We are very fortunate to live close enough to Gatlinburg, TN that we can go for an overnight trip. There is so much to do in the Gatlinburg area but some of the most fun things to do are the Ripley's Attractions. This past week we went to Gatlinburg with just my boys while my oldest was at band camp. The only Ripley's attraction we have done previously was the Aquarium and that was a few years ago. I was excited because the last time we were in Gatlinburg my boys were begging to do these attractions. I just wanted to share with you my thoughts and what we all thought about the Ripley's attractions.
The first place we went in the morning was the Guinness World of Records Museum. We took our time walking through this very cool museum learning all sorts of fun facts. I think the most fun we had was in this one area where you could do a simulation like breaking concrete slabs. It became a huge competition to try to beat each other. Sadly I could only beat my youngest son. There was so much to see in this museum from collections, scary feats, historic facts and crazy things people will do to get a record. My kids tried throughout the museum to figure out what they could do to get in the Guinness Book of World Records. I think they all voted that eating bug or worms of any kind were out!
Our next stop was the Ripley's Mirror Maze, that is on the same block as the museum. We have done other Mirror Mazes and my kids really love them. The Ripley's Mirror Maze was a lot of fun. It was different than others because it was dark inside, lit up by the red lights. You put on plastic gloves before you go in so that you do not get any finger prints on the mirrors. My only complaint about this mirror maze is that it looked like some people had gone through without gloves so there were finger prints and in some places it made it too easy to figure out where to go. One thing my kids thought was very cool was the Infinity Room. This room looked like it had billions of lights and you could see tons of images of yourself. My kids stayed in this room a long time dancing around.
The next stop as we continued down the Parkway in Gatlinburg was the Ripley's Moving Theater If you have done any simulator rides at amusement parks, this is very similar. You sit in individual seats and watch a 3D movie. The seats move so feel like you are in the movie. There are also other effects like air blowing in your face and snow falling in the room. The two movies were cute and last a total of about 15 minutes. My favorite was a snowy one and racing through the snow on inner tubes.
Our next stop was one we were really unsure of and honestly I had no plans to go to. I planned to send my hubby and brave children to the Ripley's Haunted Adventure and me sit and enjoy the safety outside. But that is not how it ended up going. My youngest decided that he was brave enough to go and after reading many many reviews online about how it wasn't all that scary, I agreed to go. I don't know what you people are talking about that say it's not scary. We almost went out the emergency exit just to escape! I think the scariest thing was that it was dark a large part of the time so you had to feel your way through and then would suddenly be in the face by cobwebs. There were noises all around or sometimes no noises at all (even creepier). My youngest cried while we were in there but then in the end wanted to do it again (something I do not get). There were some live actors and some animatronics. At one point one of the live actors was walking right beside us, like inches away, just being creepy not saying a word. I begged her not to touch us because I already had one kid crying horribly. (She made no attempt to touch us and then was just gone!) Okay so in the end, everyone agreed this was fun and totally different than anything we would typically do. Don't listen when people tell you it's lame and not scary!
Very close to the Haunted Adventure is the Ripley's Believe It or Not Odditorium. I grew up with grandparents that lived in Knoxville and as a kid I spent part of every summer in the Pigeon Forge/Gatlinburg area. I can remember as a kid wanting to go to the Believe It or Not Museum so I
was really excited for this attraction in particular. This was also something my boys were excited about it. When we were in Gatlinburg in December, they really wanted to come here but it was late and we needed to head home. The Odditorium was a lot of fun. There was so much to see and do and my kids had no clue they were learning. (Always a plus when kids can learn and have fun!) There was an interactive area that my kids absolutely loved and stayed in a while. We learned all sorts of new things including new things about my middle son who is one the rare people who can fold his tongue. This will keep you busy for a while looking at everything on the multiple floors of this building.
After the Odditorium, we headed for a late lunch. One really nice thing about Gatlinburg is that on the Parkway is just about everything you want to do. So we stayed at a hotel right as you come into Gatlinburg and walked everywhere from there. In the middle of all of these Ripley's attractions are tons of restaurants from fast food like McDonald's to restaurants like the Mellow Mushroom. You can find food to please just about anyone.
So after lunch, we headed to the Ripley's Aquarium of the Smokey's. We came to the Aquarium years ago but theyounger boys didn't remember it at all. I cannot even begin to describe what all is at the Aquarium. We have been to a couple of aquariums and this is definitely the best. There are so many different types of sea creatures and we learned so much. My kids were most looking forward to the shark tank because you get to walk through a tunnel under the shark tank and the sharks swim above you. You get to see these sharks up close and personal. We watched one of the underwater shows with the rays. I think my younger two boys would tell you their most favorite parts of the Aquarium were the hands on exhibits. They got to touch, pick up and play with horseshoe crabs, have manicures by doctor fish and then touch sting rays as they swam by. We spent so much time at these exhibits. I think my middle son would have stayed here and lived in the pool with the rays. We spent hours at the Aquarium and visited several exhibits more than once. This is definitely an attraction we will come back to sooner this next time.
We had tickets for both Ripley's Mini-Golf Courses but were only able to do the Davy Crockett because we had spent so much time at all of the other attractions. My kids have never really played mini-golf on a decent golf course. This was truly a blast! My kids got better and better as we went along. I was very worried when we went because it was very hot outside but this course is very shaded. We had a great time competing and maybe cheating a little.
Our trip was great and my kids are already asking about going back again. I never imagined it would take so long to do all these attractions but we were out about 12 hours. Ripley's has put together a lot of fun for all ages!
Ripley's offers so many ways to do their attractions from buying a ticket for just one or buying tickets for multiple attractions. You can buy a ticket that will get you into all the attractions! Click here for information on how to get a coupon to save on the tickets.