8 May 2023
It's easy to walk through downtown Gatlinburg and shy away from the bright lights and oddities the Ripley's family of attractions touts. Are they really as interesting as they claim to be, or are they just a money-making gimmick? After a recent excursion with my children to several Ripley's properties, I can now confidently answer that question as an informed and experienced parent: Ripley's attractions are a total blast! This is something you should add to your Gatlinburg itinerary.
My children have begged to visit varous Ripley's hot spots, and I turned them down for far too long. I'm so glad I finally gave in, because the day of fun we had will forever be etched in our minds as a lifelong family memory. Ripley's truly has something for everybody, and their creative team members are obviously experts in creating interesting, engaging, and interactive exhibits that entertain both young and old.
Below I'm highlighting the various Ripley's attractions available in Gatlinburg. You might not be able to hit all of them in one trip, but plan to visit at least one or two each time you visit. These quirky spots will quickly become family favorites, guaranteed! Keep in mind that their ticket prices go down the more attractions you visit, so it's fiscally wise to tackle at least a couple at a time.
THE O.G.: Ripley's Believe It Or Not!
800 Parkway, Gatlinburg, TN 37738 | Hours: 9am-10pm daily (subject to change; check before you visit)
Experience the unbelievable firsthand at Ripley’s Believe It or Not! in Gatlinburg, TN, where hundreds of unusual artifacts and hands-on interactives bring the impossible to life right before your very eyes. Visitors of all ages can immerse themselves in the world of oddities, incredible art, pop-culture memorabilia, interactive games, and unbelievable stories of people and places that are undeniably true yet incredibly hard to believe. Robert Ripley's fascinating collection of the unusual and intriguing invites you to be amazed, astounded, and most importantly, entertained! Be face-to-face with a genuine shrunken head, encounter extraordinary individuals, and marvel at animal oddities that will make you do a double-take. The three-story Odditorium is the perfect location for an out-of-the-ordinary family adventure! With hundreds of artifacts spanning over a dozen themed galleries on subjects like history, pop culture, art, and travel, curious minds of all ages will be spinning with excitement!
FIERCE COMPETITION: Ripley's Super Fun Zone!
542 Parkway, Gatlinburg, TN 37738 | Hours: 12pm-8pm daily (subject to change; check before you visit)
Come to Ripley's Super Fun Zone! and discover an endlessly exciting world that's perfect for the whole family! Challenge yourself to games of sport, skill, speed, and above all, fun. Gather your group and invite them to test their abilities with some friendly competition. People of all ages, novice or experienced, are welcome to participate in laser tag arenas, indoor mini-golf course, and more at Ripley's Super Fun Zone, where retro-themed excitement for the entire family is available under one roof! Don't forget to check out their amazing retail store, which will take you back in time. You can find souvenirs of your favorite pop culture icons, rock a tee of an '80s band or video game, and reminisce with retro framed posters.
A SPOOKY SPOT: Ripley's Haunted Adventure
908 Parkway, Gatlinburg, TN 37738 | Hours: Su-Th, 12pm-8pm; F-Sa 11-10pm (subject to change; check before you visit)
At Ripley’s Haunted Adventure, Halloween never truly ends! Keep the spooky spirit alive and experience bone-chilling terror all year round by entering into the unknown where terror lurks around every corner, even in the most unexpected places. With live actors ready to keep you on your toes, you'll step into a haunted house like no other. Join a tour of this thrilling haunted house filled with suspense and surprises that will make you jump out of your shoes in terror. Can you make it through without screaming? Please note that due to the scary nature of the Haunted Adventure, this attraction is not suitable for small children. Participants must be at least six years old, and children between six and eleven years old must be accompanied by an adult. As this experience uses strobe lights and fog machines, it may trigger seizures for those with photosensitive epilepsy. Pregnant individuals are also advised to avoid this attraction.
A WILD RIDE: Ripley's 5-D Moving Theater
904 Parkway, Gatlinburg, TN 37738 | Hours: 10am-10pm daily (subject to change; check before you visit)
Embark on a journey to the fifth dimension with your fellow thrill-seekers at Ripley's 5D Moving Theater! This cutting-edge motion simulator, paired with 3D effects and surround sound, will fully immerse you in the movie. Brace yourself as you navigate every twist and turn in the simulator. You have two options for movies: Glacier Race and Dino Safari 2. Glacier Race is a heart-pumping, high-speed race to the finish line, complete with stunning visuals and a pulse-pounding soundtrack. Be the driver, stay on track, and get ready for an unforgettable experience! In Dino Safari 2, you'll tour a safari park until a poacher kidnaps a baby dinosaur, triggering a high-speed chase. Will you survive the deadly dinosaur encounters and rescue the captive creature? While these thrills are sure to leave you exhilarated, there are some guidelines to keep in mind. Guests must be at least 43 inches tall to ride in the moving seats, and children under 13 must be accompanied by an adult. Although the advanced seats rarely cause motion sickness, non-moving seats are available on request. Plus, the Ripley's team is available to assist you during the ride if necessary.
