This was our second visit to a Ripley’s Aquarium, this one was in Gatlinburg and worth the $25 just to go through the glass tunnels.
December 1, 2013: Gatlinburg, Tennessee, well is Gatlinburg, Tennessee. Every parent’s vacation nightmare. The amount of money that could be dropped in this area on a vacation is unthinkable. My problem is that I would rather take the kids through Cades Cove and not to Ripley’s Believe It or Not. I’m sure though, they would rather see the world’s longest earthworm instead of some old log buildings and the off-chance of spotting a bear.
Fifteen years ago Gatlinburg was big and busy. Our visit welcomed a larger, cleaner Gatlinburg, disturbingly but enjoyably quiet. Being the weekend after Thanksgiving, the town and surroundings were peaceful and empty. This is something I would never believe I would say about this tourist’s paradise. I have been here when you could not find a place to park and walking on the sidewalk was akin to being in a pinball machine.
Ripley’s has expanded, 5 Guys is there now. And of course the numerous overpriced gift shops. These gift shops do not have the quaint feel that is received from a little mom and pop place that you find in an obscure out-of-the-way destination. There was a small arts and crafts show going on. And it was quiet.
I could not talk Jennifer into taking the Aerial Tramway up to Ober Gatlinburg, so we drove up. I have never seen this ski area before. Fortunately they had just opened 2 days earlier and was the earliest they had ever opened. They had 14” of artificial snow. There is a little mall inside and a skating rink. They also have an Alpine Slide they use in the summer, a water slide and few smaller amusements. Kind of disappointing for $5 we paid to park, but growing up skiing, it brought back some very old memories.
Definitely wanting to go back to the Smokies, but Gatlinburg is just not my thing.