Pigeon Forge, Entertainment Capital of the Smokies
Discover a unique blend of history and entertainment as you explore Dollywood with a historian, take in a show at the Grand Majestic and visit Oak Ridge, home of the Manhattan Project.
Rating (4.8)
Program No. 19553RJ
6 days
Starts at
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6 days
5 nights
14 meals
5 B 4 L 5 D
Getting There
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Check-in, Program Registration, Welcome Dinner, Orientation
Pigeon Forge, Tennessee
Mainstay Suites

Activity note: Hotel check-in 3:00 p.m.

Afternoon: Program Registration. After you have your room assignment, come to the Road Scholar table in the main lobby to register with the program staff and get your welcome packet containing your name-tag, up-to-date schedule that reflects any last-minute changes, other important information, and to confirm when and where the Orientation session will take place. If you arrive late, please ask for your packet when you check in.

Dinner: At the hotel, we’ll have a BBQ buffet dinner with salad, entrees, dessert, and beverage choices of tea (sweet and unsweet), lemonade, coffee, water.

Evening: Orientation. The Group Leader will greet everyone and lead introductions. We will review the up-to-date program schedule, discuss roles and responsibilities, logistics, safety guidelines, emergency procedures, and answer questions. Periods in the daily schedule designated as “Free time” and “At leisure” offer opportunities to do what you like and make your experience even more meaningful and memorable according to your personal preferences. The Group Leader will be happy to offer suggestions. Program activities, schedules, personnel, and indicated distances or times may change due to local circumstances/conditions. In the event of changes, we will alert you as quickly as possible. Thank you for your understanding. Continue getting to know your fellow Road Scholars, settle in, and get a good night’s rest for the day ahead.

Pigeon Forge History & Musical Evolution, Backstage, Show
Pigeon Forge, Tennessee
Mainstay Suites

Activity note: Walking and standing at field trip sites; some stairs.

Breakfast: At the hotel, the breakfast buffet includes hot and cold choices such as cereal, yogurt, fruit, milk, juice, coffee, tea, water.

Morning: We’ll be joined by a local historian who will discuss the transformation of Pigeon Forge. We’ll learn why this small mountain town has become the entertainment capital of the Smokey Mountains; what has drawn entertainers with their many varieties of showmanship; and the evolution of Mountain, Bluegrass, and Country music. Our program will include demonstrations and performances of each type of music.

Lunch: At the hotel, choose what you like from the make-your-own sandwich buffet; tea (sweet and unsweetened), water included.

Afternoon: We’ll have some time after lunch to relax or explore on your own. The Group Leader will be happy to offer suggestions. At 4:00 p.m., we’ll board a motorcoach and ride to the Country Tonite Theater where we’ll meet Chan Mullinax, a featured performer who plays Bubba the Redneck Ranger, and Kevin Wilson, the show’s host and producer. Chan and Kevin will talk about the development of the show and their roles. We’ll then go back stage for a privileged view of the theater.

Dinner: At a popular local restaurant, we’ll have a tasty Italian dinner and order from a select menu.

Evening: Performance. We’ll attend a show at the Country Tonite Theater, one of the longest running shows in Pigeon Forge. It features singing, dancing, comedy, gospel, American patriotism, and more. The show has won many awards including “Show of the Year,” “Best Show in the Smokies,” and “Best Live Country Show in America.”

Oak Ridge, Science & Energy Museum, American Hit Parade Show
Pigeon Forge, Tennessee
Mainstay Suites

Activity note: Walking up to 1 mile; some stairs.

Breakfast: Hotel buffet.

Morning: Oak Ridge, Tennessee, was once the “secret city” with facilities built for the Manhattan Project starting in 1942. Those facilities became the Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) that today is the largest science and energy laboratory in the U.S. Department of Energy, conducting research on solutions to compelling problems in energy and security. With a local expert, we’ll take a field trip to explore the Oak Ridge National Laboratory, former site of the K-25 Plant, including a movie and exhibits.

