New attractions, commemorative events and more in Tennessee have opened in 2018. From luxury accommodations and state-of-the-art attractions sure to keep kids and adults entertained to cavernous music venues and trails that run through the state just waiting to be explored, your calendar is quickly going to fill up with these new offerings during your Tennessee vacation.
Cue up your “The Soundtrack of America. Made in Tennessee.” Pandora playlist, gas up your vehicle and set out on the new Tennessee Music Pathway launching Summer 2018. All 95 counties are represented in this statewide initiative that brings the countless music and its legends to life by connecting music-centric attractions to small towns and big cities.
The U.S. Civil Rights Trail, a collection of museums, schools, churches, courthouses and landmarks throughout the South that played an important role in advancing social justice in the 1950s and 1960s, has launched. More than 100 attractions across 14 states are featured. In Tennessee, the Lorraine Motel where Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated and the National Civil Rights Museum in Memphis; the Green McAdoo Cultural Center where the story of the Clinton 12 is told in Clinton, Tennessee; and Fisk University, a historic black university established in 1866 in Nashville, are just some of the places travelers can learn and gain a deeper understanding of the Civil Rights Movement that changed the world.
The newly-launched Tennessee Whiskey Trail travels through the state, showcasing world-renowned distilleries like Jack Daniel Distillery in Lynchburg and Ole Smoky Moonshine in Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge to the lesser-known-but-still-delicious distilleries like Old Dominick Distillery in Memphis and H. Clark Distillery in Thompson’s Station. Learn the process and sip the crafted talents of Tennessee’s distillers.
Wintery fun can be experienced year-round at Pigeon Forge Snow. Indoor snow tubing is available to visitors right along the Parkway. The first attraction of its kind in the U.S., Pigeon Forge Snow uses snowmaking technology to create a snowy wonderland within a 35,000 square-foot indoor facility. With 15 lanes of snow tubing, areas for snowman building and snowball fights, and snow cones as the signature snack, you’ll want to snag your tickets for your first or next trip to the Smokies.
Anakeesta, Gatlinburg’s exciting new development, is a 72-acre outdoor aerial adventure park with a Chondola (chair lift and Gondola) ride, dining, a tree canopy walk and dual zip line where guests can race each other through the trees, children’s play area, artisan goods available for purchase and sweeping views of the Great Smoky Mountains. Ongoing developments include a mountain coaster for even more adventure. Treehouse accommodations are some of the dreams for the property in the distant future.
Zoo Knoxville has cut the ribbon on their newest development, Tiger Forest. It’s a multi-acre habitat and breeding facility for critically-endangered Malayan tigers and white-naped cranes. You come face to face with these rare creatures thanks to large glass viewing areas that give a peek into the tigers’ swimming hole and roaming areas. Visitors can also see tiger behavior training sessions every day.
Tannery Knobs Bike Park in Johnson City connects outdoor lovers to more than 40 acres of heavily-wooded terrain with the city’s shops, breweries and restaurants just a short bike ride away. Get a thrill of off-road adventures at this skills park designed for all ages. Mountain views, more than 300 ridgeline overlooks of Johnson City and riding distance from the city make this Park a must-visit. The park is hoping to be open by the end of summer, 2018.
Nashville’s newest cultural hub, Plaza Mariachi Music City is like stepping in a different world with beautiful decorations and features, shops galore, a supermarket, delicious coffee and baked goods. Only 10 minutes from downtown Nashville, Plaza Mariachi blends Latin culture into the food, fashion and music. Endless entertainment is offered from fire breathers to dancers and singers practically every night.
Bluegrass Underground, the bluegrass concert series that takes place literally underground, makes its home in The Caverns, located in Pelham, Tennessee in the Upper Cumberland region of the state. Located at the foot of Monteagle Mountain, The Caverns has closer parking, nicer bathrooms, more comfortable seating, better concert sightlines, upgraded food and beverages along with beer.
The Escape Game is a live adventure in which you and your team select a special challenge and then have one hour to complete your mission and escape. Special Ops, the newest game from The Escape Game Nashville is open in the Berry Hill neighborhood at 510 E. Iris Dr.Nashville, TN 37204. The new Escape Game has touch screen interfaces and elevators, making it the most technologically-advanced escape room ever. You may feel like James Bond as you enter a criminal market for a top-secret investigation to save the world.
The highly-anticipated Tennessee State Museum’s newest building will open Oct. 4, 2018. The 137,000 square feet of space will be located near Nashville’s Bicentennial Mall. The museum is described as a “living museum,” ever-changing its exhibits and themes. Art, music and stories will be told through videos, touchscreens and state-of-the-art interactive exhibitions. The “Tennessee Time Tunnel” marries content-rich artifacts and stories with multimedia for a more robust experience.
The National Civil Rights Museum pays tribute to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and his vision of seeing peace, love and equality among all peoples through MLK50, the 50th anniversary of his assassination. "MLK50: A Legacy Remembered" is a special exhibition on display at the museum through December 2018. The exhibit reflects on the 50 years since Dr. King's assassination along with the global reaction to his untimely death. It also traces his relationship with Memphis, examining his earlier visits to the city. Included in the exhibit are are nine rarely-seen photographs from Memphis photographer Ernest Withers, who documented King's work in Memphis and the Sanitation Strike, and 44 photographs from photographer Art Shay, who documented the turmoil in the city in the immediate aftermath of Dr. King's death.
Casey Jones Village, known for its historic preservation of Casey Jones’ story along with its delicious Southern food offerings at the Old Country Store, is taking on a new venture called The Farm. The project is a “hands on” Southern food experience, providing locals and travelers alike with local produce via the Saturday morning farmers market that will potentially host 10-15 farmers, educational opportunities of how produce is grown, cultivated and harvested through a century-old barn and a cotton gin building. Two farm tenant houses, a log cabin, chicken coops, a green house, small grain bins, and a composting area are also in process.
The McNairy County Courthouse Jail Experience Center in Selmeris to open in 2018 and will be a center based around Sheriff Buford Pusser and his legendary service as sheriff in Tennessee. His home and museum is located in Adamsville where the 30th annual Sheriff Buford Pusser Festival will be celebrated with a bus tour, lunch with his daughter Dwana Pusser Garrison and tours of Sheriff Buford Pusser’s Home and Museum and the new McNairy County Courthouse Jail Experience Center.