IHG Travel Blog

Strange South: Discovering Ripley’s Believe It or Not and other weird Gatlinburg sites

Strange Attractions in Gatlinburg

Gatlinburg, Tennessee, is a well-known draw for outdoor enthusiasts, romantic couples, and families of all sizes. But along with all of the attractions you’d expect with these visitors, Gatlinburg has some strange sites that are sure to make you laugh, think, or just be plain amazed.

With the several Ripley’s Believe It or Not! attractions and other weird, spooky, and downright strange sites to explore, you’ll definitely be left scratching your head.

Ripley’s Believe It or Not! attractions

The folks at Ripley’s Believe It or Not! have taken quite the liking to the Gatlinburg area. There are eight total Ripley’s attractions throughout the city, so no matter where you book a hotel room in Gatlinburg, you’re never far from something strange.

Ripley’s Odditorium

Never before in your life have you seen the things that await you at Ripley’s Odditorium. Over 500 exhibits, including everything from shrunken heads to a merman, fill the 12,500 square foot three-level building. You’ll even become apart of the action with Ripley’s tons of hands-on activities.

Image Source: Valerie Everett

Ripley’s Moving Theater 5D

Think the fun stops at 3D? Think again. At Ripley’s Moving Theater 5D, you’re treated to a Real-D 3D Moving Theater experience. The state of the art technology will put your right in the middle of a winter wipeout or at the top of a crazy roller coaster.

Image Source: Valerie Everett

Ripley’s Haunted Adventure

For those of you counting down the days until Halloween comes again, you won’t have to wait any longer at Ripley’s Haunted Adventure. This haunted house is open 365 days a year, just waiting to scare the devil of you.

Ripley’s Marvelous Mirror Maze

Remember that childhood-favorite carnival classic, the hall of mirrors? Well, Ripley’s created the ultimate hall of mirrors in the Marvelous Mirror Maze. The infinite options of route will leave you dizzy, but if you get lost you won’t be the first! The Marvelous Mirror Maze sends search parties through the maze every half hour to ensure everyone finds their way out.

Image Source: Valerie Everett

Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies

Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies transports you from the landlocked mountains of the Smokies to the tropical waters of the Caribbean and to the icy tundra of Antarctica. Take a seat and watch the penguins in the Penguin Playhouse, where you can actually interact with the little guys in a huge indoor and outdoor habitat.

Image Source: Brent Moore

Ripley’s Mini Golf

One spectacularly themed mini golf course isn’t enough for Ripley’s in Gatlinburg, so they made two! Take your pick from or enjoy both Ripley’s Old MacDonald’s Farm Mini-Golf and Ripley’s Davy Crockett Mini-Golf. Either way, it’s 36 holes of fun for every visitor.

Image Source: Scott Akerman

Guinness World Records Museum

You’ve probably read at least one installment of the Guinness Book of World Records, but now you can see the book come to life. At the Guinness World Records Museum, you’ll find memorabilia from legendary celebrities along with incredible record breakers.

Other strange Gatlinburg attractions

Ripley’s Believe It or Not! isn’t the only strange resident of Gatlinburg. There are plenty of other weird spots to discover.

Ghostwalk of Gatlinburg

If you’re feeling brave, then test yourself with the original ghost tour of Gatlinburg. The Ghostwalk of Gatlinburg is an hour-long, one-mile tour of the most historic and “haunted” places in the area. The tour is lead by a storyteller dressed in period clothes, and each group carries an EMF detector to track any paranormal activity that might occur. While they would never guarantee that you’ll spot a spook, you are guaranteed to be chilled with stories of murder and chaos in Gatlinburg’s past.

Image Source: Valerie Everett

Salt & Pepper Shaker Museum

Take a break from the scary sites and immerse yourself in the just plain weird. The Salt and Pepper Shaker Museum is guaranteed to spark the imagination of adults and children who visit. Wander among the shelves overflowing with over 20,000 sets of saltshakers and pepper mills. This collection of tens of thousands began as a humble hobby of Andrea and her husband Rolf, daughter Andrea, and son Alex. Today, it surprises visitors from all over the world with the wonderful simplicity of everyday objects.

Fireflies of the Great Smoky Mountains

For two weeks between May and June, areas in the Great Smoky Mountains are transformed into a spectacular light show. The light show is put on by thousands of fireflies, or lightning bugs. What makes these fireflies particularly special is their ability to flash synchronously. At times, you will see all the fireflies light up in unison, and other times the flash occurs like a wave motion across a hillside. The mating season is the cause of the commotion, and the Great Smoky Mountain firefly show typically lasts for two weeks every year.

Image Source: Matt MacGillivray

You can clearly see that whether you want a good scare, a mind-blowing sight, or just a good story to bring back home with you, Gatlinburg packs enough strangeness in the city limits for everyone to enjoy.

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