Travel and outdoors product reviews and trips


Fun Travels Across the United States

TENNESSEE 

News
Adamsville
Baxter
Bristol
Chattanooga
Clarksville
Cookeville
Gaitlinburg
Knoxville
Loudon County
Lynchburg
Memphis
Nashville
Old Hickory
Pigeon Forge
Sevierville
Townsend
Winchester

NEWS (Cities & towns follow after the News)

During October 2018, the Tennessee Aquarium Embraces Nature’s Weird, Wild, Wonderful Side

Knoxville To Host 2019 Bassmaster Classic On The Tennessee River

EarthCam Launches Live Webcam Views of Great Smoky Mountains in Tennessee

Tennessee Has Lots New In 2018

Conquering the Con: How Seniors Can Avoid Being Swindled and Scammed

The Birthplace of Country Music Celebrates the 90th Anniversary of the 1927 Bristol Sessions

The O.J. Bronco Displayed at Alcatraz East- 22 Years Later -- New Pigeon Forge attraction offers a rare glimpse at the vehicle O.J. Simpson made famous in June 1994

The Ugly Truth of Wildlife Poaching: Alcatraz East Temporary Exhibit Opening Soon --- New Pigeon Forge attraction will host a special temporary exhibit on the wildlife trafficking trade

Tennessee Aquarium Gives Guests Some Adorable Reasons to Look Up -- Opening of Lemur Forest Taps Vertical Space, Tells An Important Conservation Story

Here's What's New in Tennessee for 2018:

Tourism in Tennessee continues to expand with new attractions, impressive state-of-the-art developments and milestone anniversary celebrations of iconic attractions that help shape “The Soundtrack of America. Made in Tennessee.” 2018 marks several milestones in Tennessee, including honoring the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. at the National Civil Rights Museum on the 50th anniversary of his death as his dream lives on in Memphis, the opening of the new Tennessee State Museum in Nashville, Tennessee Theatre’s 90th Anniversary in Knoxville and the opening of Anakeesta Adventure Park in Gatlinburg. Embrace the history while creating memories at new attractions. Here’s what’s new in 2018 for Tennessee.

STATEWIDE

BIG SOUTH FORK NATIONAL PARK AREA

Laurel Fork Rustic Retreat

Big South Fork welcomed two new cabins, Shady Haven and Arabian Nights, added to the 10 vacation homes/cabins already featured in the nature area in Jamestown and Oneida, Tenn.

DANDRIDGE

Public Dock Added on Douglas Lake

The Lakeside of the Smokies has added a public dock on Douglas Lake, the perfect place to launch boats, jet skis, kayaks or paddle boards.

ELIZABETHTON

Off the Grid Mountain Adventures

Aerial adventure park with a 3,000-foot-long zip line, Hagglund rides, a sky tower for repelling and jumping, as well as a giant swing that can reach 50 mph.

FINGER

122ND Anniversary Annual Finger Barbecue & Picnic

This festival features bluegrass music and a whole hog barbecue with sides and desserts each October.

FRANKLIN

Masters & Makers Trail

The trail winds through the scenic beauty of the Williamson County countryside where travelers can visit with the crafters of wine, beer and spirits.

SOAR Adventure Tower

Soar Adventure Mini Golf is the latest addition to the complex, adding 18 holes of putting fun with a nod to its musical surroundings with each hole in the shape of a musical instrument.

GALLATIN

Worthington Galleries

Worthington Galleries is packed floor to ceiling with ancient coins and prehistoric pottery to contemporary works of art and everything else in between.

Umbra Coffee Shop

Customers pick from a full espresso bar menu, loose leaf teas and chai lattes, and iced cold-brew coffees.

HAMPTON

Trophy Water Guide Service & Fly Shop

The new business has embraced Watauga River's trophy trout designation by offering guided fly fishing trips, float and wade trips, as well as a fly fishing and light spin tackle fly shop.

JACKSON

Casey Jones Village "The Farm"

The "hands on" authentic Southern food experience features a very large vegetable garden, a Saturday morning farmers market, as well as a century-old barn and cotton gin building.

JOHNSON CITY

Tannery Knobs Bike Park

With trails rated from beginner to advanced, pump tracks and specific skill-building areas, Tannery Knobs will soon be East Tennessee’s premier mountain bike skills park.

ETSU Football

East Tennessee State University will welcome football fans this season in its brand new $33 million on-campus stadium.

JONESBOROUGH

1906 Train Depot

The train depot, saved from demolition and moved piece by piece from the tiny community of Chuckey, has been restored as a museum honoring the area’s railroad history.

KINGSPORT

Kingsport Selfie Trail

Grab your selfie stick, download the app and capture your photo in front of the unique spots and artsy murals like the Balloon-Loving Giraffe or Bellafini Chocolates in the Historic Downtown District.

LENOIR CITY

The Venue at Lenoir City

The 19,000-square-foot venue is the premier space for conferences, weddings, and milestone events.

LOUDON

30TH Anniversary of Tellico Village

The active lifestyle community offers natural beauty, boating, fishing, swimming and waterfront living. This year’s theme is “30 Years and Getting Stronger.”

MANCHESTER

Manchester Downtown Square

The square is undergoing a major renovation.

MONTEREY

Belle Ridge Retreat

Putnam County’s newest outdoor retreat offers more than 600 acres of outdoor opportunities boasting hiking, UTV, and horseback riding trails.

MOSSY CREEK

Mossy Creek Station Festival Park and Pavilion

Join in the fun at one of the family friendly events, including Rockn’ the Creek Summer Concert Series, Mossy Creek BBQ Battle, Old Time Saturday festival, and a Hometown Christmas Celebration.

MURFREESBORO

Steel Barrel Brewery at Hop Springs

Opening in May 2018, this agritourism destination includes a 10-acre hop field, a fermentation lab in conjunction with Middle Tennessee State University, a 2,000-seat amphitheater and Steel Barrel Brewery’s craft brewing facility and taproom.

Burgerim

Opening in 2018, the quickly growing gourmet burger fast-food concept offers customizable, mini gourmet burgers in a welcoming, stylish environment with gluten-free, vegan and vegetarian options.

Puckett’s Grocery & Restaurant

Cooking up authentic comfort food like the meat-and-three and famous slow-smoked BBQ.

Panther Creek Brews

Panther Creek Brews are small-batch, privately brewed beers that are unique and bold, with all the quality of the major league breweries, but crafted with a personal touch.

Henley

James Beard Award-winning chef RJ Cooper leads the kitchen at Henley, located inside the new Kimpton Aertson Hotel in Midtown.

Ray Stevens Cabaray

The Vegas-style venue has a piano lounge, dining, recording studio and entertainment by multi-Grammy winner, Ray Stevens.

Patsy Cline Museum

Visitors can explore the life and legend of country music's top female entertainer of all time, presented in an interactive, state-of-the-art setting.

Plaza Mariachi

The cultural experience offers a unique blend of culture, art, music, entertainment, food, services and retail in one location. It is in the style of traditional marketplace streets from old Mexico.

Madame Tussauds Nashville
Take a musical journey from past to present in this one-of-a-kind, music themed wax museum.

Woolworth on 5th

A 1930s five-and-dime that became the site of historic sit-ins, downtown Nashville’s Woolworth gets new life as a restaurant serving up soul food with a local, healthy spin.

OAK RIDGE

Crafter’s Beer Market and Social

Oak Ridge’s first Craft Beer & Market Social will have more than 24 craft beers on tap, a spacious outdoor patio, and endless activities.

8th Rowing Lane on Melton Lake

An 8th rowing lane added another reason to make it “America’s Favorite Rowing Venue.”

PELHAM

The Caverns

The new home of Bluegrass Underground opens March 2018, located at the foot of Monteagle Mountain in the rolling hills of Grundy County. Artists on the 2018 lineup include Brandi Carlile, The Sam Bush Band, Flatt Lonesome, The Turnpike Troubadours and Kathy Mattea.

POCAHONTAS

Big Hill Pond State Park

Kayaks and canoes are now for rent. The site features 28 camping sites, horseback trails, and 30 miles of hiking trails. In October 2018, BHPSP will feature the park’s first 50k/25k runs.

PORTLAND

Strawberry Manor

Country musician Ronnie McDowell has remodeled his grand home into a concert venue.

SELMER

McNairy County Courthouse Jail Experience Center

The McNairy County Courthouse Jail will become an experience center based around Sheriff Buford Pusser and his legend.

Walking Trail of Music Legends

Introduces local music legends as you make your way through historic Selmer.

SMYRNA

Smyrna Outdoor Adventure Center

Programs are geared towards bringing people inside to enjoy the activities, yet also getting them outside to experience any of the 10 parks within the Smyrna Parks system.

Sky Dive

Whether it’s an individual skydive or visitors would like to enroll in diving school, Tennessee provides the means to get a bird’s eye view of fall color as participants jump from a plane and descend to a soft landing. With expert jumpers with years of experience, guests can suit up with skydiving companies like Sky Dive Tennessee in Tullahoma; Adventure Sky Diving in Nashville; and Sky Dive King Air in Whiteville (40 miles east of Memphis).

Hiking

Travel the Short Springs State Natural Area trail as it opens to Machine Falls in Tullahoma with its endless cascading water and opportunities for great photos. The 1.6-mile trail is a loop that’ll take hikers to the falls and back. For a longer hike, folks can cross the bridge to get to the other side of the waterfall. Step carefully as the path can sometimes be slippery.

Located near Smithville, Tennessee, the hike to Carmac Falls is a bit steep to get to but the reward is ample. It’s situated on the property of Evins Mill Resort, so call ahead and reserve the day picnic/hike package that’s listed for $20. It’s a great way to spend a romantic afternoon or family outing.

Driving along the 444-mile Natchez Trace Parkway, travelers can stop off at milepost 404.7 to stretch and enjoy Jackson Falls that are beautifully sculpted as they cascade from the Duck River. A steep trail, about 900-ft. long, leads to the falls’ base.

Tennessee is the birthplace of the blues, bluegrass, country, gospel, soul, rockabilly, and rock ‘n’ roll— delivering an unparalleled experience of beauty, history, and family adventure, infused with music, that creates a vacation that is the “Soundtrack of America. Made in Tennessee.”  Tennessee’s tourism industry generates $18.4 billion in economic impact, more than $1.6 billion in state and local sales tax revenue and more than 157,400 tourism-related jobs.

Explore more at tnvacation.com and join other Tennessee travelers by following “tnvacation” on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram and YouTube.

The song “Chattanooga Choo Choo” turns 75 and will be celebrated in the Scenic City.

For details and more information, contact the Tennessee Dept. of Tourist Development, 312 Rosa L Parks Avenue 13th Floor, Nashville, TN 37243 United States

Tennessee Aquarium Announces New Facility For Conservation Institute

Take A Trip to America's Most Visited Distillery - Ole Smoky Moonshine Distillery Offers a True Moonshine Experience!

Great Smoky Mountains National Park Ranked As One of the Top Places for Wildlife Viewing

Like Fudge? Then don't miss stopping at Forbus General Store   

Tennessee Civil War Trails Map-Guide Now Available

The Tennessee Department of Tourist Development announced that the Tennessee Civil War Trails map-guides are now available, marking the upcoming 150th anniversary of the Civil War. The map-guides chart nearly 200 Civil War sites throughout the state and serve as a tool to reach and inspire users to discover Tennessee’s rich Civil War history.

Tennessee’s Civil War Trails program, part of a multi-state Civil War Trails initiative, interprets and creates driving tours of both the great campaigns and the lesser-known Civil War sites. Tennessee, second only to Virginia in Civil War sites, joins North Carolina, Maryland, Virginia and West Virginia in this important project. The entire program has been identified by the National Trust for Historic Preservation as one of the most successful and sustainable heritage tourism programs in the nation.

Visitors can request the map-guides via www.civilwartraveler.com, www.tncivilwar150.com or by calling (615) 741-2159.

Tennessee, the only entire state designated as a Civil War National Heritage area, currently has 150 newly interpreted trail markers as part of this program, with an additional 150 sites currently in the works. Each newly interpreted site encourages visitors to explore the markers along the trail at one’s own pace. In addition, Tennessee’s Civil War Trail offers many additional historical and recreational opportunities including preserved battlefields, hundreds of antique and specialty shops, taverns and restaurants, and much more.

The five-state Civil War Trails program creates a cross promotion marketing effort that places 2.5 million map-guides in the hands of travelers. The entire program identifies more than 1,000 places that tell the stories of civilians and soldiers during the Civil War in Tennessee, Virginia, West Virginia, Maryland and North Carolina.

ADAMSVILLE

30th Annual Sheriff Buford Pusser Festival

This festival May 26-28, 2018 includes visits to “Walking Tall” Sheriff Buford Pusser’s Home and Museum, the new McNairy County Courthouse Jail Experience Center, a bus tour and lunch with daughter Dwana Pusser Garrison.

BAXTER

Window Cliffs

The new state natural area adjacent to Burgess Falls State Park, Window Cliffs is a 275-acre escape.

BRISTOL

What to See & Do

Steele Creek Splash Pad

This safe “zero-depth” water play area is filled with interactive features such as sprinklers, ground nozzles and dumping water buckets.

The Nature Center at Steele Creek

The $1.5 million upgrade at this 2,600-square foot facility includes new exhibits like an island of aquariums and forest displays, giving visitors a new way to see the vast biodiversity.

Bass Pro Shops

Bass Pro Shops, America’s most popular outdoor store, has reached a binding agreement to be a part of the new Pinnacle mixed use development located at the northeast quadrant of the Exit 74 intersection of Interstate 81 and Highway 11 W in Bristol, Tennessee. This new Bass Pro Shops® mega outdoors store will serve the Tri-Cities area and greater region of Bristol VA/TN, Kingsport and Johnson City, TN with over 3 million people in a 100-mile radius.

Bass Pro Shops’ unique, award-winning, mega-sized outdoor stores are known for combining retail with entertainment, conservation and outdoor education.
More than just a fishing and hunting store, the new over 100,000 square foot Bass Pro Shops will also offer equipment and clothing for hiking, backpacking, wildlife viewing, camping, outdoor cooking and more. A gift and nature center will also serve up a wide variety of outdoor-related items from lamps and dishes to bird feeders and furniture.

The expansive boat showroom will feature Tracker, Nitro, SunTracker, Tahoe, Grizzly and Mako boats built by Tracker Marine Group, the world’s largest manufacturer of fishing boats.

About Bass Pro Shops®:
Bass Pro Shops® operates 58 retail stores in 26 states and Canada visited by over 112 million people annually. Bass Pro Shops® also conducts an international catalog and internet retailing operation—the American Rod & Gun® wholesale division--which sells to more than 7,000 independently owned retail stores worldwide. Outdoor World® Incentives also sells Bass Pro Shops® gift cards through over 132,000 retail outlets across America. The Bass Pro Shops® restaurant division has 28 locations. The company’s Tracker Marine Group® manufactures and sells Tracker®, Nitro®, SunTracker®, Tahoe®, Grizzly® and Mako® boats through Bass Pro Shops® retail stores and over 400 dealers worldwide. The Resort Group includes Big Cedar Lodge® and other resort properties including restaurants and golf courses. For more information regarding Bass Pro Shops® store locations, products or special events, please visit www.basspro.com. To request a free catalog, call 1-800-BASS PRO. Follow on Facebook at www.facebook.com/bassproshops.

CHATTANOOGA                                                  

Chattanooga is a safe and walkable city. Park your car and navigate the Riverfront, Southside and NorthShore Districts aboard the free electric shuttle that connects the downtown hotels, attractions, restaurants and shopping venues, all within a very close proximity of each other. But downtown is just the springboard for everything else you will do in the city. Go to Chattanooga's web site to find new features making it more interactive; choose to "like" the attraction, restaurant, hotel, etc. Under each category on the summer site, you can add your own suggestions, travel tips or comments.
For more Summer fun, check out www.summer.chattanoogafun.com.

What to See & Do

Tennessee Aquarium

The mission of the Tennessee Aquarium is to connect people with nature and empower them to make informed decisions about water and wildlife. Admission is $29.95 per adult and $18.95 per child, ages 3-12. Each ticket purchased helps support Aquarium conservation programs. The IMAX® 3D Theater is next door to the Aquarium. Ticket prices are $11.95 per adult and $9.95 per child. Aquarium/IMAX combo tickets are $37.95 for adults and $26.95 for children. Advance tickets may be purchased online at www.tnaqua.org or by phone at 1-800-262-0695. The Aquarium, located on the banks of the Tennessee River in Chattanooga, is a non-profit organization. Open every day except Thanksgiving and Christmas, the Aquarium and IMAX are accessible to people with disabilities.

Location: Tennessee Aquarium, Tennessee Aquarium One Broad Street, Chattanooga, TN 37402

Tennessee Aquarium Announces New Facility For Conservation Institute

The Southeast is home to an incredible array of freshwater biodiversity. More than 660 of the 905 native fish species found in the United States live within a 500 mile circle that’s centered on Chattanooga. The rivers, lakes and streams are also home to half the freshwater turtles found in North America, and nearly all of the salamanders, mussels and crayfish found on the continent.

Unfortunately, freshwater ecosystems are the most threatened on Earth. Extinction rates of freshwater animals are two to five times higher than terrestrial or marine animals. And, as human freshwater use continues to grow, it becomes more challenging to understand, protect and restore populations of imperiled aquatic species. “The Aquarium has been educating our guests about freshwater and working on conservation projects with a variety of partners in our region for nearly 25 years,” said Charlie Arant, the Aquarium’s president and CEO. “The time has come for us to expand those efforts in order to have an even greater impact on this region for generations to come.”

A new 14,000 square foot riverfront facility will be constructed in Chattanooga to serve as the only freshwater science center in the Southeast. This biological field station will house propagation systems for reintroduction programs, three fully-equipped labs for researchers, a spacious teaching lab for rising high school and college students as well as meeting space for collaborative projects with other scientists.

Leading up to creating a centralized hub for this important work, TNACI has been hiring additional experts. Scientists with extensive backgrounds in conservation genetics, field biology, cave biology, and geographic information systems are now on staff. The team’s scope of work is expanding to include new research projects with turtles and salamanders. Dr. George plans to have eight to 10 scientists and educators moving into the new building when the doors open sometime in the late summer or fall of 2016.

The new location, on the south campus of the Baylor School, connects TNACI to the Tennessee River and opens the door for more educational opportunities for schools throughout the region. These programs will focus on high school, college and graduate students who are really dedicated to careers in environmental science. “Baylor School is immensely proud to partner with the Tennessee Aquarium,” said Scott Wilson, Baylor School Headmaster. “This opportunity represents a triumph for TNACI, Baylor, and everyone in this region who is passionate about freshwater conservation, science, and education.”

The Conservation Leadership in Action Week, or CLAW camp, has been highly successful in its first four years. Plans are in the works for expanded summer programs that go beyond a one-week crash course of conservation lessons. "I have witnessed the life-changing effects of the CLAW program on high school students,” said Tennessee Aquarium board member Franklin McCallie. “There is no substitute for learning about the critical importance of fresh water and the life it sustains than tramping in our creeks with the TNACI scientists conducting research and conservation projects. With the building of the new facility, diverse students from all schools in our region will have new opportunities like these during the summer or within the school year--and some of these students will even walk away with new career paths in mind.”

Healthy rivers and watersheds are vital to local economies, to enjoyment of the natural world and to the quality of the environment on which we all depend. Like all challenges related to public health, there are no quick and easy fixes. Dr. George and other Aquarium experts believe that expanding TNACI’s programs now will help build a healthier future for our communities and help solidify Chattanooga’s environmental reputation on a national level.

As a lead supporter, BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee recognizes the crucial role of TNACI’s work to collaborate, educate and work toward environmental prosperity. Their contribution helped begin the $4.5 million dollar expansion of TNACI’s work to examine and protect our physical environment’s resilience, health and well-being.

Consolidating scientific efforts within a state-of-the-art facility will enable the Aquarium to focus on the research and restoration of freshwater animals and their habitats throughout our region in ways never before envisioned. With continued community support, the Aquarium hopes to grow its commitment to freshwater science to $8 million over the next five years. “This is a tremendous opportunity and responsibility for us,” said Arant. “People are really concerned about the health of our waterways, and we will lead, convene and collaborate with others for the benefit of our region. Twenty years from now we’ll look back on what TNACI has achieved, both on a regional and national level, and we’ll be very proud we took this next step to protect our water.”

TNACI Facebook: www.facebook.com/TennesseeAquariumConservationInstitute
TNACI Twitter:twitter.com/tnacigogreen
  

During October 2018, the Tennessee Aquarium Embraces Nature’s Weird, Wild, Wonderful Side

Did you know that Horseshoe Crabs have blue blood, ten eyes and the ability to swim upside down by flapping their gills? Have you ever wondered what Corals eat or how Flying Squirrels manage to stay aloft? During the month of October, the Tennessee Aquarium will be the place to find answers to these and other questions about some of nature’s most eccentric oddballs and extraordinary specialists.

The month-long ODDtober celebration will offer guests plenty of opportunities to find out more about some of the Aquarium’s strangest and most fascinating residents. Every week, a pair of special daily programs will let visitors get up close with weirdly wonderful animals, many of which have unusual abilities and unexpected adaptations. These Otober programs are offered in addition to the normal slate of free Daily Animal Programs, which include staff-led presentations about species such as Ring-tailed Lemurs, American Alligators and Gentoo and Macaroni Penguins. During October, guests will get up close and personal with a new cast of special guests, including some they wouldn’t normally encounter such as brilliantly patterned Panther Chameleons, critically endangered Axolotl salamanders and a glow-in-the-dark Emperor Scorpion.

In addition to learning more about these fascinating animals, guests can also take home special collectible cards featuring facts about each program’s highlighted species. These will be offered to all guests at each program’s conclusion as well as at any time to Aquarium members entering via the members' entrance. Although October anchors October festivities at the Aquarium, the month holds even more surprises in store for guests.

Guests exploring the River Journey building can begin their tour by visiting Big Picture, an astounding assemblage of award-winning nature photography. This gallery, on display in the Lupton Room, opens Oct. 1 and will remain in place through February. The 40 images on exhibit were selected from an international submission pool of more than 6,000 entries. The winning photos capture stunning moments of natural splendor, from sun-silhouetted seahorses and profiles of curious Snow Leopards to a vividly pink Roseate Spoonbill frozen with wings curled in the elegant “orchestra position.” Access to the exhibit is included with Aquarium admission.

Every Saturday during October, visitors also can take in the unusual sight of Buzz Lightyear, Captain America, Spider-Man and other costumed favorites carving pumpkins inside the Nickajack Lake exhibit. These 11 a.m. presentations tend to be a favorite of both guests and peckish fish and turtles waiting patiently (and sometimes not so much) for an opportunity to snag stray pumpkin chunks.

The month will wrap up with the annual AquaScarium event from 4-8 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 26. This family-friendly, after-hours Halloween celebration invites guests to enjoy a bit of spooky (but not overly so) fun including trick-or-treating at candy stations in both buildings, photo ops with costumed characters and even a Monster Mash dance party to take the edge off the inevitable sugar high. Naturally, guests young and old alike are encouraged to attend in costume.

Children attending AquaScarium must be accompanied by an adult. Tickets are $8 for members, $25/$35 for guests of members (adults/children ages 3-12) and $30/$40 for non-members (adults/ages 3-12). For more information or to pre-register for the event, visit community.tnaqua.org/events/member-programs/fall/2018/aquascarium-2018

Songbirds Guitar Museum

Featuring an unparalleled collection of more than 400 rare vintage instruments. Exhibits will be refreshed periodically inviting guests back time and again to enjoy new chapters in guitar history.

Chattanooga Hop Trolley Tour

Hop aboard the Chattanooga Hop Trolley Tour, which takes visitors on a 75-minute tour and stops at 12 iconic attractions and points of interest throughout the city.

Ruby Falls Expansion

America’s deepest commercial cave and largest underground waterfall is amid a multi-year expansion including upgraded operations (lobby, ticketing, parking) and an outdoor observation area.

The MLK/Big 9 District

The historic Martin Luther King Jr. district features the Levitt AMP free concert series, music venues, restaurants, the Bessie Smith Cultural Center and public art, including the 40,000-square-foot MLK mural by world-renowned artist Meg Salignman.

Chattanooga Opened $16 Million, 3-Mile Riverpark Extension

Since opening, Chattanooga’s linear park has been recognized as one of the best in the nation. CNN Travel named the Riverpark among the “World’s 10 Best City Running Trails” and Thrillist.com named it one of “10 of America’s Coolest Urban Running Trails.”

The new expansion picks up at Riverfront Parkway near the SpringHill Suites-Cameron Harbor and extends along the river to the base of Lookout Mountain, near the International Towing and Recovery Museum (Broad Street).

Unlike the openness of the first 10 miles, which leads trekkers through wetlands and wooded stretches, the newest tract traverses a big chunk of the city’s industrial heritage. Winding through and around the borders of still-active industries, as well as a few that are closed, the new 12-foot wide stretch goes where muscle and steel long meshed to produce hard-earned prosperity.

The freshly landscaped Riverpark defines an industrial experience on one side, and on the other, vibrant green spaces and more. The expansion includes:

Riverpark Amphitheater at Blue Goose Hollow – site of  Bessie Smith’s first home and where she began singing for coins as a young girl
Chattanooga Bike Share station
Landscaped trail and green spaces
New vistas of the Tennessee River
Pavilion
Restrooms

Public art: Two large, significant pieces by internationally renowned sculptor Albert Paley and three other art pieces will be installed later this year

It’s no surprise that the popular Riverpark continues to be an economic driver for the city. Since its inception 30 years ago, total investment in the Riverpark has amounted to $150 million, mostly through federal, state and private grants. Since local leaders committed in 2012 to build this Riverpark segment, builders have invested more than $220 million in new residential units, sprouting waves of condos, apartments and new businesses.

The next phase includes a Broad-Street crossing and a short half-mile connector to the Lookout Mountain Incline Railway station. When this last short segment is finished, it also will lead to a trailhead with access to the fabulous network of trails — some 93 miles — along the flanks of Lookout Mountain’s Chickamauga and Chattanooga National Military Park lands.

The new Tennessee Riverpark App is now available for iTunes and Android. It utilizes modern technology to enhance the historic and educational interpretative opportunities along the Tennessee Riverpark. Users can experience interactive maps, videos and augmented reality. And, they’ll enjoy learning more about Chattanooga’s industrial history, the civil war and the birthplace of Bessie Smith.

For more information please contact the Chattanooga Area CVB, 2 Broad Street, Chattanooga, TN 37402 United States

Cherokee History Is New Focus in Southeast Tennessee

Local tourism professionals are working alongside scholars, citizens and history buffs in a movement that is uncovering new stories and raising awareness of Southeast Tennessee’s extremely significant Cherokee history, a part of America’s most important Native American past.

Representatives from Southeast Tennessee Tourism Association and the Convention & Visitors Bureau of the Cleveland/Bradley Chamber of Commerce are unveiling new driving trail brochures highlighting the rich Cherokee history and encouraging visitation to the area. The Bradley County brochure is titled “Your Passport to Explore Cherokee Heritage.” The SETTA brochure is “Southeast Tennessee Cherokee Native American Guide.”

A remarkable convergence of events prompted this focused attention and cooperative effort, including the opening of the Cherokee Removal Memorial Park; this year’s 30th anniversary of Red Clay State Park; the 25th anniversary of the Joint Council Reunion with the lighting of the eternal flame, and the PBS series “We Shall Remain,” which focused one entire episode on the Trail of Tears and the Cherokee experience in and around Southeast Tennessee. Portions of the film were shot at Red Clay, the last eastern capital of the Cherokee Nation.

The brochures offer more than a crash course of Cherokee history. One guide takes visitors from early Cherokee years to in-depth removal routes of some 15,000 Cherokees. The other outlines the precise location of the Cherokee Agency where passports were required to enter into Cherokee territory. This same area later became the largest emigrating depot with federal troops holding Cherokee and other tribes for departure on the Trail of Tears. Some of the highlights include Ross’s Landing in downtown Chattanooga, The Brainerd Mission Cemetery, The James Brown Cherokee Plantation, and Red Clay State Park, the last capital of the Cherokee Nation in the east. The Red Clay Council Grounds also became the center of the Cherokee Nation’s diplomatic efforts to avoid removal

SETTA created their driving trail brochure with the help of the Tennessee Department of Tourist Development, Dr. Duane King, research specialist and noted scholar of the American Indian, and a committee of regional representatives. According to Woody, the Center for Historic Preservation at MTSU is currently conducting a heritage plan for Bradley County especially focused on Charleston. Under the direction of Dr. West, the team will present the plan in August. West has said that Bradley County is an understudied area and this study should help organize sites and stories. The CVB and Charleston-Calhoun-Hiwassee Historical Society will use that plan to gain support for future project development and interpretation.

Woody recalls that many of the residents were reluctant to pass down such a tragic story through the generations. The recent national efforts to tell the Cherokee story have helped residents realize this is an important story to tell, especially during this national movement toward awareness of Native American history and culture.

Both guides are currently available at area Welcome Centers throughout Tennessee in addition to various tourism sites, museums, history centers and chamber offices. Brochures may also be found by visiting www.southeasttennessee.com; www/docs/26/native-american-trail or www.visitclevelandtn.com/downloads/passport.

Lookout Mountain

Visible from nearly any spot in Chattanooga, Lookout Mountain offers visitors the unique opportunity to explore nature and history. Located deep within the mountain is Ruby Falls, a 145-foot underground waterfall, accessed by a cave filled with stunning geological formations. Above ground, there is Rock City, a 4,100-foot-long walking trail that takes you on a journey through lush gardens and provides breathtaking views of the Chattanooga Valley. Lookout Mountain is also part of Chickamauga and Chattanooga National Military Park, which memorializes one of the most decisive battles of the Civil War.

Bluff View Art District

As the name indicates, the Bluff View Art District sits high above the Tennessee River. The neighborhood is filled with restaurants, an art gallery and an outdoor sculpture garden. It is also home to one of Chattanooga’s most popular coffee shops, Rembrandt's. Adjacent to the Art District is the Hunter Museum of American Art and the historic Walnut Street Bridge, which is now a pedestrian-only bridge connecting Chattanooga's downtown with the North Shore district.

Mysterious Creatures & Breathtaking Art Coming to Chattanooga
Tennessee Aquarium and Hunter Museum Present Jellies: Living Art

A new wave of excitement is coming to downtown Chattanooga as the Tennessee Aquarium and Hunter Museum of American Art team up to bring “Jellies: Living Art” to Chattanooga. This special exhibit showcases jellyfish, some of the most mysterious creatures on Earth, alongside breathtaking glass sculptures inspired by nature and embodies the spirit of the award-winning, highly rated gallery at the Monterey Bay Aquarium.

Visitors to the Aquarium’s Ocean Journey building will find themselves immersed in a glimmering world of animals and art. Six species of jellyfish will capture the imagination as they pulse in specially designed exhibits beside striking studio glass. The exhibit is designed to illustrate how the jellyfish and the art share common characteristics of color, pattern, movement and rhythm.

In one portion of the gallery, jellyfish displays will be paired with mirrors which will produce a visual feast for the eyes surrounding guests with an endless swarm of moon jellies. In other areas, slowly pulsing sea nettles will dance a watery ballet. Blubber jellies will strike a chord with those who imagine what it’s like to venture to another world - the ocean realm.

These delicate and mysterious creatures of the deep have intrigued people and fueled artistic expression for centuries. Guests will marvel at the way artists, like world-renowned Dale Chihuly, infuse glass with striking colors and patterns while creating works that appear to flow with a graceful motion and rhythm. Works from Chihuly’s “Macchia” series will be on display at the Aquarium along with other stunning works from artists Stephen Powell, Cork Marcheschi and Thomas Spake.

