What an interesting year it has been thus far with crazy weather in the mountains! Literally, in one week, you could wear shorts one day, and build a snowman a little later. Of course, you can always kick back by the crackling fireplace or in the swirling hot tub of your Smoky mountain cabin rental. But what is a tourist to do when the weather does not cooperate with your original plans? Here are a few ideas for activities not impacted by the weather.
Jellyfish, slugs and eels, oh my! Please experience this ode to ooze, even if you aren’t an eight-year old boy! If it’s been awhile, or if you have never been to Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies in Gatlinburg, now is the time for a visit this spring. Not exactly the green bucket stuff, but it’s just as fascinating to short people, and frankly, to adults too. Want to touch a jellyfish? Try it here, with much more.
The new Slime Exhibition adds an exciting and interesting addition this season. This exhibit replaces last season’s popular dinosaurs display. The Slime Exhibition is a hands-on experience: enjoy the Jellyfish Encounter, interactive displays, and multiple aquarium tanks featuring aquatic animals in their habitats, and how they use slime in their lives. Over thirty exhibits are featured in this area, providing as much “gross knowledge” as anyone could desire.
Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies is a world-class living museum. The permanent exhibits make the Gatlinburg location the #1 ranked aquarium in the nation by Tripadvisor reviews. Over 10,000 creatures of 350 different species live here. Penguins, sharks, rays and many more make this “zen water getaway” a whole family pleaser for both fun and education. Located in the heart of Gatlinburg at Parkway and River Road, the aquarium is also adjacent to the city trolley stop, making this attraction simple to access.
To purchase aquarium tickets online, or to buy combination discount tickets with several of Ripley’s area attractions, visit the website.
Maybe it’s because you have been encased in a 7-passenger automobile for several hours to arrive at your rental cabin in Wears Valley. Maybe you had to let go of that sports car to acquire that family SUV or minivan. Maybe you have just always loved everything to do with automobiles. Did you know there is plenty of opportunity in our area to view all types of vehicles while on vacation?
If horsepower and high performance are most important to you, check out the 90 muscle cars located at Floyd Garrett’s Muscle Car Museum, in Sevierville, Tennessee. Featured on multiple television shows, this nationally known collection is worth a stop, along with acquiring your own memorabilia from the musem gift shop.
What about seeing the vehicle from your favorite movie or TV show? The Hollywood Star Cars Museum in downtown Gatlinburg houses over 40 vehicles, including Knight Rider’s K.I.T., Back to the Future’s Delorean time machine, Smokey and the Bandit’s TransAm, the Dukes of Hazzard General Lee, and the original Batmobile as examples. A recent addition is the Hummer from the Avengers. You can also be photographed in most of the vehicles for an additional sitting fee.
What about a whole convention of classic cars or street rod custom vehicles? April and September are your opportunities to join those likeminded folks that gather, and participate in all the fun.
Pigeon Forge Rod Run (formerly the Grand Rod Run) is planned for 2014 at the newly opened LeConte Center. Dates in the spring are Friday, April 11 through Saturday, April 12 and in the fall from Thursday, September 11 to Sunday, September 13.
Shades of the Past Rod Run is planned for fall 2014 at Dollywood’s Splash Country parking area, Thursday, September 4 through Sunday, September 7.