The last line of Jeff Farrell’s item in Tennessee daily newspaper The Mountain Press had us chuckling. “It’s not about reading, it’s more about the experience,” explains one of two people aiming to bring to Pigeon Forge the first of a number of themed attractions planned by AMI, Inc.’s National Enquirer. For many of us in the habit of perusing the weekly tabloid at the supermarket checkout line, that sums it up perfectly as well.
Robin Turner, who brought WonderWorks to Pigeon Forge, and Bob Masterson, who was president of Ripley’s Entertainment and oversaw projects, including the Aquarium of the Smokies, have an exclusive agreement with the Enquirer to build attractions based on its works. They plan to build the first one in Pigeon Forge at the site of the old Smoky Mountain Jubilee (2115 Parkway), on the north end of town.
The planning commission approved a site plan for the new attraction Tuesday, after months of discussion about the exterior theming. Turner and Masterson had hoped to have a wall of digital images outside, but that would count as signage and would take them over the limit for that zone.
Among the plans for the attraction is an interactive exhibit that will allow visitors to create their own Enquirer-style headlines and share them on social media. A rep tells us as well that there are ongoing efforts to secure major artifacts relating to the death of Natalie Wood, the O.J. Simpson murder case and so on.