Whether you’re looking to beat the heat in an air-conditioned building or avoid some rainy weather, visiting a museum is a great way to spend an afternoon indoors during your vacation! Tennessee’s Smoky Mountains are home to a wonderful variety of museums that display everything from famous cars to artifacts from the Titanic. To help you make the most of your next getaway, Timber Tops has put together a guide to the top six Gatlinburg museums and Pigeon Forge museums.
1. Hollywood Star Cars Museum
The Hollywood Star Cars Museum is a can’t-miss stop for TV and film buffs! This popular museum is home to some of the most iconic vehicles to ever grace the silver and small screens, including Herbie “The Love Bug,” the DeLorean from Back to the Future, the Jalopy from The Beverly Hillbillies, and two Batmobiles (from the 1960s TV show and the 1992 movie). Visitors can even have their photo taken inside some of the famous cars for an additional fee.
2. Salt and Pepper Shaker Museum
The Salt and Pepper Shaker Museum has a delightfully simple premise. As advertised, the museum is home to an impressive collection of salt and pepper shakers — more than 20,000 to be exact! The attraction only displays shakers with unique and whimsical designs, so expect to see everything from aliens to U.S. Presidents in the mix. Admission to the Salt and Pepper Shaker Museum is only $3 for adults and free for children 12 and under. Best of all, the admission fee can be applied to the purchase of any salt and pepper shaker set in the gift shop!
3. Ripley’s Believe It or Not! Odditorium
Ripley’s Believe It or Not! Odditorium is another one of the very best Gatlinburg museums. Located right on The Strip, this quirky museum is dedicated to everything and anything that is weird and wonderful, such as shrunken heads, a life-size ostrich skeleton, and head-scratching visual illusions. The Odditorium underwent a massive renovation in 2018, so even if you’ve visited the museum before, you’ll find that there are plenty of new things to see!
4. Titanic Museum Attraction
The Titanic Museum Attraction is hard to miss when you’re driving down the Pigeon Forge Parkway because the outside of the building looks like a giant ship! When you come aboard, you’ll find over 400 artifacts from the actual RMS Titanic and full-scale re-creations of rooms on the famous ocean liner. This Pigeon Forge museum also features a number of interactive exhibits, including a steerable Captain’s wheel, an “iceberg” that you can reach out and touch, and an engine room where you can “shovel coal.”
5. Alcatraz East Crime Museum
Alcatraz East is one of the most-buzzed-about Pigeon Forge museums. Devoted to the history of crime and punishment in America, this great museum is home to a number of notorious artifacts. Highlights of the collection include Bonnie and Clyde’s getaway car, Charles Manson’s guitar, Al Capone’s rosary, and O.J. Simpson’s Ford Bronco. Visitors to the museum will also have the chance to fire at targets in a simulated shooting range, tour a CSI lab, and step inside a real undercover surveillance van.
6. Hollywood Wax Museum
If you’ve always wanted to snag a selfie with your favorite celebrities, be sure to stop by the Hollywood Wax Museum in Pigeon Forge! This fun attraction is home to lifelike wax statues of today’s biggest stars, including Robert Downey Jr., Angelina Jolie, Natalie Portman, Will Ferrell, and Tom Hanks. Guests can also pose for pictures with classic Hollywood icons like James Dean, Audrey Hepburn, Marilyn Monroe, John Wayne, and Lucille Ball.
Other Gatlinburg Museums and Pigeon Forge Museums
These are just some of the incredible museums in the Smoky Mountains. Other Gatlinburg museums you should plan to visit are the Gatlinburg Pinball Museum and Ripley’s Guinness World Records Museum. Some more Pigeon Forge museums you don’t want to miss are Cooter’s Place, the Chasing Rainbows Museum, and WonderWorks. All of these attractions are both educational and fun. People of all ages will love spending time exploring all the museums.
Where to Stay in Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge
When you stay in our Smoky Mountain cabins, you will be near all of these awesome Gatlinburg museums and Pigeon Forge museums. With everything from 1 bedroom cabins for romantic retreats to 15 bedroom lodges for family reunions, we are guaranteed to have the perfect property for your escape. To start planning your vacation, browse our selection of cabins in Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge!