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Photo TR: Ober Gatlinburg


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This is Erik Elness, reporting live from what TripAdvisor recently named one of the top 10 amusement parks outside of Orlando: Ober Gatlinburg.


Ever since the announcement, controversy has swirled around this offbeat choice. Short on traditional amusement park staples like "roller coasters" and "fun," Ober Gatlinburg has instead relied for years on such attributes as a really cool entrance and highly laid back employees in order to snare visitors.


But the question remains: Has TripAdvisor finally brought the attention that this long-overlooked park so richly deserves? Or, was it simply a joke thrown in at the last minute to see if anyone was paying attention, perhaps based on a dare from the webmaster's roommate?


On the afternoon of August 21st, 2007, we took our secret cameras inside Ober Gatlinburg to find out.


So there you have it. Is Ober Gatlinburg really one of the top 10 parks outside of Orlando? I just shoot the pictures. You have decide...for yourself.


Still not convinced? Then how about this shocking revelation!


Looks like last night's kegger got a little bit out of control, eh Smoky?


I'm suddenly struck by something a smelly hippie once told me during an interview about marijuana or something: "No one can own bears, man."


It turns out to be an indoor mini-golf course. But, even after putting through the loop, I can see no sign of ever having left this dimension.


Back in "The Mall," we stumble across this strange attraction, at the top of an otherwise unmarked staircase.


The Go Cart track. And beyond it, one of the winter ski slopes.


As you can see, the park rejects traditional notions of "on-stage" and "backstage." Not even at a Six Flags would this be considered good show.


A two-story rocking fun house. The attendant lets me go through.


Too late, we spot the manufacturer of this attraction. Luckily, there are no problems on our ride.


This water slide is called "Blue Cyclone Rapids," but it doesn't look like any rapids ride that I've ever seen.


And here's another.


On the way back up towards "The Mall," we spot another sign that Ober Gatlinburg may not quite be ready for the big time.


It may not look like much, but the track is concrete. And the sled, plastic.


At long last, I reach the beginning of the alpine slide.


I play along. I may be alone on this chairlift, but I can still kiss when I need to.


On the way back up, I spot this sign. Apparently, I'm not the only one taking pictures.


I must then travel back up to the midway point. This reporter's reaction?


Heading back down, I am not allowed to exit at the midway point to ride the alpine slide, but must instead travel all the way back down to the bottom.


Certainly, these employees give no indication that anything is amiss.


But, curiously, not much was up there.


I had been told that I would have to get off at the halfway point, but upon reaching it, I was allowed to go to the top.


A close up view of a patron. She has no idea she's being filmed.


The park's star attraction is this alpine slide. To get to it, you have no real choice but to take the chairlift.


This chairlift offers a pretty good overview of most of the park--or, at least, the parts they want you to see.


This building looks innocent enough, but who knows what depravity might be going on inside? We thought it best to keep moving.


Outside, the carcass of one of the old trams has been turned into a snack bar.


We pretended to have lunch in this restaurant while we scoped out the park. Note the Pirate, dangerously close to our window.


At the top. And we're now inside what Ober Gatlinburg calls "The Mall."


We had to be careful that no one saw our cameras, or this investigation would be over before it even started.


This is where you catch the Aerial Tram from downtown Gatlinburg and up to the park.


The entrance seemed pleasant enough. But would the facade hold up?

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LOL Great Report!


I always loved Ober Gatlinburg, but it certainly isn't a 'Resort Destination' by any means. It's just so stuck in the 70's!


Oh, and last time we were there they stopped the freakin tram for 5 minutes so some stupid guy could propose!!! LAME!!!

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Actually, I did have a pretty good time. And that's really how one should measure the strength of a park, isn't it? They have a proper sit-down restaurant, the Pirate has great air, and I do so enjoy chairlifts. But, even so, the idea that this pleasent, if ghetto-tastic, little park is better than, say, Busch Gardens Europe or Indiana Beach is pretty laughable.


On the other hand, maybe the publicity will inspire them to build something better.

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OK, I want to see the picture someone complained about. It's in the interest of journalism and censorship and all that crap!


I am with Elissa...It's been about 8 years since we were last there, but my family had a blast at OG. Do they still have the "Wall of Velcro"?? I have the best pictures of my younger stepdaughter on that!


Although I would have to think that Dollywood should have ranked higher than this place?!



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