The Great Smoky Mountains offer beauty, nature, cabins with ridiculous views, hiking, food, fun and the weird, strange, challenging and odd. What? Yes, that’s Ripley’s Believe It or Not!
Gatlinburg’s Ripley’s Believe It or Not! has eight fun, and sometimes heart-stopping, and super weird adventures. Ripley’s history began more than a hundred years ago with a cartoon drawn by LeRoy Robert Ripley. Ripley began to travel and started publishing yearly books in 1929. His first “Odditorium” opened at the World’s Fair in Chicago in 1933. He also hosted a television show to show the world his affection for things beyond belief in the world in which we all live.
Today, the Gatlinburg attractions include an Odditorium – a place where people can marvel at artifacts Ripley collected, as well as people – or replicas and videos of people – with amazing and unbelievable talents. There’s a haunted house like no other, along with an amazing aquarium filled with unique and fascinating animals. Two themed mini-golf adventures are part of the Ripley’s Gatlinburg family of fun and bizarre.
Ripley’s Gatlinburg attractions are 0pen 365 days a year (mini-golf courses are open weather permitting). American Patriot Getaways offers discount tickets for our guests to all the Ripley’s attractions!
“The weirdest place in Gatlinburg” is truly a something to behold. “Get up close to a car completely covered in crystals. See a dragon made out of recycled scrap metal. Check out the National Anthem on license plates from the 50 states. See The Last Supper artwork made out of lint!”
Check out an albino giraffe, shrunken heads, the Mexican vampire woman and a 19th century vampire killing kit. There are 16 themed galleries and 500 exhibits and artifacts on three floors.
The 12,500 square foot Odditorium is filled with the unique, bizarre and the odd from Ripley’s travels – a true reflection of what he said, “ I have traveled 201 countries … and the strangest thing I’ve seen is man.”
Find the Odditorium at 800 Parkway in Gatlinburg at Traffic Light 8.
Born in Santa Rosa, California, Ripley had a curiosity for the “weird and wonderful” from a young age. He would make illustrations of the things he saw. He moved to New York and drew sports cartoons for the New York Globe, according to the Ripley’s Web site.
As the story goes, Ripley found himself without a new sports story one winter day so he “compiled the most interesting and unbelievable sports feats he had come across in all his years. On December 19, 1918, the first Believe It or Not! cartoon—and the beginnings of Ripley’s entertainments empire—were born.”
Here are more of Gatlinburg Ripley’s attractions:
Aquarium of the Smokies
There are so many adventures at the 85,000 square foot Aquarium of the Smokies, we’re going to have to write an entire blog about it.
There are sharks, eels, weedy spinefish, green sea turtles many other creatures in the ocean realm of the aquarium. Piranhas and poisonous dart frogs inhabit the Tropical Rain Forest.
You can Spash with the Rays, Sleep with the Sharks and interact with Penguins on a trip. Check out the penguin cam to get a look at the family you could meet.
You can touch a jellyfish too!
Check out all the adventures available of the Aquarium of the Smokies here.
Events at the Aquarium
Coming up at the Aquarium, there’s a party on May 5 – Cinco de Mayo!
A ticket includes: Aquarium admission, dinner buffet, dessert, soft drinks, and a souvenir photo. There’s also a cash bar. Purchase tickets on or before May 1 online or in person. Advanced reservations are required.
By the way, Cinco de Mayo commemorates the Mexican army’s unlikely victory over the French forces of Napoleon III on May 5, 1862, at the Battle of Puebla.
The aquarium also has sensory-friendly nights for a quieter experience – perfect for those families of children who experience autism or other sensory processing disorders.
Families receive $3.00 off admission – just mention “Sensory Nights” at the admission windows to receive the discount. Dates: Aug. 7th, Sept. 18th, Oct. 16th, Nov. 20th & Dec. 18th, 2019.
Aquarium parking is located at 88 River Road, Traffic Light #5, directly behind the aquarium. This is city-owned parking for $6 a day. Note: CASH ONLY
Stay all day and take the Gatlinburg Trolley to all the attractions from this parking.
5D Moving Movie Theater
This is interactive movie theater is something to experience! As Ripley’s says “It’s going to be a bumpy ride.”
