The Titanic Museum, which opened in April of 2010, towers high above the Parkway in Pigeon Forge. The impressive ship-like structure was custom-engineered to look exactly like the famous 1912 vessel and cost in excess of $25 million to build. The half-scale replica of the Titanic houses a 30,000 square-foot museum that proudly displays 20 galleries and hundreds of authentic Titanic artifacts.
It is highly recommended to make advance reservations prior to your arrival at the Titanic museum to avoid the disappointment of sold-out tour times. The museum is one of the most popular attractions in all of Pigeon Forge. On a busy day, the Pigeon Forge Titanic museum will give over 3,000 visitors the chance to experience the history and tragedy of the world’s most famous cruise liner.
Upon arrival, guests are issued a boarding pass with the name and story of a real-life Titanic passenger. At the end of the tour, there will be a place to check if your boarding pass belonged to a survivor or one of the less fortunate passengers. Over half of Titanic’s 2,208 passengers and crew ultimately perished, so the likelihood of “your” survival is relatively low. However, to ensure that all of the ship’s younger passengers have a pleasant experience, young children are only issued boarding passes that belonged to survivors.
Prior to entering the ship, guests are given the opportunity to purchase an audio tour at an additional cost of $6 per person. The audio tour, which has professionally produced adult and child versions, features interviews with actual Titanic survivors and is well worth the money. Children will love the Disneyesque and interactive nature of the kids’ audio tour.
Early in the tour, you will realize the Pigeon Forge Titanic museum is not filled with artifacts that were recovered from the bottom of the ocean. Instead, this is a living and breathing ship filled with artifacts from survivors and belongings that were recovered floating in the icy waters. The highly personal nature of the items on display will draw you to the individual stories represented and simultaneously make the history lesson enjoyable for visitors of all ages.
The Grand Staircase, which was built from the ship’s original Harland Wolff blueprints and hand-carved in Florida, is an exact-scale replica that took over three months to assemble. This beautiful reproduction cost over one million dollars to build and is complete with a bronze cherub, a backlit milk glass rotunda, 24k gold leafing, hand carved woodwork, and an Austrian crystal chandelier. The flooring, which was far more expensive than granite or marble at the time of the Titanic’s construction, is linoleum. The Titanic museum makes the Grand Staircase available for proposals, weddings, and vow renewals, but advance reservations are required.
In addition to the recovered relics and the Grand Staircase, the Titanic museum currently features the following popular exhibits:
- Flooded Stairway Simulator – Stand at the base of a stairway and experience what it would have been like to see real water rushing at you (don’t worry Plexiglas keeps you dry!)
- Third-Class Cabin – View the modest accommodations of immigrants and less-wealthy
- First-Class Cabin – This incredible reproduction of the opulent cabin that only the super-wealthy would have been able to afford is amazing
- Captain’s Bridge – Here you will have the chance to steer the ship, touch an iceberg, and stick your hand in the 28 degree water (same temperature the passengers were submerged in)
- Father Browne Gallery – View the amazing photos of the Titanic, which were taken by a passenger who disembarked in Ireland
While the Titanic museum is definitely geared towards older children, considerable effort has been made to provide plenty of interactive, hands-on exhibits that are sure to please children of all ages.
The costumed crew members add to the authenticity of the attraction and speak as if they are really crew members aboard the doomed luxury liner. Each time we had a question for a crew member, they answered the question and provided historical insights related to the magnificent ship and her passengers. It is obvious the employees at this museum have been carefully selected and trained.
While copyright restrictions prevent Titanic museum visitors from taking pictures inside the attraction, the striking exterior of the ship against the backdrop of the Great Smoky Mountains is an excellent photo opportunity.
If you are afraid this impressive museum is just another tourist trap, be assured that the historical significance of the museum and its artifacts cannot be overstated. This museum has the endorsement of the Titanic Historical Society and has been trusted with hundreds of personal items from Titanic heirs and collectors.
From the full-scale reproduction of the 15.5 ton center anchor to the 28 degree water, this museum spared no expense in achieving historical accuracy and authenticity. This is a must-visit attraction for every Smoky Mountain vacation. You will leave with a new appreciation for this beautiful ship – Guaranteed.
Visit the Pigeon Forge Titanic museum after 6 PM. Although the ship can be very busy during peak season, evening time will provide a more relaxing and enjoyable experience without the crowds.
The Titanic museum is located between traffic lights 0 and 1 on the main Parkway in Pigeon Forge. It is next to the Hattfield and McCoy Dinner Show.
*Photos and review produced by our on staff journalists who are in no way affiliated with the brand reviewed on this page. Additional images fully licensed with permission by author.