This collaborative effort promises to draw visitors to downtown Chattanooga who will be encouraged to relax and enjoy all that the pedestrian-friendly “Scenic-City” has to offer. The Tennessee Aquarium and Hunter Museum are located on the Chattanooga riverfront and linked by a short walking corridor which leads guests through an outdoor sculpture garden and across a unique glass bridge.

Visitors wishing to complete their Jellies: Living Art experience may choose to purchase discount combination tickets for the Tennessee Aquarium, Hunter Museum and IMAX 3D Theater. “Under the Sea 3D” features stunning images of several jellyfish species as well as playful sea lions, fierce-looking great white sharks and graceful leafy sea dragons.

The Hunter Museum of American Art inspires and excites imaginations through the visual arts. The Hunter Museum is located at 10 Bluff View in Chattanooga and is open every day except Christmas, Thanksgiving and New Year’s. The Hunter Museum is open until 5 p.m. and on Thursdays until 8 p.m.

For more information call the Hunter at (423) 267-0968, or visit the Web site at www.huntermuseum.org.

Civil War Trails Program

with 13 interpretive signs and maps – making it even easier to visit the area’s historic sites. www.chattanoogafun.com/civilwar. Discover seldom-seen Civil War photographs in the exhibition, “Between the States”, at the Hunter Museum of American

Free electric shuttle.

You’ll find dining, attractions, parks, festivals, live music and shopping. Park your car and visit the Tennessee Aquarium and their IMAX 3D Theater; take a lunch, dinner or sightseeing cruise aboard the Southern Belle Riverboat or Civil War or eco cruises on other boating options; stroll through the Bluff View Arts District and Hunter Museum of American Art, through the gardens at the Chattanooga Choo Choo, along the 13-mile paved Riverwalk, or over the Walnut Street Bridge; have a picnic, play in the water fountain or ride an antique carousel in Coolidge Park; take the kids to the Chattanooga Zoo and to one of the country’s top children’s museums, the Creative Discovery Museum; or check out the AT&T field for a Lookouts baseball game. You won’t want to miss the open-air Chattanooga Market each Sunday from May-Dec. where you’ll find locally grown and made goods, great food, artisans selling their works and plenty of live entertainment.

Lookout Mountain and Around Town Fun

Only a few miles from downtown, explore scenic Lookout Mountain where you’ll see seven states at Rock City Gardens; plunge deep underground to the majestic Ruby Falls; ride up and down the mountain on the nation’s steepest passenger railway, the Incline Railway or check out the nation’s largest and oldest military park, Chattanooga-Chickamauga National Military Park. Within 15 minutes from downtown, you can be riding aboard the Tennessee Valley Railroad or dropping 14 stories on the OH-Zone! freefall ride at Lake Winnepesaukah amusement park.

Extreme Adventures

Teens and anyone young at heart will find that Chattanooga’s wild rivers and ample natural resources make us a top destination for extreme adventures. Whitewater raft or kayak the Ocoee River; boulder or rock climb on the mountainous terrain; dodge paint during an intense game of paint ball or test your limits on a tandem hang gliding flight over 2,000 feet in the air off of Lookout Mountain. For adventures a little less extreme, enjoy a walk or bike ride on the downtown Riverwalk, a game of golf or rock climbing at one of our indoor facilities or Walnut Wall in Coolidge Park. No matter your passion, you’ll want to get out and play.

Where to Eat

You can’t come to Chattanooga without visiting some of the local hot spots – where the food is the attraction. Savor the local flavor in restaurants downtown that use seasonal fresh produce, breads, pastries and more produced in the Chattanooga area. There are numerous fine-dining restaurants that offer the Farm to Table practices including Table 2, Alleia, Public House. But don’t forget the tried-and-true favorites like Tennessee’s first Green-Certified restaurant, 212 Market; Blue Plate; Back Inn Café; St. John’s where Nathan Lindley has been nominated for a James Beard Award; and Hennen’s to name a few. Don’t miss out on some locally brewed beer made at Big River Grille and Brewing Works or the Terminal Brewhouse.

Sugar's Ribs

While the restaurant might close at night, the kitchen at Sugar’s is humming 24/7 as mouthwatering ribs, brisket, pulled pork and chicken are prepared fresh daily. You can have lots of fun here sampling the various barbecue sauces. The restaurant has a downtown location and one southeast of downtown on Missionary Ridge. There is live music every night at the downtown location.

Urban Stack Burger Lounge

As you savor your tasty burger at Urban Stack, you can also feel good about your carbon footprint. The restaurant is located in one of the oldest buildings in Chattanooga, the Southern Railway Baggage Building from the 1870s, which was refurbished into a LEED-certified establishment. In addition, all of the meats are all-natural, organic, grass-fed or free-range, from sustainable and humane farms.

Easy Bistro & Bar

Owner and chef Erik Niel describes his menu as “French-inspired Southern cooking.” Niel believes strongly in fresh ingredients -- be they from a nearby farm or flown in the same day from a New England fishery -- which is why new menus are printed daily. In addition to the delicious cuisine, the white-tablecloth Easy Bistro has an extensive wine list and takes great pride in its creative cocktails.

Where to Stay

The Chattanoogan

The Chattanoogan makes a big deal of its AAA Four Diamond rating -- and it should. The downtown hotel features 199 exquisite guestrooms with contemporary decor; a full-service spa; and Broad Street Grille, one of 3 on-site restaurants, where the chef posts the names of the local farms that supplied the food for that day’s menu. At sunset, guests often gather around the large fire pit in the hotel’s finely manicured courtyard.

Read House Hotel

Opened in 1926, Read House Hotel maintains its original charm while being fully updated with modern amenities. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, it is now part of Sheraton Hotels and has 241 guestrooms. Even if you don’t stay at the hotel, you should consider a meal at the restaurant, Porter's Steakhouse, or stop by the lobby to see its 2 stories of black walnut paneling, marble flooring and a detailed plaster ceiling with 2 bronze chandeliers.

Bluff View Inn

The Bluff View Inn is a collection of 3 bed-and-breakfasts: an 1889 English Tudor, a 1908 Victorian and a 1927 Colonial Revival. While each property is unique, they all offer the same level of personal service. Guests have some of the best views of the snaking Tennessee River and easy access to the surrounding Bluff View Art District, a creative haven within walking distance from downtown Chattanooga.

CLARKSVILLE

The City Forum

The City Forum, with more than 100,000 square feet of warehouse space, brings the ultimate family experience with high-speed karting, a boutique bowling lounge, and a full-service restaurant called The Loading Dock.

Frank Sutton Statue

Visit a life-size bronze statue of Clarksville native Frank Sutton, sculpted by Clarksville artist Scott Wise. Sutton is best known for his role of Sgt. Vince Carter on TV’s Gomer Pyle. He is buried in the city’s historic Greenwood Cemetery.

Pat Head Summitt Legacy Plaza

Located at Clarksville’s Freedom Point, the plaza honors this sports icon and Montgomery County native. A larger-than-life sized bronze statue of Pat Head Summitt in a classic coaching moment is the highlight.

COOKEVILLE

What to See & Do

2018 Ohio Valley Conference Outdoor Track & Field Championships

Ohio Valley Conference awarded Cookeville’s Tennessee Tech University with the championships, which will be May 10-12, 2018.

VisitCookevilleTN.com/Merchandise Launch

The Cookeville-Putnam County Convention & Visitors Bureau launched VisitCookevilleTN.com, designed to serve as the bureau’s No. 1 marketing tool.

CrossFit Mayhem 3.0 Expansion

Four-time “Fittest Man on Earth” Rich Froning unveiled CrossFit Mayhem 3.0, a fitness/sports destination. Owned by four-time “Fittest Man on Earth” Rich Froning, has expanded to offer more space for visitors and retail. The new facility is a true fitness/sports destination. In addition to incredible CrossFit workout opportunities in the home gym of “Fittest Man in History,” it has a wellness center with a chiropractor, physical therapist, massage therapists, and a nutritionist. A business lounge, education space, and retail are also included.

Red Silo Brewing Company

Red Silo Brewing Company has opened the first micro-brewery in Cookeville-Putnam County. Specializing in small batch craft brews, the new downtown destination offers tastings, tours, and partners with DelMonaco Winery as a signature stop on their popular Wine & Stein tours.

Mountain Bike Trail

is now open at Cane Creek Park. Built for all riders in mind, from novice to expert, it's a first for the area. Currently at 1.3 miles, it is built for laps and designed for expansion.

Rail WITH Trail

is now open. Walk, run, jog, bike, and explore more than four miles of outdoor pathways adjacent to the Tennessee Central Railway (LIVE RAIL). Trailheads are located at the Cookeville Depot Museum and the Algood Community Center.

GAITLINBURG

What to See & Do

Anakeesta

A 72-acre outdoor aerial adventure park with a Chondola ride, dining, shopping, racing zip line, mountain coaster, tree canopy walk, and children’s playground.

Rowdy Bear Mountain Coaster

The coaster along the hillside at traffic light No. 3 will thrill riders as they glide down the track.

Anakeesta Aerial Adventure Park

Gatlinburg’s newest family-friendly vacation destination with a more than 70-acre mountainside adventure park that include aerial trekking, zip lines, canopy walks, and scenic overlooks.

Take A Trip to America's Most Visited Distillery - Ole Smoky Moonshine Distillery Offers a True Moonshine Experience!

Located in Gatlinburg at 903 Parkway, traffic light #8 (approx. one hour from Knoxville) in the heart of the Great Smoky Mountain National Park, Ole Smoky Tennessee Moonshine Distillery offers a true Appalachian moonshine experience with free tours that include an authentic working moonshine still! Meet the distiller and makers of moonshine while learning the science of the distilling process and the history of moonshine before enjoying free samples of shine (for those 21 and older, of course!). Enjoy live bluegrass music and don’t forget to stock up on hooch at the Ole Smoky gift shop! The Ole Smoky Moonshine Distillery is open 7 days a week from 10 AM – 10 PM.

Sold in a traditional 750 ml Mason-style jar, the moonshine is a century old family recipe that shines in many varieties including Original Moonshine (100 proof), White Lightnin’™ (100 proof), Lightnin’ Line (80 proof): Strawberry Lightnin’, Lemon Drop Lightnin’ and Hunch Punch Lightnin’TM, and the 40 proof line including: Moonshine Cherries™, Peach Moonshine™, Apple Pie Moonshine™, Blackberry Moonshine™, Strawberry Moonshine™, Lemon Drop Moonshine™, Pineapple Moonshine, Watermelon Moonshine, Sweet Tea Moonshine and Charred Moonshine™, in addition to seasonal flavors and a selection of other food products.

