Monday, July 20, 2009

Ripley's Aquarium of the Smokies, Gatlinburg, TN

The Aquarium is located at Traffic Light #5 in Gatlinburg, Tennessee. Ripley's Aquarium of the Smokies is teaming with life - 10,000 exotic sea creatures comprise more than 350 individual species. It definitely is worth the visit and handicap-accessible. The entire aquarium inside has no steps...everything is ramp. No tight elevators for those of us with "big-booty" scooters either. So going through the aquarium is a breeze. Exiting, however....well, we'll get that. :)


The gigantic "fossils" are the first thing you notice when going into the aquarium and there are several throughout the aquarium:

RAIN FOREST: The first area you enter. Freshwater Stingrays, Cardinal Tetras, Four-eyed Fish, Oscars, Poison Dart Frogs, Zebra Cichlids, Armored Catfish, Arapaimas, Piranhas, Green Iguanas and Mudskippers:

This guy was HUGE! He was about 5 ft long at least!!

Hehe, I thought this was humorous.

"What are you looking at??"

CORAL REEF: In this area you will see hundreds of the world's most colorful fish: blues, pinks, yellows, oranges, literally every color of the rainbow. These species are from the waters of the Indo-Pacific and include parrots, damsels, angels and butterflies, fish whose very names are almost as exotic and colorful as they are.

SHARK LAGOON: Filled with thousands of fish of every shape and size, this is the largest and most popular exhibit. Leisurely travel on a moving 340-foot long glidepath, as you wind your way through the acrylic tunnel and come face to face with snappers, tarpons, grunts, squirrelfish, a green sea turtle, giant stingrays, sawfish and...very large SHARKS!

DISCOVER CENTER: Filled with fun interactive displays, the Discovery Center invites you to learn by participation. You can solve puzzles, test your knowledge against the experts and your friends, and even touch live horseshoe crabs - one of the strangest creatures in the aquarium.

GALLERY OF THE SEAS: Sometimes certain species and environments are so spectacular they look like works of art, almost too beautiful or strange to believe that they are natural and not man made. Octopus, seahorses, corals and jellies, animals with bright colors, strange shapes and fascinating movements, are just some of the sea's living jewels highlighted in the underwater art gallery. favorites....

STINGRAY BAY: Gliding through the water like majestic birds in the air, the rays on display in Stingray Bay, are gentle, affectionate creatures. In the wild, stingrays spend most of their lives buried in the sand out of the view of predators and divers. At the aquarium they seem to relish the spotlight.

See Atlantic Stingrays, Southern Stingrays, Cownose Rays, Spotted Eagle Rays, Bonnethead Sharks, Leopard Sharks, Epaulette Sharks, Arabian Sharks, Brownbanded Sharks and White-Spotted Sharks.
Looks like even the aqarium has a sense of humor!

"The sea is the vast reservoir of Nature. The globe began with sea, so to speak; and who knows if it will not end with it?"
And then there is the exit. In order to leave the aquarium, you are required to exit through Cargo Hold Gift Shop. Nice. Especially if you have children...hehehe. If you happen to own a smaller scooter like Jeff's, you will have no problem. If you happen to own a "big booty" scooter, like myself, then you will have problems. I had to back up and down several aisles before I finally moved a shelf (literally) to get out. And yes, I almost backed over a few children in the process who were "loose" in the gift shop.
The only real problem with scootering through the aquarium was the PEOPLE. The children were fine, they are curious and excited at every exhibit. The parents are horrible. They practically climb over you and in front of you to see into everything...and just about use your head to steady their cameras! Yes, the adults!
"Are you taking MORE pictures??"

"OK, 1 picture...but thats it!!"
"Hey booty!! Wait for me!!!!"

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Craftmen's Fair, Gatlinburg, TN

So it all started with the Craftmen's Fair in Gatlinburg. Every year when we were visiting TN, I would see signs for the Craftmen's Fair. And oh how I wanted to go! But I knew I could never do all that walking. And then...the scooters came along! So of course, first trip out has to be about crafts. ;)

No problem scootering at the convention center. Even MY scooter fit in the elevator! I would have loved to taken some general photos, but they had signs everywhere saying "NO PHOTOS". Bummer. Well, can't blame them. I'm sure some people would copy the art they saw.
See how happy Jeff was to go?

Gatlinburg is known for all its little wedding chapels.

A newly added waterfall.

Creeks everywhere with little waterfalls!

I know flamingos are tacky, but I still love them.

Newer shop...All sauced up! Yep, nothing but sauces of all kinds! More sugar and miniature golf!
Lunch at the Brass Grill (formerly known as the Brass Lantern).

Main street of Gatlinburg.
Scooter break-time.
"What?? It's a drive-up bank!!"

Space Needle.

Space Needle at night.
The atmosphere at night is like a carnival. And it smells like one too! Pure sugar! We were all worried about would our scooter batteries last. Ha. What a joke. We scootered 8-10 hours each day and I think I lost 1 green bar and he lost a smidget on his dial. If you want to scooter your heart out, this is the place to go. But beware of the people. Yep, Jeff almost had several people step back without looking and almost end up in his lap. People are the same everywhere. :)