Gatlinburg has a lot of wonderfully fun activities and attractions that are family friendly and interesting to all ages. There are a plethora of outdoor activities, a vast array of wonderful restaurants, and oodles of great shows. But perhaps the most unique attractions in the Gatlinburg area belong to Mr. Ripley. If it so happens that you have visited one of Mr. Ripley’s museums while in say Myrtle Beach or St. Augustine, do not be deceived in thinking there is nothing new to see! Gatlinburg’s Ripley’s Believe it or Not Museum is unique from the others, and Mr. Ripley chose Gatlinburg, as the location for his aquarium, moving theatre, Guinness World Records Museum, Davy Crocket Golf, and other attractions.
Ripley’s Believe It or Not Museum: Ripley’s Believe It or Not Museum has been dropping jaws for over 90 years! In this unique museum of oddities, there are over 500 incredibly unique artifacts collected from all over the globe. What makes Ripley’s different from other freak shows you may have heard of? Every odd thing you see is guaranteed to be real! They have things like two headed calves, the world’s largest tire and genuine shrunken heads! Their hours of operation are from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily. Admission is $7.99 for children ages six to eleven, $14.99 for ages twelve and up, and children five and under are free.
Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies: This is a mind blowing adventure. The aquarium is divided up so that you are able to see fish from all over the world. The Rain forest was modeled after the lush world of the rain forest where there are more than 2,000 species of fish; you will see Piranha, Silver Arawana that can jump 6ft out of water, a variety of catfish as well as numerous other unique fish. Waters teeming with water life such as the Pacific Giant Octopus, sea anemones, living corals, weedy sea dragons and many many other species are on display in the Ocean exhibit. Other exhibits include the Coral Reef, Shark Lagoon, Sea Gallery, Stingray Bay, and the Penguin Playhouse. And at this museum you get in on the action in the Systems Control Room where you learn how they manage to keep an optimum environment for thousands of Marine life. Hours of operations are from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily. Admission for children ages 2-5 is $4.99, children 6-11 are $10.99, adults 12 and up are $21.99, and children two and under are free.
Ripley’s 3D Moving Theater: This attraction has two new, action-packed, continuously showing 3D movies. Snow Ride and Skate Race use Real D digital technology, just like what was used in Avatar and many other recent 3D films. There is also a 4D virtual reality simulator at this theater. In the simulator you move as the movie moves and experience every movement taking place, the state-of-the-art seating in the motion simulator moves in an amazing EIGHT different directions! Hours of operation are 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily. Admission is $7.99 for children 6-11, $12.99 for adults 12 and up, and children less than 40’’ are not permitted to ride.
Ripley’s Guinness World Records Museum: If you have ever enjoyed reading the incredible and sometimes silly records recorded in the Guinness World Book of Records you will love this museum. The displays include world records from sports, space, animals, food, human achievement and a vast array of other records. These incredible displays are brought to life through interactive games and trivia as well as video productions. Hours of operation are from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily. Admissions are $5.99 for children 6-11, $9.99 for adults 12 and up, and children five and under are free.
Ripley’s Davy Crockett Mini-Golf: This golf course is themed to look as things in the Gatlinburg area may have appeared way back when Davy Crockett was alive. There are animated and interactive animal displays along both 18-hole courses. The beautiful Great Smoky Mountains serve as a back drop for all 36 holes! The courses run year round, weather allowing. Hours of operation are from 10 a.m. to 11 p.m. daily. Eighteen hole admissions are $2.99 for children 2-5, $7.99 for children 6-11, and $10.99 for adults ages 12 and up. Thirty-six hole admissions are $5.99 for ages 2-5, $9.99 for ages 6-11, and $13.99 for adults 12 and up.
Ripley has a few other attractions in the Gatlinburg, Tennessee, area that include Ripley’s haunted Adventure, Ripley’s Mirror Maze, Ripley’s Candy Factory, and Ripley’s Old MacDonald’s Farm Mini-Golf. Visit their website for more information.