For more info on Ole Smoky Moonshine and distillery visits, call (865) 436-6995 or go to their website www.olesmokymoonshine.com.

Great Smoky Mountains National Park Honored with Quarter Launch in Gatlinburg

The United States Mint launched the America the Beautiful Quarters® Program coin honoring Great Smoky Mountains National Park Jan. 29, 2014. Hundreds of people were in attendance at the event that took place at the Gatlinburg Convention Center, in Gatlinburg, Tenn., one of the gateway cities to the 520,000-acre park. Participants included Great Smoky Mountains National Park Acting Superintendent Pedro Ramos, and local radio co-host Jay Adams, who served as master of ceremonies. Following the event, members of the public exchanged their currency for $10 rolls of newly minted Great Smoky Mountains National Park quarters.

Great Smoky Mountains National Park is world-renowned for its diverse flora and fauna. The reverse design on the quarter shows an historic log cabin found within the park. Lush green forest and a hawk circling above are also featured. “Great Smoky Mountains, Tennessee,” “2014,” and “E Pluribus Unum” are inscribed.

The America the Beautiful Quarters Program is a multi-year initiative that honors the 56 national parks and other national sites in each state, the District of Columbia, and five U.S. territories. Started in 2010, the final coin will be produced in 2021. The quarter-dollar replica coins for sale are made of 0.999 fine silver and weigh five ounces.

The bureau is accepting orders for these products at its online catalog, www.usmint.gov/catalog, and at 1-800-USA-MINT (872-6468). Hearing- and speech-impaired customers with TTY equipment may order by calling 1-888-321-MINT (6468).

For more information on the program and the schedule of events, visit www.usmint.gov/events.

Great Smoky Mountains National Park Ranked As One of the Top Places for Wildlife Viewing

Budget Travel recently ranked Great Smoky Mountains National Park among the Top 13 best places in the United States for wildlife viewing. The forest-filled national park is cited as the best place in the U.S. to view black bears. According to the article, Great Smoky Mountains National park houses the largest protected American black bear habitat in the eastern part of the country with an estimated 1,500 bears currently living there. The best places to catch a glimpse of the furry mammals are in Cades Cove and the Cataloochee Valley.

Great Smoky Mountains National Park is more than 800 square miles of hiking trails and offers a diverse area teeming with wildlife, including elk and deer, and more than 1,600 flowering plants. The park is open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.

KNOXVILLE

What to See & Do

Knoxville To Host 2019 Bassmaster Classic On The Tennessee River

For the first time in its 49-year history, the GEICO Bassmaster Classic presented by DICK’S Sporting Goods will be held on the Tennessee River out of Knoxville, it was announced by B.A.S.S. and the host organization, Visit Knoxville.

The prestigious championship bass tournament — widely known as the “Super Bowl of Bass Fishing” — will be held March 15-17 in downtown Knoxville and on The University of Tennessee at Knoxville campus.

“Knoxville meets and exceeds all the requirements we have for the Bassmaster Classic — great fishing on the Tennessee River, first-class facilities to accommodate crowds of fishing fans, a vibrant city with plenty to see and do, and a corps of state and local tourism professionals who will ensure its success,” said B.A.S.S. CEO Bruce Akin. “Bass fishing is hugely popular in this part of the country,” he added. “In fact, 10 of our 109 Bassmaster Elite Series pros are from the Volunteer State, and most live in east Tennessee. This is going to be a very exciting Classic.”

“Hosting the 2019 Bassmaster Classic is an incredible privilege for the Visit Knoxville Sports Commission. This has been a total team effort over the past two years to land this highly respected event. We look forward to welcoming the anglers and their families, along with all of the loyal Bassmaster fans from around the country to our great city,” said Visit Knoxville Sports Commission Senior Director Chad Culver.

“Knoxville is honored to welcome the Bassmaster Classic to Knoxville in 2019. We hosted the Bassmaster Elite in 2017 [held on nearby Cherokee Lake], which was a great success. We anticipate the 2019 Classic to really showcase the partnership between B.A.S.S., our own Visit Knoxville Sports Commission, the Tennessee Department of Tourist Development, and both Knox County and the City of Knoxville. The Tennessee River is the perfect setting for this competition, and anglers and spectators alike will enjoy the beauty that surrounds our city,” said Visit Knoxville President Kim Bumpas.

The Bassmaster Classic pits 50 of the world’s best bass anglers against one another for shares of the $1 million purse, including $300,000 for the winner. Jordan Lee of Grant, Ala., a 26-year-old former college fishing champion, is the current defending Classic Champion after becoming the youngest ever — and one of only three in history — to win back-to-back titles.

Lee is guaranteed the right to defend his title. Other anglers will spend the rest of this season trying to qualify from several B.A.S.S. circuits, including the prestigious Bassmaster Elite Series.

Tournament waters include Fort Loudoun and Tellico lakes, twin reservoirs connected by a canal and comprising about 30,000 acres. Competitors can fish either lake and anywhere along the Tennessee River upstream from Fort Loudoun Dam to the Interstate 40 bridge on the Holston River and the Highway 168 bridge on the French Broad River.

B.A.S.S. Nation Championship tournaments for top-ranked amateur club fishermen were held on the Tennessee River at Knoxville in 1998 and 2000, but B.A.S.S. has never held a professional bass tournament on that section of the Tennessee River.

“Anglers can expect to catch good numbers of bass in Fort Loudoun and have the potential of catching some above-average smallmouth,” said Bart Carter, Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency (TWRA) Region 4 fisheries manager. “Largemouth will be the go-to fish for both reservoirs.”

Since 2015, TWRA has been stocking those waters with Florida-strain largemouth, which have the potential to grow much larger than the native “northern” largemouth, but the agency pointed out that it’s probably too early for those bass to reach trophy size. Still, 7-plus-pound bass are not uncommon in early spring, and a one-day tournament held on Fort Loudoun a year ago was won with a 27 1/2-pound limit of five bass, which is considered a game-changing catch in any fishery.

The Classic is a catch-and-release event, with bass being returned to the fishery under the supervision of the TWRA. The 2018 Classic saw a 99.7 percent survival rate among the bass weighed in.

Daily takeoffs will be from Volunteer Landing in downtown Knoxville each competition day, and weigh-ins will take place in the Thompson-Boling Arena on the University of Tennessee campus — a 20,000-seat facility that is fifth largest in the country.

The fan-favorite Bassmaster Classic Outdoor Expo presented by DICK’S Sporting Goods will be held Friday through Sunday, March 15-17, in the Knoxville Convention Center and the adjacent World’s Fair Exhibition Hall, which is being newly renovated this spring.

For the past decade, combined attendance at Classic venues has averaged more than 100,000 per year, and the event typically generates about $25 million in economic impact. All activities and venues are free and open to the public. For more information, visit Bassmaster.com.

About B.A.S.S.
B.A.S.S. is the worldwide authority on bass fishing and keeper of the culture of the sport, providing cutting edge content on bass fishing whenever, wherever and however bass fishing fans want to use it. Headquartered in Birmingham, Ala., the 500,000-member organization’s fully integrated media platforms include the industry’s leading magazines (Bassmaster and B.A.S.S. Times), website Bassmaster.com, television show (The Bassmasters on ESPN2), radio show (Bassmaster Radio), social media programs and events. For 50 years, B.A.S.S. has been dedicated to access, conservation and youth fishing.

The Bassmaster Tournament Trail includes the most prestigious events at each level of competition, including the Bassmaster Elite Series, Bass Pro Shops Bassmaster Open Series, Academy Sports + Outdoors B.A.S.S. Nation presented by Magellan Outdoors, Carhartt Bassmaster College Series presented by Bass Pro Shops, Mossy Oak Fishing Bassmaster High School Series presented by DICK’S Sporting Goods, Bassmaster Team Championship and the ultimate celebration of competitive fishing, the GEICO Bassmaster Classic presented by DICK’S Sporting Goods.

B.A.S.S.
3500 Blue Lake Drive
Suite 330
Birmingham, AL 35243

Knoxville Visitor Center

Run by Visit Knoxville, it's a one-stop shop for Knoxville information. Here you'll find locally-made lovely crafts in the gift section, plus the free WDVX Blue Plate Special - a daily, live, noon-time performance of Americana music.

Open Mon-Fri from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Saturday 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Sunday - Noon to 4 p.m.

30th Anniversary of Nashville Shakespeare Festival

The Nashville Shakespeare Festival celebrates 30 years. The season kicks off with Hamlet in January. The playwright’s works come to life in Centennial Park with food trucks, vendors and preshow entertainment for Shakespeare in the Park in August/September 2018.

Tiger Forest at Zoo Knoxville

A new habitat for critically endangered Malayan tigers and white-naped cranes, immerses guests in the exotic Orient.

Everly Brothers Memorial Park

Everly Brothers Memorial Park is a tribute to the duo whose storied musical career has deep roots in Knoxville.

90th Anniversary of Tennessee Theatre

After a $26 million restoration, the movie palace is the region’s leading performing arts center and will celebrate its 90th anniversary in October 2018.

20th Anniversary of WDVX Radio

Knoxville’s listener-supported radio show celebrates 20 years on the air with vintage recordings, interviews with artists, and special concerts.

Knoxville Zoo (now Zoo Knoxville)

emphasizing its commitment to animals first and foremost.

The Mill & Mine

is Knoxville’s new, 20,000 square-foot music hall that can accommodate a crowd of more than 1,200 in the heart of the historic downtown district.

Maple Hall

-- is the new underground boutique bowling alley with a full bar of a few featured cocktails and six taps, and restaurant.

Devil’s Racetrack

-- along with two other Urban Wilderness Gravity Trails have opened in Knoxville’s Urban Wilderness. Beginner to double black diamond trails were created with IMBA and Bell Built Helmets after winning a nationwide grant.

Sunsphere

This a must-see. Built in 1992 for the World's Fair, it stands 266 feet tall land has 26 stories. The actual ball itself houses only five levels, and the panoramic views are outstanding. Located at 810 Clinch Avenue or World's Fair Park Drive, this attraction is free and very safe for all ages, plus an elevator will speed you up to the viewing level where signs and maps point to structures in all directions. I also loved the many trees and flowers. There are numerous benches to relax on and watch passserby.

Market Square

Market Street is located in the center of Downtown Knoxville and offers an eclectic blend of culinary delights, a variety of stores for all kinds of shopping, and the location for all kinds of free entertainment. I loved the Water Play Foundtain and spent an hour there watching tiny toddlers run in and out of the sprays and couldn't s;top taking photos of them playing beneath the water jets.

