Founded as the Union Gospel Tabernacle by steamboat captain Thomas Ryman after an angel got trapped in his smokestack, the Ryman Auditorium has since become a different kind of hallowed ground, lovingly referred to as the "mother church of country music." The Grand Ole Opry and The Johnny Cash Show have both taken residence among its wooden pews, and the twanged voices of country legends such as Hank Williams and Patsy Cline have reverberated off the stenciled artwork on the face of the balcony. Today, the venue plays host to a variety of acts, from rock concerts to television specials to comedy shows.
Ocoee Adventure Center charts a course for exploration with safe and exciting white-water excursions down the flowing water tresses of the vibrant Ocoee River. Choose to spend nearly 3.5 hours traveling through one of two sections of river: the Upper Ocoee River or the Middle Ocoee River, on one of the available rafting dates. The Middle Ocoee contains 26 adventure-packed rapids over a five-mile stretch of dam-controlled river. The Upper Ocoee section began displaying its thoroughbred prowess while hosting the 1996 Olympic white-water competition, splashing the world's best athletes with splashes of raw adrenaline. Once on the aqueous road, professional guides commandeer the self-bailing rafts, steering through frothy spumes of continuous class III and IV rapids. The Center provides all of the necessary white-water equipment, including Coast Guard–approved personal flotation devices, paddles, and helmets, along with transportation to the launching site, pretrip orientation, and a gearing-up session.
Hot Spot Tanning combines state-of-the-art sunless-bronzing technology with friendly, committed service. Marinade your melanin with a month of unlimited tanning in one of Hot Spot's standard bulb-based beds, which boast a bevy of advanced amenities, including built-in timers, optional air conditioning, and inspirational photos of the world's sexiest gingerbread men (a $41.99 value). Or, achieve the perfect sun-un-kissed glow thanks to the ray-less power of two airbrush tans, applied by a trained tantress to deliver a UV-free dose of customized color (each a $27.99 value).
Thousands of dragons glitter and glimmer within the Dragon Dreams Museum. So many, in fact, that the museum owner is working on her entry in the Guinness Word Records book for—you guessed it—the biggest collection of dragons on earth. One-of-a-kind antiques and handcrafted figurines made from silver, jade, and ivory highlight the expansive collection. The on-site gift shop can help you start your own collection as well as purchase other items such as jewelry, magnets, ornaments, and posters.
Merging Of The Arts' instructor Autumn Bethea teaches kids and grownups how to express themselves in freeform acrylics classes that yield surreal, abstract, and naturalistic masterpieces. Bethea spends each modern-acrylics class imparting wisdom on rudimentary yet essential painting skills, such as color, composition, proportion, and texture, while students brushstroke from a common reference point. After tapping into their own vision and heeding Autumn's advice, pupils wield fast-drying and multifaceted acrylics to whip up a masterpiece and cart it home or sell it to the Louvre on the very same day. Adults can paint and sip their favorite libation on Thursday from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. or during the more coffee-centric timeslot of Tuesday from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., whereas children come to express themselves on Saturday from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.
While working on inventive lagers and ales as members of the Barley Mob Brewers home-brewing club, Chris Hunt and Duncan Guy had an epiphany: we need to share this stuff with the public. So, in 2006, they teamed up with award-winning brewer Courtney Tyvand to start Moccasin Bend Brewing Company.
Today, they brew about 10 beers at any given time. Their menu could include an Irish red prepped with American hops and a pale ale made with juniper berries one day, or their signature smoked porter the next. No matter what the beer, creativity remains integral to the production process, and the brewers often add culinary twists such as watermelon or coconut juice to surprise palates that are used to tasting only cotton balls. All the magic happens inside a 100-year-old building, where rustic granite walls and cedar timbers set the backdrop for brewery tours and beer tastings.
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