If you’ve ever strolled along the Parkway in downtown Gatlinburg, you’ve probably noticed the big brick house with cracks running up it and people trying to stop the giant ball that spins in the water on the sidewalk. That’s Ripley’s Believe It Or Not! Odditorium! Tucked among the shops, restaurants, and attractions of the Parkway, Ripley’s Believe It Or Not! Odditorium packs a punch inside.
Across 3 floors, the Odditorium boasts 12,500 square feet of odd, unbelievable, and crazy. It features 500 exhibits and artifacts – part of a collection curated from years of world travels – in 16 themed galleries. As you browse the galleries and explore the artifacts, you’ll find things that will impress, amaze, and leave you thinking – no way! There are shrunken heads, visual illusions, a life-size ostrich skeleton, and so much more!
Pass a rainy day by strolling through the halls, cool off from the summer heat as you explore, or just do something new and fun with the kids! You can tour at your own pace, making it a quick stop or taking your time and reading all the plaques. You can even try some trivia and test your Ripley’s knowledge! The attraction is jam-packed around every corner, with so many new things to see. Learn about music, record holders, movies, celebrities, unique cultures, animals, and more!
For the Kids
If your Smoky Mountain vacation includes the kids, check out the interactive section. They can play around with dance screens, play video games, and even try the giant Light Bright! It’s a great place to let the kids get out some energy and have some fun! Of course, they’ll love all the crazy artifacts throughout the Odditorium as well!
How it All Started
Leroy Ripley was born in Santa Rosa, California in 1890, and went by Roy until about 15. A talented artist and athlete – he pitched semipro baseball when he was 13 – Roy would illustrate posters for the games. When he was 14, Roy sold his first illustration to LIFE magazine. He leveraged that into more work, and by age 15, he had been on the payroll at the San Francisco Bulletin and the San Francisco Chronicle.
He then started going by Robert and started a cartoonist career in New York. He sketched sports cartoons for the New York Globe – which is where he randomly illustrated 9 unusual sporting events called “Believe It Or Not!” What started as a bored doodle turned into a popular cartoon that sparked his desire to travel.
As Ripley traveled around the world, he collected anything he thought was unique, interesting, and unusual. His souvenir collection grew and became the start of the massive collection you can see at Ripley’s Believe It Or Not! Odditorium today!
About the Odditorium
Ripley’s Believe It Or Not! Odditorium is open 365 days a year, 9 a.m. to midnight. It’s in the heart of downtown Gatlinburg at traffic light #8 (808 Parkway | Gatlinburg, TN | 37738). You can email [email protected] or call 865.436.5096 for more info!
More Ripley’s Fun in the Smokies
The fun doesn’t stop at Ripley’s Believe It Or Not! Odditorium. The Ripley’s family of attractions has grown to offer everything from virtual rides to an aquarium rated among the top in the country! When you’re done touring the Odditorium, check out:
- Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies | 865.430.8808
- Ripley’s Haunted Adventure | 865.430.9991
- Ripley’s Marvelous Mirror Maze and Candy Factory |865.430.1834
- Ripley’s Davy Crockett Mini-Golf | 865.430.8551
- Ripley’s Old MacDonald’s Farm Mini-Golf | 865.428.1699
- Ripley’s 5D Moving Theatre | 865.436.9763
- Ripley’s Guinness World Records Adventure | 865.430.7800
Ripley’s Ultimate Pass
With so many Ripley’s attractions to check out, you could fill an entire weekend with just Ripley’s fun! Their Ultimate Pass gives you the best deal when you want to pack in a lot, offering UNLIMITED admission to all Ripley’s attractions in Tennessee for a year from purchase. Plus, you’ll get discounts on food and merchandise, Splash with the Stingrays, birthday parties, Dollywood, and more!
SAVE with the Cabins for YOU Partner Program
We LOVE the Smokies, especially all the fun attractions there are to visit. We also LOVE our guests and want them to explore Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge as much as possible when they stay with us. That’s why we’ve partnered up with some top local attractions to offer discounts to our guests. When you stay with us, you’ll save at:
- Amazing Animals (The Comedy Barn)
- Bent Creek Golf Course
- The Comedy Barn
- Country Tonite
- Darren Romeo: Magic Beyond Belief
- Hatfield & McCoy Dinner Feud
- Ober Gatlinburg
- Smoky Mountain Opry
- Smith Morning Variety Show
- Smoky Mountain Ziplines
- Titanic Museum Attraction
- Guinness World Records Adventure
- Ripley’s Davy Crockett Mini-Golf
- Ripley’s Moving Theater
- Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies
- Ripley’s Haunted Adventure
- Ripley’s Old MacDonald’s Farm Mini Golf
- Ripley’s Believe It Or Not! Odditorium
- Ripley’s Marvelous Mirror Maze
- The Escape Game
A Cozy Cabin after Fun Days
After you’ve packed in Ripley’s attractions, golf, ziplining, dinner shows, magic, games, rides, mini golf, and tours, you’ll be ready for a place to rejuvenate. We have hundreds of cabins to choose from, offering comfortable rentals in Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg.
Come as a couple and choose a romantic 1-bedroom cabin with a king-size bed, jetted tub inside, hot tub outside, fireplace, big screen TV, and peaceful deck. Plan a fun family vacation and book a 3-5 bedroom cabin that has space to play, relax, cook, and enjoy some quality time together. If you’re planning a reunion or retreat, check out our large-group lodges. They offer everything from kitchens with double appliances and bunk bed rooms to multiple levels of decks and living rooms for groups.
Our cabins are loaded with plenty to keep you entertained long after you leave downtown, with private indoor pools, movie rooms with theater-style seating, hot tubs, rocking chairs on the decks, big screen TVs and Blu-ray players, and game rooms with everything from shuffleboard and pool to air hockey and arcade consoles!