This area runs from Wall Avenue to Union Avenue.

Fair Grounds

We were surprised at how pleasant it was walking around the Fair Grounds where we could watch all kinds of events going on. At this time, children - and adults - were escaping the 95 degree heat wave by walking beneath lovely sprays from a wide waterfall.

Fair Grounds Hours: From 6:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday through Thursday, and 6:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday. Hours may vary during special events.

Chilhowee Park

You'll enjoy the setting here by a lagoon with a picnic area and lake for fishing. Admission is free. It's open daily from April through September, and is located at Beaman and Magnolia Avenue adjacent to the knoxville Zoo.

For more information call 865-637-5840.

Concord Park

Situated on a lake with a marina restaurant, launching ramps, picnic areas, shelters, overnight camping, a children's play area, tennis court and two swimming pools, this is a great place to be on a hot day.

Located at 10901 Northsho9re Drive. For more information call 865-521-2346.

Knoxville Zoological Park

Here you'll find over 1000 animals in native environs. It's known for its African Elephant exhibit, large cats, and a children's petting zoo area.

Located at 3333 Woodbine Avenue. For more information call 865-657-5331.

World's Fair Park

This is the site of the 1982 World's Fair and includes the Knoxville Museum of Art, Tennesee Amphitheater, Candy Factory and the Sunsphere. It cost $63 million dolars to park and features country flags, fountains, seating, park atmosphere, festival and performance lawns, jogging trail, sidewalks, and is lighted and security patrolled.

Knoxville Museum of Art

The museum serves the region by providig a variety of art programs to expose children and adults to the living world of arts. Workshops are offered to develop artistic skills, and special tours are available for groups.

Located at the World's Fair Park. For more information contact 865-525-6101.

Knoxville's Historic Old City

Ghosts of cowboys and confederates walk the streets of the Old City; Knoxville's most unique and vib rant collection of rstaurants, shops, nightclubs and antique stores.

Location: Surrounding the intersection of Jackson Avenue and Central Stret at the north end of Downtown. For more information call 800-727-8045.

Women's Basketball Hall of Fame

Exploring the Women's Basketball of Fame is lots of fun with ineractive things to do. Open from 10 a.m.-7 p.m. Mon-Sat, and noon-6 p.m. on Sunday. Admissiion charge.

Location: 700 Hall of Fame Drive. For details call 865-633-9000.

Where to Stay

MainStay Suites

located in north Knoxville at 144 Merchant Dr. right off of Interstate 75, has 86 guest rooms that feature fully equipped kitchens in all rooms, weekly housekeeping services, free continental breakfast and coffee, free premium cable television, free high-speed wireless Internet access, plus an exercise room, among other amenities.

Hampton Inn & Suites

also in north Knoxville off of Interstate 75, is located at 5411 Pratt Rd. The hotel features 102 guest rooms, including 32 suites. Amenities include a smoke-free environment, complimentary On the House hot breakfast, indoor pool, business and fitness center, complimentary high-speed Internet access and complimentary USA Today newspaper Monday through Friday, among other items.

Holiday Inn Express West

is a brand-new hotel in west Knoxville, located at 816 N. Campbell Station Rd., right off of Interstates 40 and 75. With 79 guest rooms, this hotel features free high speed Internet access, microwave and refrigerator, free local calls, an indoor heated swimming pool and a business center and fitness facility.

West Knoxville's Country Inn & Suites

is located at 9137 Cross Park Drive. The hotelís spacious rooms feature non-smoking rooms and amenities such as granite-appointed bathrooms, 37î flat-panel LCD/HD televisions, an indoor pool, free hot breakfast, guest laundry facility, business center and fitness center, among other things.

Holiday Inn Knoxville Downtown

I stayed here and enjoyed the hotel, the room and the view from the window where I could see the Sunsphere - a golden glass ball that was built as the signature structure for the 1982 World's Fair. (See more about the Sunsphere above in What to See & Do), plus the hotel is close to the water. Found the room very comfortable, received a free newsapaper each day, and the staff was excellent.

Location: 525 Henley Street, Knoxville, Tenn. 37902. Phone: 865-522-2800; Fax 865-971-1492.

The Tennessean Hotel

-- is Knoxville’s first personal luxury hotel with 82 rooms overlooking World’s Fair Park and Knoxville Convention Center opened April 2017 in downtown Knoxville.

For more information on these hotels or to book a reservation, visit www.Knoxville.org.

Where to Eat

The Hill

Good food and fun is what Knoxville does best. The Hill, Knoxville's newest restaurant in the border region of the Fort Sanders neighborhood, is committed to doing both.
The restaurant's entire upper level is devoted to the bar scene. The downstairs dining area, which also has its own bar as well as a corner for video gaming, offers a delicious menu filled with plenty of sandwiches, burgers and deep-fried goodies, but there ís also a handful of lip-smacking entrees, such as fajita quesadillas, grilled sirloin steak and chicken Alfredo. The Hill has a great selection of appetizers such as nachos, potato skins, chicken fingers, cheese sticks and Southwest egg rolls that really help start out a great meal.

The Hill is located at 1105 Forest Avenue and the staff can be reached by phone at (865) 540-1011.

Kaizen Izakaya

Chef Jesse Newmister has created Kaizen Izakaya, with a lunch selection of Dan Dan noodles and Thai glass noodle salad, in downtown Knoxville. Izakaya is a place where Japanese men would go after work for sake and drinks before going home for dinner.

LOUDON COUNTY

Lenoir City Events Center

Featuring 19,000 sq. ft. of event space, the large ballroom can accommodate up to 700 guests and approx. 1,000 guests for reception-style events. State of the art audiovisual systems, eco-friendly features, a covered outdoor patio and garden area complete the space.

The Stimpson Seashell Museum

-- anticipated to be the world’s largest publicly viewable seashell collection, will showcase thousands of rare and hard-to-find shells from across the globe and is scheduled to open in 2017.

LYNCHBURG

Jack Daniel Distillery

turns 150. America’s oldest registered distillery and the world’s best-selling whiskey is one of Tennessee’s most iconic destinations. The milestone anniversary celebration kicked off on New Year’s Eve and continues throughout the year in Lynchburg and around the world.

MEMPHIS

Where to Stay

Guest House at Graceland

Located just a few steps from the gates of Elvis’ Graceland, the 450-room resort features a Southern colonial exterior with specialty suites designed by Priscilla Presley, two restaurants, meeting space, and a 464-seat theater for live performances and movies.

What to See & Do

“Elvis Presley’s Memphis”

-- at Graceland®’s a 200,000-square-foot, $45 million entertainment complex across the street from Elvis’™ iconic Graceland Mansion opened in Spring 2017. It is five times the size of the current visitor center, and presents the life, career and legacy of the greatest entertainer with interactive and immersive pop culture experiences that connect to Elvis’ personal interests and activities throughout his life, including his passion for automobiles and new technology.

50th Anniversary of Dr. Martin Luther King’s Death

The commemoration of the 50th anniversary of the civil rights leader’s assassination in Memphis continues at the National Civil Rights Museum.

Crosstown Concourse

Take a dance class, stock up on locally-sourced produce, explore an art gallery, grab a craft beer from an on-site brewery and do some retail therapy in the former Sears distribution center.

Big River Crossing at Harahan Bridge

Walk, ride or run the 5,000-foot longest public pedestrian bridge spanning the Mississippi River.

Grand Carousel

The Children’s Museum of Memphis is restoring the 1909 Dentzel Memphis Grand Carousel. Artisans hand-crafted all the wooden elements for future generations to enjoy and learn about historic preservation.

Heart of the Park at Shelby Farms

Recently expanded to 80 acres, enjoy new trails, wetlands, decks, picnic pavilions, boat rentals, and much more.

Old Dominick Distillery

Get a taste of new spirits in town: vodka, whiskey and bourbon with distillery tours and tasting rooms built into the old Tennessee Brewery.

Interactive kiosk

-- about activities related to the natural, recreational and cultural/historic amenities located along the Mississippi River in Memphis and the region of the Great River Road – National Scenic Byway and Trail is be installed at the TDOT Visitors Center (I-40 & Riverside Dr.) 2017 in downtown Memphis.

Heart of the Park at Shelby Farms Park

-- features a larger variety of native trees, shrubs, and other vegetation, making way for new trails, wetlands, an 80-acre Patriot Lake, decks, and boat rentals and a pavilion for events and music.

IKEA

the only store in the Mid-South region has opened.

Harahan Bridge / Big River Crossing

is open and is a 5,000-ft. trail path with spectacular views of the Mississippi River, connecting Downtown Memphis and Arkansas.

Memphis Cook Convention Center

will get a fresh look on the outside and state-of-the-art upgrades on the inside courtesy of a $55-60 million renovation.

Old Dominick Distillery

-- a 150-year-old brand, will provide Memphis with vodka, whiskey and bourbon and will offer tours, tasting rooms and an event space.

NASHVILLE

What to See & Do

Tennessee State Museum

The new museum opening in Fall 2018 will feature advances in technology and interactive displays, a Tennessee Time Tunnel with a chronological overview of the state’s milestones and 250-seat Digital Learning and Outreach Center.

August Moon Drive-In

Nashville’s 40,000-square-foot dome recreates a 1960s drive-in theater via classic cars, simulated starry sky, burgers and shakes, and the largest non-iMax movie screen in the U.S.

Ole Red Nashville

Opening in Spring 2018, country singer Blake Shelton’s two-story bar on lower Broadway features a performance space, dance floor, and rooftop restaurant with panoramic views of the city.

SoundWaves at Gaylord Opryland Resort

The $90 million luxury indoor/outdoor water park for guests features a slide tower, rapid and lazy river, activity pool with rock climbing and pool basketball, waterfalls and wave pool with a giant LED movie screen.

Nashville Zoo

-- is slated to open the Spider Monkey Exhibit, which features an elevated boardwalk for guests to enter a treetop viewing platform where several spider monkeys can been seen and Expedition Peru: Trek of the Andean Bear where guests can discover South America's mysterious bears of the clouded forest and an array of other South American species in early 2017. The Sumatran Tiger Exhibit opened in Summer 2017.

Madame Tussauds

-- came to Music City in 2017 at Opry Mills. “Madame Tussauds Soundtrack of America” celebrates Nashville’s large influence on today’s music and culture with lifelike figures like Johnny Cash, Taylor Swift, Beyoncé and Minnie Pearl.

Andrew Jackson's Hermitage

the #1 historic attraction commemorates President Jackson's 250th birthday in 2017. The festivities, started in March 2017, will continue throughout the year with events at The Hermitage and across the nation.

The Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum

began operating Studio B in 1977 and in 1996 restoredthe primary studio area to its original look.  Beginning in the fall of 2003, facilitated by the philanthropy of the Mike Curb Family Foundation, Belmont University students began using Studio B as a workshop for completing recording projects, a partnership that also supports the Museum’s educational programs.  Educational tours and recording opportunities, staffed by both organizations, are offered through the Museum to arts organizations, students, educational institutions and visitors.

Nashville’s Musicians Hall of Fame at Municipal Auditorium will soon house an 8,500 square foot Grammy Museum gallery and historic landmark designation.

Where to Stay

Loews Vanderbilt Hotel

Nestled in the heart of Nashville’s trendy West End corridor, the 340-room Loews Vanderbilt Hotel is within walking distance of Vanderbilt University, one mile from Music Row and a short 15-minute drive from Nashville International Airport (BNA). The hotel offers the ultimate Music City experience, complete with southern hospitality, indulgent comforts and on-cue services. The property is one of only 73 hotels nationwide to achieve the AAA Four-Diamond designation for 25 consecutive years.

From its lobby jukebox stocked with tunes of VIP guests to its impressive collection of autographed records and musical memorabilia, Loews Vanderbilt Hotel is a “home away from home” that reflects Nashville’s heritage and local music culture. Live music nightly and wake up calls recorded by Nashville entertainers Vince Gill, Amy Grant and Brenda Lee give guests a glimpse of the authentic sights and sounds that make Music City famous.

OLD HICKORY

What to See & Do

Old Hickory Centennial Celebration

Celebrate the centennial June 1-3, 2018 with historic tours, music and food at the marina, golf courses and Andrew Jackson's Hermitage.

Nudie’s Honky Tonk

-- an ode to rhinestone cowboy couture founded by Nudie Cohn has opened. New honky tonks like Almost Famous and Dierks Bentley’s Whiskey Row.

PALL MALL

Forbus General Store

Don't miss the Forbus General Store, established in 1892. The fudge that I tasted was as the owner says, "The freshness is our most important ingredient. Our fudge stays fresh 10-10-14 days at room temperature. Do not refrigerate as dehydration occurs, but it can be frozen indefinitely." Try any one of many flavors, including chocolate, maple nut, amaretto chocolate swirl, peanut butter, vanilla nut, chocolate peanut butter, chocolate nut and rocky road. Even if you don't want fudge, there are countless other goodies to try and an amazing array of merchandise - and in the middle of the store, you can watch locals playing checkers or another game.

Located at 3902 North york Highway, Pall Mall, Tenn. 38577; 1-931-879-5427.

PIGEON FORGE

What to See & Do

VR Pigeon Forge

A revolutionary virtual reality arcade allows visitors the chance to walk, crawl and dodge their way through endless worlds of fun and adventure.

Smoky Mountain Adventures Dinner & Show

This high-energy dinner theater production tells a tale of Dolly Parton’s family history.

Pigeon Forge Snow

The indoor facility uses state-of-the-art patented technology to provide real snow all year long, highlighted by 15 lanes for snow tubing.

Summit Tower and Cascades Waterpark

The 98 suites were designed to combine modern resort amenities with Smoky Mountain charm and a 30,000-square-foot waterpark.

Margaritaville Island Inn

Beach perfection in a sea of mountains featuring 104 cozy, coastal-inspired rooms.

Alcatraz East Crime Museum in Pigeon Forge

Alcatraz East, a new crime museum opened in East Tennessee on December 16, 2016. The museum, which gives visitors the behind-the-scenes story to our nation’s crime history is a must-see for all ages. Crime and investigation has always been a popular topic; from books, to television shows, and movies, people are intrigued with how crime happens and cases are solved. Now, these enthusiasts are in luck, with our nation’s history of crime, justice and the law enforcement coming together at Alcatraz East.

The new crime museum is located at the entrance to The Island, featuring Margaritaville Hotel and Paula Deen’s Family Kitchen, at 2757 Parkway in Pigeon Forge, and is adjacent to Stages West and The Comedy Barn. The exterior façade, a 19th century prison, was inspired by the historic Alcatraz Penitentiary in San Francisco. Within the 25,000 square feet, two-story museum, there are over 100 interactive exhibits that can be enjoyed by all ages. The self-guided tour covers the history of American crime, the consequences of crime, crime scene investigation, crime fighting, and pop culture.

Some of the highlights of the many crime related artifacts on display include John Dillinger’s death mask, Al Capone’s rosary, a Bonnie & Clyde collection, the Bronco from the OJ chase, an FBI polygraph machine, Al Pacino’s submachine gun from the movie Scarface, items related to the 2012 Benghazi attack, and the latest in law enforcement technology. The interactive features of the museum will include a CSI lab, a simulated shooting range, safe cracking, digital fingerprinting, and DUI safety training.  The museum’s mission is to provide guests of all ages with a memorable journey into the history of American crime and its consequences through a captivating, interactive and educational experience.

The museum is something that its owner, John Morgan, had always envisioned. No stranger to running successful attractions, he also owns WonderWorks located a mile away from Alcatraz East. The museum also has a star-studded board of advisors who help contribute to its mission of education. The experts range from historians to law enforcement. The board includes a Navy Seal, warden, medical examiner, law enforcement and, notably, Judge Belvin Perry, best known for presiding over Casey Anthony trial.

General admission tickets are $14.95 for children, $24.95 for adults. Group ticket sales are available. The museum will be open 365 days a year, from 10 am to 9 pm, with the last ticket sold 60 minutes before closing. For more information and to purchase tickets, visit www.alcatrazeast.com.

For more information, visit www.alcatrazeast.com.

Conquering the Con: How Seniors Can Avoid Being Swindled and Scammed

Anyone, at any age, can fall victim to a scam. However, con artists most often set their sights on older adults. Seniors in the U.S. are swindled out of an estimated $37 billion per year, according to a report by True Link Financial, mainly through financial exploitation, criminal fraud and caregiver abuse. In an effort to call attention to fraud that particularly targets older adults, Alcatraz East Crime Museum has collaborated with AARP Foundation on a temporary exhibit to help seniors recognize, refuse and report scams.

“We all want to protect our aging parents and loved ones,” said Janine Vaccarello, chief operating officer for Alcatraz East. “The more people understand how victims are targeted, the more we can do to protect ourselves from these crimes.”

Created by AARP Foundation’s fraud experts and hosted by Alcatraz East, the year-long exhibit, “Scamalot: Conquering the Con,” opens September 21, 2017. Visitors will encounter fraud in its various forms, including impostor scams, investment fraud and lottery scams. The exhibit will also feature stories of notable fraudsters, such as Charles Ponzi, and information on how the public can protect themselves from scams.

“Scamalot” will explore common scams and how to avoid them, including:

IRS scams, in which a caller posing as an Internal Revenue Service agent threatens the victim with arrest if they don’t pay.

Tech support scams, in which fraudsters gain access to personal information by offering to “fix” a nonexistent computer virus.

Sweepstakes scams, which promise a large cash prize in return for a “claim fee.”

“Con artists have their sights set on older adults,” said Emily Allen, senior vice president of programs for AARP Foundation. “Seniors are likely to have accumulated savings, own their home and have good credit — making them attractive targets. We developed ‘Scamalot: Conquering the Con’ to build awareness and understanding of the different types of fraud.”

Among the exhibit’s features will be objects related to infamous fraudsters Bernie Madoff, Lou Pearlman and David Hampton. Visitors will also be able to test their scam spotting skills through interactive displays.

Alcatraz East officially opened December 16, 2016. The new crime museum is located at the entrance to The Island, at 2757 Parkway in Pigeon Forge, near the Margaritaville Hotel and Paula Deen’s Family Kitchen. The museum offers a wide array of exhibits on notorious crimes, law enforcement, and CSI, with historic artifacts and interactives. The Bronco from the famous OJ Simpson chase is currently on display at the museum, along with displays on the Unabomber, Ted Bundy, and Whitey Bulger.

The museum is open 365 days a year, from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m., with the last ticket sold 60 minutes before closing. For more information and to purchase tickets, visit www.alcatrazeast.com.

About Alcatraz East

Alcatraz East is the most arresting crime museum in the United States. Guests of all ages can encounter a unique journey into the history of American crime, crime solving, and our justice system. Through interactive exhibits and original artifacts, Alcatraz East is an entertaining and educational experience for all ages — so much fun it’s a crime! This family attraction is located at the entrance of The Island, located at 2757 Parkway, Pigeon Forge, Tenn.
AARP Foundation works to increase economic opportunity and social connections that help prevent and reduce senior poverty. We collaborate with individuals and organizations who share our commitment to innovation and our passion for problem-solving. Supported by vigorous legal advocacy, we create and advance effective solutions that help struggling older adults transform their lives. AARP Foundation is the affiliated charity of AARP. Learn more at www.aarpfoundation.org.

The Ugly Truth of Wildlife Poaching: Alcatraz East Temporary Exhibit --- New Pigeon Forge attraction hosting a special temporary exhibit on the wildlife trafficking trade

When a Minnesota-based dentist paid $54,000 to trophy hunt in Zimbabwe in 2015 with a professional guide, he unknowingly was about to kill the beloved and iconic lion- Cecil. The images from that hunt went viral and although the dentist’s actions were not deemed illegal, the event sparked a worldwide outcry and raised awareness about the plight of wildlife, including lions, tigers, and elephants. Since that incident, the public is increasingly committed to protect wildlife and to put a stop to the trade of illegal wildlife poaching.

According to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the illegal wildlife trade is a multibillion-dollar business, that involves the illegal trade of live animals and objects made from their parts. Many of the animals involved are endangered, making the practice an international crisis. Poachers either capture animals to sell, or kill them for their fur, bones, shells, and other body parts to be used in everything from traditional medicines, to clothing and jewelry. Even locally, effecting the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, bears are poached for their gallbladders and bile, which are used in traditional medicines. Only thirty-four states explicitly ban the trade, and these parts can go for $5,000 in Asia. Those interested in learning more about the wildlife trade can attend the temporary exhibit “Ivory, Tortoise Shell & Fur: The Ugly Truth of Wildlife Trafficking” at Alcatraz East Crime Museum, which opened on May 15, 2017.

The exhibit was first displayed at the Crime Museum in Washington, DC in 2015 by the Center for Conservation Impact, in partnership with the Freeland Foundation, International Fund for Animal Welfare, INTERPOL, Kashmir World Foundation, U.S. Department of State, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, WildAid, and Wildlife Trust of India.

Many people are unaware of how critical the poaching situation has become around the world, yet the statistics are alarming. It’s estimated that 97 percent of the world’s tigers have been lost in the last century, 76 percent of elephants have been lost during the last 13 years, and over 1,200 rhinoceros were killed last year alone. These animal populations have been depleted to supply black market demand for worthless natural medicines, jewelry and other souvenirs, and are considered status symbols, as the case with shark fin soup.

