Regional Update: North America
Gatlinburg Ripley’s Museum Reopens After Transformation
Ripley’s Believe It or Not! Odditorium museum in Gatlinburg, Tennessee, reopened with a 3,000-square-foot addition and more than 500 new artifacts. A Ripley’s spokesperson says the museum wasn’t just expanded, but was “gutted inside and out” and started over. In addition to the new interactive exhibits, the exterior received a transformation, with the front of the museum and the marquee featuring an entirely hand-
painted landscape inspired by the Great Smoky Mountains, where the Odditorium is located. The refreshed museum is one of eight Ripley Entertainment attractions in Gatlinburg, including the Aquarium of the Smokies.
iFly Soars with Virtual Reality Flights
iFly Indoor Skydiving, where guests of all ages and abilities have floated above a column of air in vertical wind tunnels, now offers a virtual reality (VR) experience. Children and kids at heart can experience the mythical world of Berk from the DreamWorks Animation movie “How to Train Your Dragon,” using a VR headset while inside the wind tunnel. Flyers can choose to be one of two characters from the animated motion picture, Hiccup or Astrid, and fly in VR alongside the movie’s Night Fury dragon, Toothless.
iFly instructors physically guide flyers through the turns and descents in the VR experience while they are in the wind tunnel. The movie features a tale about growing up and finding the courage to face the unknown. Kids ages 6 to 12 can engage in only one “How to Train Your Dragon” VR flight per day. Flight packages including two training flights
and one VR flight wearing the headset start at $86.95, with prices varying by location. The “How to Train Your Dragon” iFly experience is available only at participating iFly locations in the United States.
After opening its first vertical wind tunnel in 1998, iFly now operates more than 70 locations worldwide in numerous countries, including the United States, Brazil, France, New Zealand, Australia, and Great Britain.