On re-created sets complete with lights and sound, Hollywood Star Cars Museum unveils a collection of iconic autos from movies and television, including many built and modified by famed four-wheeled star-maker George Barris. Law-flaunting jaywalkers freeze at the sight of the 1966 Batmobile, a $250,000 1955 Ford Lincoln Futura concept car reimagined into a crime-fighting super machine complete with a foreboding front modified to look like the black winged animal. Famous 1969 heartthrob Herbie the Love Bug also makes the scene with sidekick Little Herbie, while the famed DeLorean from Back to the Future hangs out with a futuristic motorcycle from the far-off year 2015. Meanwhile, a Corvette Grand Sport driven by Vin Diesel in the 2011 film Fast Five inspires mouth-simulated explosions and improvised catchphrases.
Visitors can explore the museum's various exhibits and the hibernating aircraft taking up residence in its 35,000-square-foot hangar. Sightseers can also feed hungry retinas with several replica aircraft and vintage cockpit displays or browse the exhibit gallery filled with memorabilia, set up along the 52 ft. Wave Wall, which includes the Tennessee Aviation Hall of Fame and General Jimmy Doolittle's Congressional Medal of Honor. Lucky folks may also hear an eight-ton World War II P-47 D Thunderbolt roar overhead during one of the many unscheduled flight demonstrations; check online for special events throughout the year.
Ripley’s has enthralled audiences for more than nine decades with its dedication to revealing odd and unexplainable rarities from around the globe. But it all began with one man: Robert Ripley, a wildly successful and eccentric character who rose to fame during the first half of the 20th century. After selling his first cartoon to Life magazine at age 14, he set out on a quick-paced career of drawing sports cartoons for the New York Globe. During a slow day at the office, he sketched nine unusual sporting events and finished his work with a title: “Believe It or Not!” It became immensely popular, allowing Ripley to travel the world in search of more bizarre stories to put into his comic strips. While visiting relatively unknown areas in locales such as India, China, and the inside of his neighbor’s chimney, he picked up a slew of unbelievable souvenirs that later became fixtures in several of Ripley’s museums, or as they’re affectionately called today, Odditoriums. Ripley’s now encompasses publications, attractions, a television show, and a blog, all of which carry Ripley’s tradition of reporting on the world’s curiosities.
In 1987?75 years after the RMS Titanic sank?John Joslyn helped lead an expedition to the bottom of the sea to photograph the wreck and bring up artifacts. Today, the gigantic museum he founded holds authentic items from the Titanic numbering in the thousands and valued at $4.5 million. Accoutrements of Edwardian life that range from cutlery to deck chairs fill meticulously accurate reproductions of the million-dollar grand staircase, the third-class sleeping rooms, and the cozy second-class space between the floorboards. Families make their way through interactive attractions at their own pace as they sit in a full-size lifeboat, walk up the grand staircase, feel exactly how cold 28-degree water is, touch an iceberg, steer the ship, and learn to send an SOS signal. The walk-through experience lasts approximately two hours.
Overlooking a mountain stream at the edge of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, the Comfort Inn in Gatlinburg features homey comforts in close proximity to Tennessee’s major attractions. The hotel is next door to outdoor excursions and only a few minutes from Dollywood. Smoke-free rooms harbor microwaves and refrigerators, as well as private balconies that face breathtaking Smoky Mountain vistas. Each morning, staff members set out a complimentary hot breakfast in the lobby with eggs, fresh fruit, and several waffle flavors.
In addition to spelunking expeditions, Greater Outdoor Adventures? guides run whitewater-rafting and hiking excursions in the Smokey Mountains area. The instructors are well trained, safety conscious, and capable of handling any diplomatic emergencies that may arise during encounters with the mole people.