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Monday, January 16, 2012

Celebrating Outside the Box


We celebrated Christmas this year outside our usual holiday box, renting a cabin in Gatlinburg, Tennessee, for the week after Christmas. Our party included my husband and me, our grown son and his two children, and our other grown son and his wife and baby-to-be, due in late February.

None of us were prepared for the party-on-the-streets atmosphere we were met with upon our arrival, but we soon found ourselves jumping into the heart of the streetfest ourselves as we wound down the sidewalks amongst the holiday crowds from all over the world, curious about what treasure the next shop might hold.

Our first stop was Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies, containing over 30,000 species of living fish. My 3- and 1-year-old grandchildren were mesmerized by the schooling fish, stingrays, sea dragon, sea horses, jelly fish, piranha, and sharks, all swimming about near us, some within arms’ reach. They could have spent all week there and not have been bored!

On the same ticket we were able to tour the Ripley’s Believe It Or not Museum/Odditorium, three stories of over 500 outstanding and incredible artifacts from around the world. Maybe a little over our toddlers’ heads, but they kept up our pace as we were amazed by shrunken human heads and eight-legged buffaloes.

We kept the Ripley’s nightmares away by sampling the local kid-friendly cuisine, like the Snow Bears lunch my granddaughter devoured at the Pancake Pantry…bear-shaped pancakes dusted with powdered sugar and M&M eyes and nose. Scrumptious!
 
Contributed by Kathy Bolger, Senior Graphic Designer, Today’s Woman magazine.

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