The state-of-the-art theater has digital effects and motion seats that will have you feeling like you’re in the movie! The theater boasts 6-channel digital surround sound.
Located at 908 Parkway, Traffic Light 8.
Ripley’s Haunted Adventure takes haunted houses to the next level with live actors lurking behind every corner of this creepy renovated mansion. Creatures get extremely close and personal at times! It’s freaky!
“The undead have a way of making memories with ‘house guests’, so be sure to hold on tight to the nearest human,” visitors are advised.
In the Haunted Adventure, visitors navigate dark corridors and themed rooms in small, linked groups, as you make your way through the haunted house
An added adventure at the Haunted House is Laserstrike – use laser weapons to suspend zombies and monsters that you encounter. It’s a “video game come to life!”
Those older than 6 years old are welcome on the Gatlinburg Haunted Adventure.
Located at 908 Parkway.
Marvelous Mirror Maze
You’ll come face-to-face with yourself over and over again in the Marvelous Mirror Maze. Attempt to find your way out of the labyrinth of mirrors and LED lights. There’s only one way out but it’s easy to get confused. Don’t worry, Ripley’s sends search parties every half hour.
This adventure makes some a bit queasy and off balance – but it’s a fun queasy!
Just next door is Ripley’s Candy Factory – yum! Hundreds of your favorite candies, from old-time classics to the latest treats.
Located at 623 Parkway.
Guinness World Record Adventure
I used to buy the Guinness Book of World Records every year when I was in elementary school – fascinated by the tallest man on record or the hairiest woman! The book comes to life at the Guinness World Records Adventure!
A completely interactive and kid-friendly adventure. There are unbelievable exhibits, authentic memorabilia, incredible displays, games galore, trivia, themed galleries and videos.
There are more than 20 Interactive games and challenges including: Block Breaker, Quick Draw, Lumberjack Tree Hack, Frisbee Toss and much more.
Hop on the real-life Ms. Packman game, as well as play the traditional video game. There’s a hula hoop area – can you beat the record? Soccer kicks. You can stand beside the world’s tallest man replica and take pictures to see how you measure up.
Test your skills or attempt to break a world record in the Interactive Challenge Gallery. Seriously, you can break a world record here.
An Illinois boy set a new record for fastest virtual game of hopscotch in July 2017 at the Gatlinburg adventure. A few days later, a girl from New York broke that record. And a Louisiana man set the record for fastest time to clear one level of Ms. Packman.
Visitors can try their hand at:
Fastest time to fill a virtual water bucket; highest score in a game of Dancethon; fastest time to type the alphabet forwards and backwards on a touchscreen mobile phone; fastest paragraph typing speed; fastest time to hit three virtual targets with a flying disc; fastest time to recall 20 names and faces; fastest virtual game of hopscotch; fastest time to clear one level of Ms. PAC-Man; fastest time to solve a virtual 3 x 3 sliding puzzle.
Located at 631 Parkway.
Themed mini-golf courses
Not one, but two Ripley’s mini-golf courses in Gatlinburg!
With the Great Smoky Mountains as the backdrop, Davy Crockett’s Mini Golf at 188 Parkway is a fun-themed course that replicates the “old days” when a Tennessee hero named Davy Crockett roamed “them thar hills.”
Old MacDonald’s Mini Golf
at 1639 Parkway
Who doesn’t know the song? We all learned it as babies.
Old MACDONALD had a farm
And on his farm he had a cow
With a moo moo here
And a moo moo there
Here a moo, there a moo
Everywhere a moo moo
Old MacDonald had a farm
Keep singing (you know you are): chickens, cats, pigs, goats, horses, turkeys …
Win free game with holes in one and have some fun, friendly competition at either mini golf adventure.
Plan Your Trip
Let’s plan your trip to the Great Smoky Mountains and all the Ripley’s adventures. Find a cabin near Gatlinburg and all the Ripley’s Believe It or Not! action, give us a call at 888-876-6509.
After spending an exciting day at Ripley’s Believe or Not! adventures, you’re going to want to have a cozy place to stay and retell the day’s stories. Book a Gatlinburg Cabin with a hot tub close to all the action so you’ll have the perfect place to unwind under the stars. Be sure to check out all our amazing featured deals.
Check out our useful vacation guides that include insider tips to help you plan the perfect Smoky Mountain vacation.