Friday, July 6, 2012

Christ in the Smokies

Christ in the Smokies, is located on the former Christus Gardens property, on River Road in Gatlinburg. Apparently there was such an overflow of letters and complaints that followed the closing of Christus Gardens, that Christ in the Smokies was opened. 

To begin, you are first seated on pews in a small room and watch a short video about the tour. You then walk through about 12 different scenes from the life of Christ. It's very dark inside (and wonderfully air-conditioned in July!) and you stop at each scene. It then "comes on" and talks about the scene you are viewing with bible verse and music. Then when the light goes off, you move onto the next one and it lights up and narrates the scene before you. If you are deaf or hard-of-hearing, you will not enjoy this. Jeff couldn't understand each scene. It is actually word-for-word scriptures they read for each scene. It would be nice if they had it in print on a plaque at each scene for those who can't hear it.

At the end of the tour, you end up at a greenhouse with flowers & trees and the Jesus sculpture that they are known for. It is a bit eerie how His eyes follow you across the walkway. :) We were disappointed in the tiny garden area with very few plants.

It was very quiet and nice and then bright into the sunlight.  There is then a room with displays of ancient coins and precious gems from the days of Christ & also an original page from a 1611 King James bible. You then walk though a room with pictures of Hollywood movies made about Christ. Your final walk takes you through the gift shop. It takes about 40 minutes to tour.

After the first scene, I did notice there was atleast one bench in every room for those who have problems standing for a short amount of time. There was plenty of scooter space and everything is accessible except for the New Testament Theatre which you can see into when you first enter the building. Because it was originally built about 50 years ago, the restrooms are not handicap accessible. If you are on a scooter and are able to walk a few steps, you can access the two small stalls. Those in wheelchairs will have no is a very small bathroom. It could be renovated to make a handicap stall, but it was originally built before ADA laws.

You are not allowed to take pictures in the museum at all. You are allowed to take pictures in the garden. We thought there would be more to it, and perhaps it was just a tad overpriced for what you got. (Tickets are $12.00 for adults, $6.00 for children). We also thought there would be more gardens (since it is advertised as a museum and gardens), but it is just pretty much the one little greenhouse part. Reviews online range all over the place, but after seeing for ourselves, we would have to say it was nice overall (even if a tad overpriced and smells a bit musty in have to remember it is over 50 years old.) If you have allergies to dust and mold, this is NOT the place to visit. I suspect it has to do with the age of the place and the fact that it sits on the Little Pigeon River.

They do have complimentary parking for museum patrons OR they also have $5 parking all day for non-guests which might be nice to remember if you're visiting Gatlinburg. One note we have to make is that the staff was very friendly.

1 comment:

Linda J. said...

Thanks for the review. I've often wondered about this place.