Ripley’s Odditorium Gatlinburg Gets an Extreme Makeover
Ripley’s Believe It or Not Odditorium has officially reopened! After 9 months of renovations, the quirkiest attraction in Gatlinburg, TN is welcoming visitors to see all of the exciting new additions made to the museum. Featuring a fresh design and lots of new exhibits and artifacts, the revamped Odditorium is definitely a can’t-miss vacation destination, even if you’ve visited in the past. To help you make the most of your next getaway, The Appy Lodge has put together a handy guide to what’s new at Ripley’s Odditorium Gatlinburg.
One of the biggest (and most noticeable) changes to Ripley’s Odditorium is the museum’s brand new exterior. Longtime visitors to Gatlinburg may remember that the Ripley’s building used to look like it had barely survived an earthquake, featuring dramatic cracks and crevices.
Now, the Odditorium has scrapped the earthquake theme for a design that embraces the heritage of East Tennessee. The renovated museum boasts an enormous tree that appears to grow around the building. A number of Smoky Mountain critters populate the tree’s branches, including a black bear with a jug of moonshine and a fox strumming a banjo.
Before you enter the Odditorium, be sure to check out the Wishing Bell located outside. Acquired by Robert Ripley during a visit to England in 1922, the bell was displayed at his island estate in Mamaroneck, NY. If you give the bell a good ring, your wish might just come true!
Another major change to Ripley’s Odditorium Gatlinburg is the museum’s layout. Previously, the Odditorium was designed so guests would walk up a flight of stairs and work their way up through the exhibits. Now, guests start their adventure by taking an elevator ride to the top of the Odditorium and working their way back down. This change makes touring the museum feel a lot more natural.
Ripley’s Jungle Gallery
When you take the elevator to the top of the museum, the first exhibit you’ll visit is the all-new Ripley’s Jungle Gallery. Here are just some of the bizarre artifacts and interactive stations you’ll find in the jungle:
- A vending machine where you can purchase snacks made from insects
- A shrunken human torso that was once owned by Ernest Hemingway
- A video screen where you can shrink your own head
- A 200-year-old statue that appears to show The Devil or a damsel, depending on how you look at it.
More Highlights from the Odditorium
The redesigned museum is noticeably larger than its previous incarnation, and it’s easy to spend a couple hours exploring all of the wonderfully strange exhibits. While we don’t want to give away too much (since being surprised at Ripley’s is half the fun), here are a few things you can look forward to seeing at the Odditorium:
- A car that is completely covered with beautiful crystals
- The National Anthem printed on license plates from all 50 states
- A replica of Hogwarts made from 602,000 matchsticks
- A forced perspective gallery that makes kids appear larger than their parents
- The Last Supper recreated with lint
- A kaleidoscope that you can walk inside
- A portrait of Emma Watson made out of spices
Where to Stay in Gatlinburg
When you stay at The Appy Lodge, you will be just a 6-minute drive from Ripley’s Odditorium in Gatlinburg. Located right on the Parkway, our hotel is near all of the excellent attractions, restaurants, and shops on The Strip. Offering free parking, indoor and outdoor swimming pools, walk-in showers, and complimentary breakfast, The Appy Lodge has everything you need for an unforgettable vacation. To save money on your next stay with us, visit our Specials & Discounts page!