Lunch: At a popular restaurant in Oak Ridge — an historic lunch stop built during the Secret City — we’ll have a soup and sandwich lunch; soft drinks included.

Afternoon: Next, we will take a field trip by motorcoach led by a local historian to explore the area with stops at scenic overlooks. We’ll also visit the Museum of Science and Energy to learn more about the development of the Manhattan Project during a self-directed exploration.

Dinner: We’ll travel to the Grand Majestic Theater for the America’s Hit Parade Dinner Show. The “all you can eat” meal includes main dishes and side dishes plus dessert and soft drinks, iced tea, coffee, water; other beverages available for purchase.

Evening: Performance. The Hit Parade show is a professionally choreographed singing and dancing presentation of jukebox hits from the 1950s and ’60s plus a tribute to all branches of the U.S. military. Talented performers recreate hits from leading artists and groups of the era.

Dollywood, Dixie Stampede
Pigeon Forge, Tennessee
Mainstay Suites

Activity note: Walking up to 2 miles through Dollywood; many places to stop and relax.

Breakfast: Hotel buffet.

Morning: We’ll take a field trip and to Dollywood where we’ll meet staff members, learn the history and go behind the scenes to look at many different aspects of this entertainment park, its operations, and entertainment.

Lunch: We’ll have vouchers to have what you like at one of the Dollywood venues.

Afternoon: Next, we’ll travel to Dolly Parton’s Dixie Stampede for a presentation to learn about the show, their horses, and Dolly Parton’s relationship with the show. We’ll then be seated to watch pre-dinner entertainment.

Dinner: At the Dixie Stampede, we’ll enjoy a 4-course feast that includes soup, two main dishes, side dishes, dessert, and unlimited soft drink, coffee, tea.

Evening: The Dixie Stampede dinner show features 32 horses and top-notch riders who perform daring feats of trick riding and competition. We’ll also enjoy music, dancing, special effects, and family friendly comedy including a patriotic salute written and recorded by Dolly Parton featuring colorful costumes and fireworks.

Meet Performers, City Official, Titanic Museum, Show
Pigeon Forge, Tennessee
Mainstay Suites

Activity note: Walking a field trip sites.

Breakfast: Hotel buffet.

Morning: We’ll be joined by performers from the Grand Majestic Dinner Show and the Comedy Barn Theater who will tell us about their careers, their shows, and performances.

Lunch: Hotel buffet. We’ll be joined by a city official who will tell us to us more about the transformation of Pigeon Forge and its future.

Afternoon: Our next field trip will take us to the Titanic Museum for a self-directed exploration. The sinking of the RMS “Titanic” — with a loss of more than 1,500 lives — survives in our collective memory thanks to numerous books, movies, and documentaries as well as exhibits in museums and sites such as this one in Pigeon Forge. It tells the story not only of the disaster from the time the ship struck an iceberg at 11:40 p.m. on April 14 until it sank at 2:20 a.m. on April 15, but of the people aboard, both passengers and crew. Within the 50% scale replica of the ship’s bow, we’ll be able to see replicas of the Grand Staircase and actual artifacts as well as interactive galleries.

Dinner: At a popular Pigeon Forge restaurant featuring Southern favorites. Share favorite experiences with new Road Scholar friends during our farewell dinner.

Evening: Performance. We’ll ride to the Comedy Barn Theater, another long-running, award-winning Pigeon Forge show. Its family oriented comedy features not only comedians but jugglers, ventriloquists, live country and gospel music. Prepare for check-out and departure in the morning.

Wrap-up Session, Program Concludes
Pigeon Forge, Tennessee

Activity note: Hotel check-out 10:30 a.m.

Breakfast: Hotel buffet.

Morning: We’ll gather one last time as a group to say farewells. This concludes our program. We hope you enjoy Road Scholar learning adventures and look forward to having you on rewarding programs in the future. Please join our Facebook page and share photos of your program. Visit us at www.facebook.com/rsadventures. Best wishes for all your journeys!

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