International travelers normally take home souvenirs from their trips, but what they may not realize is that the materials used to make those trinkets may have been illegally harvested from endangered and protected wildlife. These include items made from ivory and tortoise shell, so when shopping for souvenirs, it is best to ask questions about what products are made of, where it came from, as it may not be legal to bring back to the U.S. This exhibit will include items confiscated by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and other border agencies.

“Wildlife trafficking is a serious epidemic that is plaguing our world due to Asia's sensational demand for Rhino Horn, which is made from nothing more than keratin, the same as our finger nails along with Elephant Ivory made from dentine, the same as the human tooth.” explains Katie Cleary, model, film producer and writer of “Give Me Shelter” available on Netflix, and founder of World Animal News which brings you the latest breaking animal welfare news from around the world. “The more that we are educated about wildlife crimes and trafficking of endangered species and the ways to stop it, the better equipped we are to bring it to an end and protect these innocent species before it's too late.”

Recent news headlines show this problem is ongoing, with 18 rhino horns being seized in Mozambique in April, and news being shared about the illegal animal smuggling coming across the Mexican border, including of birds and lizards to be sold as pets in the U.S.

“Ivory, Tortoise Shell & Fur” will run through Spring 2018. Alcatraz East officially opened December 16, 2016. The new crime museum is located at the entrance to The Island, at 2757 Parkway in Pigeon Forge, near the Margaritaville Hotel and Paula Deen’s Family Kitchen.

The 25,000 square foot museum is designed with a jail façade, has a star-studded board of experts who make up the Advisory Board, including Jim Willett, a retired prison warden, Anthony Rivera, a combat veteran and Navy SEAL chief, and Judge Belvin Perry, Jr., who is best known for the Casey Anthony trial.

General admission tickets are $14.95 for children, $24.95 for adults. Group ticket sales are available. The museum will be open 365 days per year, from 10 am to 9 pm, with the last ticket sold 60 minutes before closing. For more information and to purchase tickets, visit www.alcatrazeast.com.

The O.J. Bronco Displayed at Alcatraz East- 22 Years Later -- New Pigeon Forge attraction offers a rare glimpse at the vehicle O.J. Simpson made famous in June 1994

The anniversary of the scene made famous when 95 million people tuned in to watch O.J. Simpson flee the police in a white Bronco is quickly approaching. June 17, 1994 is a date many recall because of the news he made that day, having been accused of killing his ex-wife and her friend. Rather than turn himself in, as ordered by police, the former football star fled with cameras rolling and millions watching. Today, that infamous white 1993 Ford Bronco is on display Alcatraz East Crime Museum in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee.

Although the vehicle has been largely out of the public eye for two decades, it came back into the public eye in 2016 with the popularity of the shows “O.J.: Made in America” and “The People v. O.J. Simpson.”

“We are fortunate to have this piece of history in our collection,” states Janine Vaccarello, chief operating officer for Alcatraz East, “It’s something that many of us watched and remember, as it sparked so many conversations that influenced our views. This case was important for so many aspects of law enforcement from police procedures to DNA.”

It is estimated that 150 million people tuned into the verdict in the Simpson trial in 1995 where he was acquitted. In 2008, Simpson was sentenced to 33 years in prison for armed robbery, where he remains, but is eligible for parole later this year.

The Bronco was kept hidden in a garage between Las Vegas and California for years but was always kept in running condition and preserved in the same condition as it was in 1994. Simpson’s previous sports manager, Mike Gilbert, worked directly with the museum to handle the preservation of this important piece of crime history.

Alcatraz East officially opened December 16, 2016. The new crime museum is located at the entrance to The Island, at 2757 Parkway in Pigeon Forge, near the Margaritaville Hotel and Paula Deen’s Family Kitchen.

The 25,000 square foot museum is designed with a jail façade, has a star-studded board of experts who make up the Advisory Board, including Jim Willett, a retired prison warden, Anthony Rivera, a combat veteran and Navy SEAL chief, and Judge Belvin Perry, Jr., who is best known for the Casey Anthony trial.

General admission tickets are $14.95 for children, $24.95 for adults. Group ticket sales are available. The museum will be open 365 days per year, from 10 am to 9 pm, with the last ticket sold 60 minutes before closing. For more information and to purchase tickets, visit www.alcatrazeast.com.

Where to Stay

Margaritaville Island Hotel

The new Margaritaville Island Hotel located in Pigeon Forge on The Island, a shopping, dining and entertainment complex, has opened phase one of the hotel with 55 guestrooms and suites in 2015. The vacation destination hotel is in the heart of everything the area has to offer and minutes from the Great Smoky Mountains National Park known for its extraordinary beauty, breathtaking views, and abundance of outdoor activities.

The perfect blend of mountain latitude and island attitude, Margaritaville Island Hotel brings a new perspective to the Smoky Mountains experience with its contemporary surroundings, high level of service and attention to detail. Inspired by the lyrics and lifestyle of singer, songwriter and author Jimmy Buffett, Margaritaville Island Hotel is the perfect setting for vacationers to escape the everyday, discover a new outlook and just chill. The laid-back, welcoming approach of the islands combined with genuine Southern Appalachian hospitality, creates an exceptional hotel experience where the comfort and pleasure of guests come first.

The guestrooms and suites at Margaritaville Island Hotel are contemporary mountain-luxe style perfect for unwinding and recharging. Colors of the mountains and the ocean are the backdrop for stacked stone fireplaces, driftwood-finished furnishings and luxurious bedding. Spacious baths designed with walk-in rain showers, granite-topped rustic wood vanities, vessel sinks and wood grain-effect tile create a serene bath experience with the feel of a mountain stream. Every guestroom comes complete with a wet bar, microwave and Margaritaville "Frozen Concoction Maker," so guests can create their own blended beverages to enjoy by the fire or on the balcony.

Onsite dining at Margaritaville Island Hotel includes the "Changes In Latitude" Lobby Bar for cocktails and lite bites, the Chill Bar at the Rooftop Pool and the Margaritaville Coffee Shop serving everything from lattes to pastries. The Compass Rose banquet room will soon offer meeting and event space for up to 200 including a riverfront terrace. Adjacent to the hotel, Jimmy Buffet's Margaritaville serves coastal-inspired comfort food and handcrafted beverages. The two-story Margaritaville restaurant has multiple bars and an exterior patio overlooking the Little Pigeon River complete with fire pit and live performance stage. The Island entertainment complex offers a great selection of dining, entertainment and shopping options within steps of the hotel, providing plenty of choices for guests without leaving the property.

For more information on the Margaritaville Island Hotel including room rates, availability and more, please visit: margaritavilleislandhotel.com or call toll-free: (844) 434-6787

About Margaritaville:
Margaritaville is inspired by the lyrics and lifestyle of Jimmy Buffett, whose evocative songs inspire a cross-generational yearning for an island adventure. Comprised of retail shops, restaurants, consumer products, hotels, casinos, resorts, vacation ownership and even a national radio station on Sirius/XM, Margaritaville delivers a tropical experience where guests can enjoy the sights, sounds and tastes of their favorite destination regardless of their current latitude.

Since launching its first location in Key West, Margaritaville has expanded to some of the most popular US tourist destinations, including: Atlantic City, Chicago, Destin, Las Vegas, Myrtle Beach, Nashville, New Orleans, Orlando, and Panama City Beach. International locations can be found in Australia, Brazil, Canada, Cayman Islands, Jamaica, Mexico, Republic of Panama and Turks & Caicos. Margaritaville Resorts are located in Pensacola Beach, Bossier City and Pigeon Forge. Visit margaritaville.com for more information. Find Margaritaville on Facebook facebook.com/margaritaville

SEVIERVILLE

What to See & Do

Sunglass Hut, Aerie and ASICS outlets along with Smith Creek Moonshine Distillery are open at Tanger Outlets Sevierville.

Apple Barn & Cider Mill, a working apple orchard that features bakers, candy makers, an ice cream shop and a winery, plans to begin offering their own blend of hard cider in 2017.

Tennessee Legend Distillery

Visit the retail store on Highway 66 in Sevierville for delicious moonshine and gifts.

Sevier Distilling Company

Schedule a behind-the-scenes tour and watch as every drop is fermented, distilled and bottled by master craftsmen at Sevierville’s newest distillery.

TOWNSEND

more soon

WINCHESTER

more soon

SPECIAL EVENTS & NOTES

EarthCam Launches Live Webcam Views of Great Smoky Mountains in Tennessee

EarthCam is transporting viewers to East Tennessee, where they can enjoy the incredible scenery from Blackberry Mountain with its new live streaming webcam. Discover the beauty of the 5,200 acres surrounding this adventure and wellness resort, including sweeping views of the Great Smoky Mountains. Rising above Miller’s Cove in Walland, Tennessee, Blackberry Mountain has dedicated 2,800 acres of land to conservation. This effort to preserve the natural wonder of the mountains offers breathtaking views and a serene escape from the stresses of modern life in a private national park setting. EarthCam is proud to support Blackberry Mountain’s commitment to land conservation by sharing live webcam views of this beautiful location.

“From the smallest details to the expansive views, the Mountain is an incredible place. Having a live stream allows us to share the adventure, discovery and wonder of this land,” said Nick DiBartolomeo, Vice President - Finance, Blackberry Mountain. “Whether you are here to explore the land in person, or at home enjoying the view from the camera, you get to experience a place that is so meaningful. We hope that it will encourage exploration and heighten appreciation for the beauty of East Tennessee.”

Explore the beauty of East Tennessee, including spectacular views of the Great Smoky Mountains, with EarthCam’s new EarthCamInc.pr-optout.com/Tracking.aspx

ABOUT EARTHCAM
EarthCam is the global leader in delivering webcam content, technology and services. Founded in 1996, EarthCam provides live streaming video and time-lapse construction cameras for corporate, tourism and government clients in major cities around the world. EarthCam's revolutionary gigapixel camera systems deliver superior billion pixel clarity for monitoring and archiving the world's most important projects and events. EarthCam's all-weather webcams, innovative software and mobile applications enable users to showcase unique views, increase exposure and generate positive public relations.

The Webby Award winning company hosts many highly trafficked tourism cams, with views of popular locations and landmarks such as Times Square, World Trade Center, Las Vegas Strip, Bourbon Street, Eiffel Tower, Andy Warhol’s gravesite, Hollywood Boulevard, Miami Beach, Atlantis the Palm Dubai, Petra in Jordan and Abbey Road Crossing in London.

To experience more of EarthCam, visit EarthCamInc.pr-optout.com/Tracking.aspx
EarthCam Inc., 650 East Crescent Avenue, Upper Saddle River, NJ 07458 United States

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