville, TN

Knoxville, TN 37916, Phone: 865-215-1158

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