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Family Vacation Exploring WonderWorks Tennessee

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What looks like an “upside down house” to my youngest daughter finally drew us inside on a rainy day in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee. We spent most of the day exploring the 35,000 square foot WonderWorks building, and the kids still couldn’t get enough!  The place is a mesmerizing mix of science, sports, virtual reality and old-fashioned entertainment.  We started by entering the Inversion Tunnel, where the couple in front of us apparently found romance, the kids found enchantment, and I just got dizzy.

Wonderworks Tunnel

In a tourist area where there’s much to enjoy outdoors in the Smoky Mountain scenery, this is our new favorite indoor spot. You can take your pick inside of physical challenges like rock wall climbing, basketball and virtual games or spend time on amusement park type rides.  The newest one to shake you up now is an impressively realistic virtual roller coaster.

Wonderworks Exterior

I faced a personal fear of heights by taking the ropes course challenge along with my kids.  We stay attached to a harness system while scaling four levels of bridges and tightropes.  My youngest was thrilled to be tall enough to traverse the ropes course. You’ll want to check height requirements for the various attractions along with your youngest family members, as they may have to grow into some of them.

Wonderworks collage

They’ve certainly nailed the wow factor at WonderWorks.  I never would have dreamed all of us in the family could say we’ve laid on a real bed of nails.  This place put us up to the challenge.  Yes, it’s perfectly safe.  And learning the secret to how they do it involves a bit of science.

Wonderworks Bed of Nails

One of our favorite parts of WonderWorks involved a show we can’t picture on the blog, because they don’t allow photography. Magician Terry Evanswood had us on the edge of our seats for his Wonders of Magic show.  Besides being incredibly skillful and leaving us amazed, he’s simply a great live entertainer.

Wonderworks heat image

We hit the highlights of this maze of a place for you: the ropes challenge, the magic show and the dizzying thrills of the virtual rides you can take.  We ran out of time to study all of the cool science facts and mind-blowing exhibits, and the kids would have stayed twice as long if I’d let them. The place even features a new Dr. Seuss art exhibit.

Because you can spend a full day inside, I would have preferred more dining choices than the sparse snack bar they offered, where we stopped for lunch.  I’m also a big enthusiast for getting outdoors, so I wouldn’t travel all the way to the Smokies without a day of hiking, too.  But if you’re looking for a place to impress the entire family in one stop, this is it.

Thanks to WonderWorks for hosting my family for the day!

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