East Tennessee has become a tourist Mecca in recent years, resembling a huge Branson some 40 years ago.Bordering the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, there is much to do, meeting the recreation “wants” of just about anyone as the venues run the full gamut of family-friendly entertainment.
Today, we visited Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies. This 115,000 square foot, 1.3 million gallon aquarium in Gatlinburg, TN, has over 10,000 exotic sea creatures in 350 individual species. Our favorite feature was the 340-foot underwater tunnel with a glide path; in the words of Karyn, “… And a moving sidewalk inside the underwater tunnel was genius. No looking where you are walking. Just hop on and enjoy the ride and the scenery!” It was neat watching the sharks and rays gliding above and around you while in the tunnel. (Thanks to Karyn for photographs.)
After the aquarium visit, and a late lunch/early dinner of wings and beer, Kay and I returned to the house while Karyn, Matt, Ridge and Aker stopped by a park where they got in some “normal” play time. Back at the house, they played in the game room and swam in the pool. Oh, to be a kid again.