UNDERWATER WONDERS: Ripley's Aquarium of the Smokies
88 River Rd., Gatlinburg, TN 37738 | Hours: M-Th, 9am-9pm; F-Su, 9am-10pm (subject to change; check before you visit)
Come and explore the wonders of the ocean like never before at Ripley's Aquarium of the Smokies. This attraction offers a range of exciting experiences, from meeting the penguins at Penguin Playhouse to touching the stingrays at Ray Bay, and even taking a ride on the Glass Bottom Boat Adventure. The Aquarium is packed with interactive exhibits for visitors of all ages, with a host of special events held throughout the year. Get up close and personal with the adorable penguins in a uniquely interactive exhibit where you can view them from above or below the water and even visit their private beach. Journey through Shark Lagoon to experience the beauty and danger of the ocean as you encounter thousands of fish of every shape and size, including some of the most fearsome and toothy sharks. This is a must-see exhibit that will give you a whole new perspective on the ocean. The whole family will have a blast at Ripley's Aquarium of the Smokies, and you'll each learn something new, guaranteed!
FAST AND FURIOUS: Ripley's Mountain Coaster
386 Parkway, Gatlinburg, TN 37738 | Hours: 10am-10pm daily (subject to change; check before you visit)
Ripley's Mountain Coaster invites you to experience the thrill of racing through the mountain air on your very own gravity-propelled cart. Enjoy the twists and turns of the scenic Smoky Mountains as you buckle up in a single or double cart and create unforgettable memories. You're in control of the speed, so feel free to embrace the daring speed and race through the thrilling turns or take it easy and wind your way downhill to enjoy the breathtaking views of Gatlinburg's Smoky Mountains. To ride this thrilling coaster, you must check in at the ticket booth to sign a waiver and get your wristband. Guests must be at least 10 years old and 54 inches tall to ride solo, while children aged 3-9 must be accompanied by a companion who is at least 16 years old and 54 inches or taller, and must be at least 38 inches tall. The weight limits per coaster cart are 375 pounds per cart on dry tracks and 330 pounds per cart on wet tracks.
SEEING DOUBLE: Ripley's Mirror Maze
623 Parkway, Gatlinburg, TN 37738 | Hours: 10am-10pm daily (subject to change; check before you visit)
Enter Ripley's Marvelous Mirror Maze and get ready for a mind-bending experience! Surrounded by endless reflections and vibrant LED lights, navigate through a labyrinth of twisted hallways and mirrored rooms. Test your skills as you attempt to find your way through this maze of miraculous mirror illusions. Adventure awaits around every corner, can you find the correct path to success?
GOING PRO: Ripley's "Davy Crockett" Mini Golf
188 Parkway, Gatlinburg, TN 37738 | Hours: 10am-10pm daily (subject to change; check before you visit)
If you're in search of some competitive family fun, head on over to Ripley's Mini-Golf and put your skills to the test! Challenge yourself on the Davy Crockett course and see if you have what it takes to be crowned King of the Wild Frontier. Take in the stunning views of the Tennessee mountains, but stay focused and watch out for interactive obstacles and hazards sprinkled throughout the two 18-hole courses. Even if you don't come out on top, this amusing course is sure to keep you laughing throughout the game.
FUN FOR ALL: Ripley's Super Fun Park (Pigeon Forge)
4061 Parkway, Pigeon Forge, TN 37863 | Hours: 10am-10pm daily, weather permitting (subject to change; check before you visit)
Ripley's Super Fun Park is the ultimate destination for a fun-filled family day! Nestled at the entrance to the Smoky Mountains, there is no shortage of exciting activities for everyone to enjoy. Whether you're a novice or an expert, the park features various go-kart tracks that cater to all ages and skill levels. Hop into a single or double kart and let the adventure begin! Feeling hot? Take a break and cool off with Blaster Boats. Get ready to dodge and blast your way through the water while enjoying a wet and wild ride. You can also test your gaming skills in our massive 10,000-square-foot arcade, packed with classic and modern games to suit all tastes. The little ones can join in on the fun with our selection of kids' rides, while you battle it out with friends and family for the ultimate gaming glory. Whether you're planning a family day out, date night, or a fun gathering, Ripley's Super Fun Park guarantees a day of excitement and entertainment for everyone.
At the end of a long day at Ripley's, you need a place to hang your hat, kick your feet up, and relax. There's no better option for your vacation lodging needs than the properties we provide at Mountain Laurel Chalets. With Gatlinburg cabin rentals of all sizes designed to meet budget requirements large to small, we have just the home to suit your needs. Check out our portfolio of homes and plan your visit to Gatlinburg TN today!